E-commerce sales are estimated to reach 19.5% of total retail sales worldwide in 2023. The percentage is expected to rise year on year, and by 2027, 23% of total retail sales will be made online.
So, it makes sense to learn which skills are needed to create, expand, and scale an e-commerce business successfully.
We’ve created e-commerce stores and sold products online for several years. By doing so, we’ve learned lots of new skills and discovered which skills are vital to running a thriving e-commerce store.
In this article, we’ll share 18 of the most crucial e-commerce skills.
Let’s get into it.
- You can often teach yourself many of the hard skills required for e-commerce, like how to use certain software and platforms, running ads, and data collection and analytics.
- Communication, flexibility, and leadership are important soft skills to have to work in e-commerce.
- It’s almost impossible to be an expert at every skill. If you find a task overwhelming or are turning down opportunities, we recommend hiring an expert to help.
What are E-Commerce Skills?
E-commerce stands for electronic commerce. It is the act of buying and selling products online.
So essentially, e-commerce skills are the skills required to successfully buy and sell online.
E-commerce skills include communication, flexibility, customer focus, SEO, AI, software knowledge, marketing, financial literacy, and more.
17 E-Commerce Skills
These are 18 skills we think are the most important for e-commerce.
You can add these skills to your CV or resume if you’re applying for a job in e-commerce.
You can also use the list of skills to create a winning e-commerce and dropshipping store or grow and optimize your existing one.
If you’re in a rush, here are the 18 skills we think are the most important for e-commerce:
- Adaptability and Flexibility
- Time Management
- Stress Management and Ability to Work Well Under Pressure
- Social Media Management
- Marketing and Advertising
- Content Creation
- Data Collection
- Data Analytics
- Financial Literacy
- Understanding of Law, Taxes, and Business
Let’s get into why we’ve chosen these skills and how they relate to e-commerce.
E-Commerce Soft Skills
Soft skills are generic traits that can be applied to most professions.
They can’t necessarily be measured with a test. Therefore, often, recruiters will ask interviewees for an example situation where they used soft skills.
Being proficient in these soft skills can help set you apart from other candidates.
And if you’re running your own e-commerce store, these soft skills are essential for success.
In almost all jobs, communication is essential.
It’s how all information is transferred between parties, and in e-commerce, clear communication will ensure your business runs smoothly.
You will need to communicate with your suppliers, shipping agents, customers, potential customers, employees, investors, managers, co-workers, and anyone else in your business's supply chain.
Who you’re communicating with and your intent will affect your tone and delivery.
For example, you might also need to use more assertive but respectful language when you negotiate deals with suppliers.
And a positive and professional tone when you answer questions from customers.
The methods you communicate will also vary. You should ensure you’re proficient in communicating via email, live chat, phone, and in person.
Top Tips: Make sure to check your written communication for any grammatical or spelling errors. Also, prepare and rehearse for calls and ensure you can adjust your body language, expression, and tone for face-to-face communication.
2. Adaptability and Flexibility
Adaptability and flexibility are vital if you’re running your own store. There are bumps in the road constantly, and your ability to navigate them will make or break your store.
We’ve experienced tons of issues that weren’t caused by us directly, but we had to resolve them.
These include things like the following:
- Policy and law changes, meaning we need to change our website, listings, and product packaging.
- Products arriving faulty, so we’ve had to communicate with the supplier as to why and offer the customer a solution.
- Platforms withhold our funds, so we can’t make the purchases we need to, like new stock, etc.
- Platform updates, so we need to change how we sell our products.
- Shipping price increases have forced us to take losses on certain sales.
These issues could have ruined us financially, legally, or with poor customer reviews. By adapting and being flexible with our operations, we have continued to be successful.
3. Time Management
Effectively managing and maximizing your time is super important if you work in e-commerce.
It’s essential to prioritize urgent tasks and know when to stop wasting time on unimportant ones.
You might want to use tools that can save time, like automation software. Or tools to help maximize and organize your time, like Asana, TimeCamp, Trello, etc.
You also can’t be an expert at everything, and often, finding someone who is an expert can save you a lot of time and stress.
Knowing when to hire help or outsource your work is vital. Some of the ways we know it’s time to hire help are the following:
- You’ve tried to learn how to do something but cannot grasp it
- You are not getting the results you want
- You have to turn down winning ideas or work
- You are not providing the customer service you strive for
4. Stress Management and Ability to Work Well Under Pressure
Working in e-commerce or running a dropshipping business can be very stressful.
Especially if it’s your livelihood on the line.
You want everything to run smoothly and happen quickly. However, that is very rarely the case in e-commerce. Creating a successful business can take time and a lot of trial and error.
And even when things are going well, everything can change in an instant.
Consider thinking about ways to help reduce the stress and pressure of your e-commerce business.
This might include keeping your existing job until you can afford to leave, hiring experts, implementing systems, changing software, and setting achievable goals.
If you have a team, you’ll need to be a strong leader who knows how to communicate and delegate.
