Starting an ecommerce business can seem like a daunting project that requires ample energy and other resources. However, it’s even more challenging to nurture your new venture into a successful, profitable entity.
While each online commerce business is unique regarding its target consumers, products, and more, the pillars of ecommerce and the traits of a successful ecommerce entrepreneur hold steady.
Regardless of your niche in the digital world, you’ll need exceptional business skills, marketing know-how, soft skills, and technical expertise.
True grit and determination can take your business far, but true success requires more than hard work and perseverance. Do you have what it takes to run a successful online store?
A closer look at each of these important skills will help you to identify the areas that you may need to improve.
An online business isn’t your traditional operation, but it nonetheless requires expertise in traditional business concepts and skills. Regardless of the types of products that you offer and the areas on which you focus your sales efforts, you must develop these business skills.
1. Business law
The law touches all aspects of our lives, and this extends to your online business. From intellectual property rights to tax regulations, product liability and more, your operations will be affected by various aspects of the law from day one.
These laws may be at the federal, state, and local levels. Failing to understand the laws could lead to unnecessary expenses, exposure to liability issues, loss of property rights, and other issues that could contribute to your business’s demise.
Note that you should seek professional legal assistance as needed for your online commerce venture. However, it’s helpful to educate yourself on laws that are relevant to your business as soon as possible.
2. Number crunching
If you aren’t good with numbers, now’s a good time to refine your math skills. You may be able to pull out a calculator to process various calculations throughout the workday, but this isn’t always efficient or practical.
In addition to tracking expenses and inventory, business owners must review and understand various financial documents. These include balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and more.
While you can hire an accountant to prepare the documents for you, this eats into your profits. Until your operation grows and becomes established, running your own numbers is probably the most cost-effective option.
Regardless of who prepares the financial documents, you must have the know-how to analyze them properly. These statements may guide your decisions for your online store.
3. Project management
Launching an online store requires you to focus on website development, ecommerce marketing, and product development. Once your business is established, logistics, inventory management, accounting, and other tasks will consume your attention.
You may find that it’s better for you financially speaking to outsource at least some of these tasks. Nevertheless, you’re ultimately responsible for ensuring that all tasks are completed properly and to your satisfaction.
Project management skills are vital through all stages of the launch and routine operations. This is because you’ll always be juggling numerous tasks simultaneously. They’re all pertinent and require your full attention.
Ecommerce success and digital marketing knowledge go hand in hand when you run an online business. You must reach your target audience, entice them to visit your website, build rapport, establish loyalty, convert traffic to sales, and build an email marketing database.
This is understandably a tall order. Your success will boil down to your skills in five key marketing areas.
4. Paid advertising
If you’re completely new to online marketing, it can take some time to understand all of the online advertising opportunities that you’ll have at your disposal. Ecommerce marketing costs can add up quickly, though, especially if you don’t have a carefully considered plan in place from the start.
Paid advertising may have a place in your marketing strategy, and these solutions include pay-per-click ads, display ads, pop-up ads, mobile ads, video ads, and native ads. Keep in mind that these may appear on search engines, across various social media platforms, and in other areas.
Paid ads will directly impact your bottom line. You must therefore be able to identify the most cost-effective methods for reaching your target market.
5. Content creation
Content creation relates to the development of all text, videos, and images on your website and that are used for marketing purposes off-site. It can include anything from writing product descriptions and blog posts to crafting video tutorials and taking high-quality product photos. This content cumulatively establishes and develops your brand image.
It should all be cohesive, positive, and thoughtfully created. Hiring a content creator can be an effective alternative to developing this skill. However, you must still have a solid understanding so that you can make savvy decisions.
6. Email marketing
You can purchase an email list, but the most effective list of clients or customers is built over time through an opt-in campaign. You can gather customer information when a shopper makes a purchase.
In addition, you may alternatively include a pop-up form on your site that allows visitors to sign up for your newsletter and promotions.
