Top four business skills you need to become an e-commerce entrepreneur

SOURCE: Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP
E-commerce is a booming sector, particularly during the pandemic - but it's also highly competitive so you'll need the right skills to succeed. Source: Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP

By U2B Staff 

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During the COVID-19 pandemic and these uncertain economic times, there are winners and losers when it comes to business sectors. It’s clear that e-commerce is among the winning sectors as supermarkets, malls, and retail stores closed due to lockdowns.

Many businesses moved their operations online, while those who already had a strong online presence saw their online sales skyrocket. Unfortunately, many who failed to adapt to the e-commerce business may face harsh economic impact.

The COVID-19 Commerce Insight tracker by Emarsys and GoodData – an up-to-date interactive map and e-commerce insight tracking – shows that global revenue has spiked over the past couple of months, demonstrating how people in lockdowns are shopping online more. 

An e-commerce business can be operated entirely online, so it’s also a suitable career for those looking for a job that’s flexible or can be done while working from home.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumers spent $601.75 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2019, up 14.9% from $523.64 billion the prior year, which was a higher growth rate than 2018 when online sales reportedly rose 13.6% year over year.

While the e-commerce market looks ripe for the picking, it doesn’t mean that anyone who becomes an e-commerce entrepreneur will excel – you will need to know the market, as well as have the right business skills. 


If you’ve recently lost your job, are an aspiring entrepreneur or are thinking of a career switch to e-commerce, it’s good to stay abreast of the latest trends and think about what is needed in the market in the near future

Before you start investing in an online shopping website or start signing up for a seller account on Amazon,  it’s best to acquire the business skills needed to thrive in e-commerce (or get a refresher if you need it) before you hit the ground running.

With lockdowns easing in certain countries like Germany and New Zealand, online revenue could see a decline as customers rush back to stores, so you should make sure you’ve developed the right skills to start a successful e-commerce business. 

You can sign up for one of the many online courses provided by platforms like Coursera, EdX and Udemy to upskill yourself in these particular areas.

Here are four business skills you should equip yourself in to become an e-commerce player.

Content Marketing

You can always hire content writers to help you with e-commerce marketing, but you should also consider acquiring content marketing skills to help you get your website up and running.

Ecommerce runs on content marketing – whether through product descriptions, blog posts, or video scripts. 

It’s a highly competitive market and you’ll need strong content to stand out among the rest and promote your product in the most compelling way possible. 

Taking an online course like The Strategy of Content Marketing can help you develop an effective content marketing plan for your e-commerce business. 

Social media marketing

Social media marketing focuses on utilising social media marketing platforms to deliver your content and promote your products or services, as well as how to develop social media advertising campaigns. 

So if you plan to promote your e-commerce business through social media platforms, you should know how to reach new customers and increase your brand engagement through the right social media channels.

Starting off by promoting your brand on social media is an affordable and easily accessible way to start your e-commerce business.

Learn about the latest social media marketing techniques through online courses or webinars by industry experts,  as well as how to utilise software like Hootsuite to up your social media game. 

Project Management

Since e-commerce businesses hold their entire operations online, you will need to be highly organised and be proficient with online tools like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.

Google Sheets is a more convenient option for those who need to share their sheets with others and work collaboratively, but Microsoft Excel has more features.

If you need a refresher on how to use these online tools, there are a number of courses you can take online to help you. 

Web development

While you don’t need necessarily need to become a programmer to begin your e-commerce journey, it’s advisable to develop some basic web development skills as initial costs for paying web developers can be high. 

You can learn how to build e-commerce websites from scratch through a free online Diploma in E-commerce Web Development course or learn coding basics such as HTML and CSS through online courses for beginners.