Why e-comm careers are a hot commodity
From web designer to business strategist, the career possibilities in the booming e-commerce world are numerous — and growing every year.
“The job opportunities are changing from what was traditionally brick-and-mortar business,” says Steve Tissenbaum, a professor in the Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto.
The boom is partly thanks to people becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases online. It’s also thanks to the growth of mobile commerce – or m-commerce – where people are buying products not just on their computers, but on their smartphones.
“Purchases online have continued to grow – double-digit growth year in, year out – for the last 10 years,” says Tissenbaum. “And it’s not going to stop.”
Take Shopify, for instance, an Ottawa-based e-commerce company founded in 2004 that now provides online storefronts to more than 500,000 merchants. It has revenue this year totaling more than $150 million.
That’s good news for job seekers, as an expanding e-commerce industry creates opportunities across numerous job functions.
E-commerce is not just web development
First, it’s important to know what jobs are out there. Web developers are always crucial roles in e-commerce, helping build and maintain online platforms. But that’s only one part of it. There’s also the business side. E-commerce analysts and strategists blend business, marketing, and information technology knowledge to help companies maintain profitable e-commerce websites.
“It’s still business,” Tissenbaum says. “It hasn’t changed in that perspective, so all those traditional business and management skills are needed.”
A potential boom industry for creatives
There’s often an overlooked creative component to the e-commerce industry, Tissenbaum adds, since “it’s all about content.” That means e-commerce companies will always need web content writers, photographers, and designers.
“You have to make the investment in the photography, or in the people who are going to write up what your customers are going to see — that skill set was always important to the shopping experience, but it’s all the more important when people are browsing merchandise through the Internet, or on their phones,” he says.
How to take advantage of the growing e-commerce industry
Tissenbaum says university graduates aren’t always prepared for the ever-changing world of e-commerce, partly because they lack real-world experience outside the classroom.
“The world is changing too quickly for these institutions to change fast enough to adapt to it,” he says.
Internships, co-ops, or school placements with e-commerce companies are an easy way to learn the ropes, pick up some hands-on experience, and get a foot in the door. On the flip side, if you’re already in the thick of your career, pivoting into the e-commerce world might require taking some post-graduate courses or a certificate program to get up to speed.
Sure, that’s extra work, but the potential payoff is large.
“The growth of e-commerce means that demand for jobs will likely outstrip supply in the near future,” writes UK-based career website RetailChoice in a report on e-commerce. The report claims that the industry will create a bold new generation of retail jobs, including SEO managers, e-commerce merchandisers, data analysts, user experience managers, social media coordinators, and more.
“And it’s lucrative work,” the report writes.
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