Assembling a list of customers is only half the battle. You must also develop a winning email marketing campaign that delivers useful content at reasonable intervals. A successful email marketing campaign will reinforce your brand image, foster loyalty, and drive traffic to your website.
7. Marketing automation
Learning how to effectively market your products and brand online is essential. What’s more, marketing is a never-ending activity in ecommerce, and you’ll need to regularly give your marketing strategy the attention that it needs.
Automating your marketing efforts will help you to save time and may deliver messages more consistently. When automation is done properly, it can reduce related expenses and increase sales.
While automating marketing makes sense, analysis and tweaking are still essential. You must pay attention to the return on investment so that you can make strategic adjustments as needed.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a relatively complicated aspect of marketing that many entrepreneurs have only a basic grasp of. It involves optimizing your text, images, offsite marketing efforts, videos, and more with a focus on strategically selected keywords.
Unfortunately, SEO marketing has grown increasingly complicated as search engine algorithms and features have evolved.
There are numerous online resources that you can rely on to learn the ropes for your store’s SEO. Furthermore, many of these resources are generally available to you at no cost!
Solid soft skills are crucial for entrepreneurial success in both online and offline commerce. These are a combination of personality traits and social skills that effective business owners generally have.
Many soft skills may be innate, but there’s ample room to acquire them through various types of training and self-improvement efforts.
Because you’re working in a digital realm, the majority of your communication will be done online, such as by email, chat and social media messages.
You must feel confident in your abilities to communicate effectively through the written word. There will also be instances when you must speak to customers, suppliers and others, so verbal communication skills are equally important!
With frequent changes to social media platforms, search engine algorithms, and competitor efforts, your ecommerce business will constantly be exposed to evolving parameters. These factors are combined with the need to improve soft skills, marketing knowledge, and more.
The reality is that there will always be new things to learn as an ecommerce entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs embrace opportunities to grow and develop.
11. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence relates to how well you control your own emotions and to how well you interact with others. From a personal perspective, the emotional capacity to remain calm and collected while dealing with stressful situations is crucial when you operate an ecommerce business.
Likewise, excellent listening and comprehension skills, empathy, and critical thinking all feed into emotional intelligence. While some people are blessed with high emotional intelligence innately, this is a skill that you can improve with proper effort.
Many new ecommerce businesses are solo operations, but as an entrepreneur, you may eventually need to build and lead a team, hiring additional employees as the business grows. The need for strong leadership skills reaches beyond managing a team internally.
These skills extend to how well you interact with suppliers, distributors, customers, and others. Negotiation and decision-making skills are included in this area as well.
Collaboration and networking are essential for optimized success and profitability. While it’s easy to assume that this involves simply schmoozing clients, it actually extends to building productive, meaningful relationships with others throughout your business circle.
Successful networking is based on your ability to identify the most strategic people to build relationships with. From there, it’s tied to effective communication, strong emotional intelligence, and general socialization skills.
14. Problem solving
Entrepreneurs face numerous challenges and must find effective solutions to those issues to ensure a top-notch customer experience. There are often several solutions available, and a business owner must identify the most reasonable solution given all of the facts.
This may involve identifying and tapping into skills and resources available through others on your team or in the network that you have established.
15. Stress management
With financial difficulties, deadlines, and issues with suppliers, entrepreneurs often function under extreme levels of stress. Your ability to continue thinking clearly and remain calm are essential.
Stress may be managed or mitigated through time management skills, self-care, meditation, and other strategies. Besides managing your own stress, you may need to occasionally focus on conflict resolution or find other ways to alleviate customers’ and employees’ stress.
16. Time management
Time management is the ability to allocate and prioritize time effectively to accomplish tasks and goals. In ecommerce, time management is crucial due to the fast-paced nature of online business.
