E Career Strategy Library E Identifying your new industry E Career in the Ecommerce Industry

Building a Career in the eCommerce Industry

Industry Analysis Ecommerce

When it comes to looking for a new job, it can be a transformative experience. You get to choose how you will spend most of your time in the coming years. But with that comes the burden of trying to make the right choice. It is tough to look for a new job, especially when the market is volatile. And if you are trying to change your industry, that’s a whole different ballgame.

In this article, we will try to help you make that choice. If a career change is on your mind, eCommerce may look like an attractive option right now. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have all tried to fight the gloomy days by shopping online. But is the eCommerce industry really growing right now? Where is it headed for the next ten years? Is it a good fit for me? What are the job roles I can consider?

Well, here are the answers to these questions and a bit more. 

1) Understanding the eCommerce Industry

What is eCommerce?

It is short for electronic commerce, referring to an electronic business (e-business) model under which organizations and individuals buy and sell goods and services online. These business transactions occur through smartphones, tablets, computers, and other intelligent devices. Almost any product or service can be purchased online through various eCommerce businesses, like retail, financial products, services, travel, pharmaceutical, education, technology, etc.

Types of eCommerce businesses

Now that we have covered the basic definition, let’s discuss the who and what of eCommerce businesses. Based on who is selling to whom, eCommerce businesses can be classified into five segments:

  • Business-to-business (B2B), which involves the sale of goods or services between two businesses
  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) consists of the transaction businesses and their consumer through a wholesaler or retailer.
  • Direct-to-consumer (D2C or DTC) includes direct sales between businesses and consumers, without intermediaries.
  • Consumer-to-business (C2B), where individuals sell products and services to businesses. E.g., freelance consultants or Upwork marketplace
  • Consumer to consumer (C2C), where individuals sell to one another. This usually takes place through eBay or social media like the Facebook marketplace.

Based on what is being sold, eCommerce businesses are classified into seven groups:

  • Retail websites selling physical goods. E.g., the Official Nike store, H&M online store
  • Service-based businesses. E.g., Contently, Upwork
  • Businesses selling digital products. E.g., Skillshare, Coursera
  • Wholesale vendor businesses. E.g., Alibaba
  • Subscription-based businesses. E.g., Hubspot
  • Dropshipping retailers. E.g., Oberlo, Aliexpress
  • Crowdfunding platforms. E.g., Kickstarter

The first five businesses are self-explanatory; we’ll explain the last two. Dropshipping is an online business model where the online store only handles the product’s sale online, and the supplier handles the shipping. In a dropshipping business, the owner only looks after the online sale, not inventory and shipping logistics. Crowdfunding platforms help companies raise money for projects, products, and services. You can visit Kickstarter.com, a popular crowdfunding platform, and select from hundreds of businesses to pre-order, donate or invest in.

Future of the eCommerce industry and its market

Ecommerce has been on a steady rise throughout the past decade, with the Covid-19 pandemic further accelerating its growth as we entered 2020. People were confined in their homes due to the spread of the virus in public places. People worldwide accepted the convenience of eCommerce with open arms propelling the industry growth.

In 2020, the global retail eCommerce saw two billion people buy products and services online. In the same year, the net online retail sale was worth $4.2 trillion, increasing by 26.76%, the highest in the past five years. According to Euromonitor International, half of the total value growth for the global retail sector would come from digital sales for the 2020-2025 period, which in value translates to $1.4 trillion in growth.

The global market penetration has also increased. In the US, which is among the early adopters of the online marketplace, eCommerce sales are projected to grow by 16%, reaching $1.06 trillion in 2022. China and the US will account for 55% of that total value growth. Latin America has long lagged as an eCommerce market due to its weak postal system, sizeable unbanked population, and consumer distrust of the channel. But during 2020, the region posted the highest growth of any region with a 60% increase in online sales of goods. The highest growing markets in the area are Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, in that order.

2) Employment in the eCommerce Industry 

Employment in the eCommerce sector has also increased. According to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, the number of people employed in the eCommerce sector in the US has increased by 60% from 1997 to 2016. Today, 787,104 U.S employees work in the eCommerce space. With the projected growth in the industry, employment in the sector is bound to increase.

An eCommerce business is a vast operation and involves many divisions. If you are interested in working in the sector, there are many roles that you can target. They may vary in business areas, required education, and background. Researching and learning about these jobs will help you make an informed decision.

As in any digital business, tech occupies a significant chunk of business operation in eCommerce. Therefore, jobs as a Software Developer, Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning Specialist, UI/UX Engineer, Blockchain Specialist, etc., are more number in the industry and receive higher pay. But we have gathered a list of the typical jobs from diverse business roles that you can start from in the eCommerce industry.

a) Customer Service Team Lead

They look after the brand’s effort to improve customer experience by managing the team of customer service representatives. They plan the service activities, scripts, and software solutions to improve the customer journey. They play a crucial role in customer retention, brand cultivation, and repeat sale. Their national average salary in the US is $51,000.

b) Account Manager 

They maintain relationships with clients by understanding their needs and making suggestions to address them. They are also involved in building the market share by developing strategies for gaining new clients or convincing clients to increase their purchase value. Their national average salary in the US is $56,000.

c) Inventory Manager 

They keep track of the items that pass through different stages. They are responsible for identifying problems with the packaging, movement, and storing of the items and report these to respective team members. Their national average salary in the US is $56,000.

d) Digital Marketing Manager 

They are in charge of digital content to persuade consumers to buy a product or service. They develop effective marketing plans by analyzing the target audience, mediums of reaching them, and desired engagement. They manage marketing staff, including community builders and SEO content writers. Their national average salary in the US is $61,000.

e) Data Analyst

They extract useful information from raw data. They gather data from diverse sources and make sense of it. They develop reports on the data to help other employees to understand and use it. Their national average salary in the US is $65,000.

f) Merchandise Manager 

They purchase products for the company to sell. They liaise with sales representatives to identify new marketing opportunities, follow up on leads, develop new sales channels, and develop partnerships with new suppliers. Their national average salary in the US is $68,000.

g) Director of Operations 

They supervise the operations of an entire branch. This includes making decisions about resource planning, delegating authority to other employees, and providing constructive feedback. Directors maintain an onsite presence to ensure the optimal functioning of all departments. Their national average salary in the US is $85,000.

h) Product Owner 

They manage the objectives and road maps of a product (a revenue-generating service or operation). They handle resource planning, product development, industry evaluation, and user experience for the product. Their national average salary in the US is $101,383.

i) Supply chain manager 

They keep track of the supply chain of the business. This involves liaising with suppliers, and managing inventory, delivery, and logistics. They also manage the company’s warehouse personnel. Their national average salary in the US is $92,642.

j) Full-Stack Developer 

They handle the complete design and development process of a website or application. They liaise with stakeholders to understand their business requirements and develop a fully functional prototype. They may also work with other company members for product improvement and swift development. Their national average salary in the US is $103,736.

3) Top Ecommerce Companies 

When looking for a job in a new industry, it is better to first research the employers. Doing this helps you understand the industry trends and requirements and adjust your job search accordingly.  This also allows you to understand the culture of each company and target the ones that fit your working style. The top companies in the eCommerce space based on size are:

  • Amazon
  • JD.com
  • Alibaba
  • Meituan
  • Otto Group
  • Suning.com
  • Sea Limited
  • Rakuten
  • Chewy
  • Wayfair

 Learning about the top companies helps you develop a vision for your future in the industry and helps you choose your future employers accordingly. Once you have shortlisted companies of your preference, we recommend engaging with them. It increases your chances of getting noticed and, at the same time enhances your awareness of them. You will get to know more about the culture, current and future projects, and overall employee experience. Here’s how you can do that.

  • Follow your target companies on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Engage with their posts by liking and commenting on them.
  • Connect and network with people who work in your target company.
  • Maintain consistency.

Ecommerce is a fast-growing industry with substantial opportunities. With the widespread shift in customer behavior, even in developing countries, the sector has established itself as a significant contributor to the global GDP. But due to its tremendous growth, it is very competitive and hence considered a fast-paced sector. If that is your cup of tea, we highly recommend looking into job roles in established eCommerce companies.