Efficiently managing time ensures timely product launches, responsive customer service, effective marketing campaigns, and regular inventory updates. With fierce competition and customer expectations, effective time management helps maintain operational efficiency, meet deadlines, and seize opportunities, ultimately driving ecommerce success.
Having patience is vital in ecommerce, as success often takes time. Building a strong customer base, optimizing SEO, and establishing brand recognition don't happen overnight. A patient ecommerce entrepreneur has ability to remain calm and composed while enduring challenges, delays, or uncertainties.
Patience allows for strategic decision-making, learning from mistakes, and adapting to changing market trends. It helps entrepreneurs persevere through initial slow periods, build credibility, and gradually reap the rewards of sustained effort and strategic planning in the ecommerce journey.
When you run an online business, you must be technically savvy. Most aspects of your business will be conducted digitally, and technology is constantly evolving. This is one of the areas that will require your ongoing attention as you improve your skills and expertise.
Testing involves evaluating the functionality, usability, and performance of a website to identify and rectify issues. It's a valuable skill for ecommerce because it ensures a seamless shopping experience for customers.
By testing elements like product pages, checkout processes, and payment gateways, you can catch and fix problems that might deter potential buyers. Understanding various testing methods can also be helpful for testing any marketing campaigns you launch to determine what strategies work best for your target audience.
This skill helps boost conversion rates, enhances user satisfaction, and builds trust. In the competitive world of ecommerce, a well-tested website can set you apart, leading to higher sales and customer loyalty.
19. Data collection and analysis
One of the perks of running an online business is the ability to gather real-time data on everything from sales to website engagement, pay-per-click ad results, and more.
That being said, understanding the data produced by your website can feel daunting, even if your site is relatively small. Features like complex menus, dropdowns, and filters can complicate the analysis of traffic and site metrics, especially for those new to the process.
Technology and tools such as Google Analytics are available to help you gather and process more extensive amounts of data, and this analysis could support you as you make well-informed decisions.
20. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to learn, reason, and perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.
Knowing how to use AI for your ecommerce business can be quite useful, as it allows you to analyze vast amounts of customer data to personalize recommendations, optimize pricing, predict trends, and automate customer interactions through chatbots.
When strategically implemented, AI enhances customer experiences, streamlines operations, and offers valuable insights for strategic decision-making, ultimately driving sales, improving efficiency, and staying competitive in the dynamic online market.
Artificial intelligence can also be valuable for assisting you with your content creation needs. This is the case with, for example, the AI feature offered by the WiziShop ecommerce solution. With this powerful tool, writing product descriptions, articles, titles, meta descriptions, reformulations, and other types of text can be done in seconds.
21. Web development
Learning how to code is not generally necessary in most cases thanks to user-friendly ecommerce platforms like WiziShop that are available today. However, you’ll need to understand how to maximize the benefits of all available features so that you can create a positive user experience.
Unless you have a background in web design and management, you may have a steep learning curve. Nevertheless, this is another area that you can progressively learn more about as you get your business moving along a profitable path.
Ecommerce success: A mix of hard and soft job skills is needed
In the world of ecommerce, success thrives at the intersection of hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities or knowledge, often technical. Soft skills are interpersonal, emotional, and behavioral attributes that enable effective interactions and relationships. While technical expertise navigates the digital landscape, soft skills like communication and adaptability cultivate customer relationships and drive innovation.
Having a clear understanding of the symbiotic relationship between these important skills is pivotal. A harmonious blend empowers ecommerce professionals to not only master tools and technologies but also connect on a human level, paving the way for enduring success in this dynamic and evolving realm.
Do you have the well-rounded set of skills that give you the best chances of creating and running a successful ecommerce business and providing a stellar customer experience? If you’ve identified any weaknesses in your skillset, it’s never too late to start improving in those areas and begin developing new skills.
Did you know that when you sign up to create your online store with WiziShop, you'll have access to a variety of ecommerce training modules to boost your knowledge and skillset? What's more, this training is included free of charge in your subscription.
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