Leaders need to share their vision and ideas and motivate their team. But they should also be open to ideas and be able to adapt.
Even if you’re the only one working for your e-commerce store, you’ll need to use leadership qualities to manage the different aspects of your business, such as managing suppliers, shipping companies, and dealing with customers.
E-Commerce Hard Skills
Hard skills are technical skills that can be measured, examined, or assessed.
These 13 skills are all required specifically for e-commerce.
If you’re applying for an e-commerce job, having at least one of these skills is likely preferred.
If you want to run an e-commerce store and don’t possess any of these skills, there are tons of resources and videos online that can teach you.
There are also courses and classes you can take to learn. And if you’re applying for an e-commerce job, they will train you to their requirements.
Copywriting is the text used for advertising and marketing.
It’s a specific style of writing that uses clear, engaging, and persuasive language to push readers into taking action. With e-commerce, the action would be to click on your advert or purchase your product.
You’ll need to be able to write copy if you have an e-commerce store. E-commerce copywriting includes the following:
- Website copy (e.g., landing page, CTA buttons, navigation menus, etc.)
- Product descriptions
- Promotional materials (including the ad’s text, video ad scripts, etc.)
- Social media bio and captions
If you want help writing your product descriptions, we have an article with everything you need to know to boost sales.
Design is important in building your brand’s identity and helping your brand stand out against your competitors.
In e-commerce, you’ll need to design your products. To do this, you need to know who your customers are and what they want. You can then design a product to meet their needs.
Once you’ve designed your products, you need to build a brand to sell your products. This will include creating a website, product packaging and inserts, product images, advertising material, and much more. Think about the colors, fonts, images, and brand voice.
8. Social Media Management
Social media is where your potential customers are; often, it is how they’ll find your brand.
We use social media to increase our brand awareness by using paid ads and building a social media profile for our brand.
You’ll need to know how to manage your brand’s social media channels to help your brand grow.
This includes regularly posting, updating the brand’s bio, links, and profile photo, replying to any comments or messages, as well as analyzing the engagement and other analytics, and developing and implementing strategies to increase your followers and engagement.
9. Marketing and Advertising
Marketing and advertising are both vital to generating e-commerce sales.
Marketing is everything that goes into getting your product sold. It includes research to ensure your product appeals to your customers, promoting your products, attracting customers, converting them to buyers, and ensuring the product is delivered to their satisfaction.
Advertising is a small aspect of marketing. It is the process of getting your product in front of the right customers to help generate interest and sales.
The most common way to advertise e-commerce products is using paid Meta ads. These are ads that appear on Facebook and Instagram.
You could also use Google ads, email marketing, SEO, Twitter ads, and other advertising methods.
Dropship has a Facebook Ads Chrome extension that collects ads as you browse. You can then analyze them to create the best ads for your store. If you want to check it out, use the 7-day free trial.
10. Content Creation
Content creation for e-commerce refers to tons of different things. Essentially, it’s creating and sharing text, images, and videos to engage your target audience and hopefully turn them into customers.
Firstly, you need to know who your audience is and who you’re creating content for.
This will affect the type of content you post, where you post, and the language you use.
The content could include blog posts, social media posts, emails, ads, and more.
SEO or search engine optimization means optimizing your website to boost its discoverability on
Google and other search engines.
Often, when someone is looking to buy something or research a product or service, they’ll start with a search.
If your website is optimized, it is more likely to be displayed at the top of the search results.
The more visible your website, the more likely potential customers will find you and click on your store.
Once visitors click on your store, you can provide them with the best experience to get them to keep coming back or buy your product.
So, how does SEO work?
There are lots of small changes you can make to improve your visibility. Generally, the most important thing is to provide high-quality content. Your content should be fast to load, secure, and accessible on all devices.
We always recommend looking at the SEO guide on Google Search Central. There are lots of helpful tips and tricks, and they often make small changes to help improve a searcher's experience. Keeping up with the changes can put you one step ahead of your competition.
Artificial intelligence or AI can help make your e-commerce business more efficient.
You can use AI to help automate your order and fulfillment process, create more targeted marketing campaigns, follow up with users who drop off from your funnels, update prices, help with customer queries, and estimate your sales and demand.
AI can save you time, lower costs, increase accuracy, reduce manual errors, improve customer experience, and help boost sales.
13. Data Collection
Data shows you how your e-commerce store is performing.
You can collect different kinds of data, such as customer information, ad clicks, social media engagement, customer behavior, how your competitors perform, and more.
To collect data, you can use different methods, including the following:
- Software - You can collect customer data using the tools installed on your e-commerce platform or installing programs like Google Analytics. This will show you how visitors engage with your store.
- Purchases - Customers provide data when they buy products from you. You can see what they’ve bought, how often they purchase the products, whether they return the product, their payment preference, and much more.
- Emails - If a user signs up to receive an offer or a newsletter, you will be provided with their information. You will also be able to see how they interact with your email funnel.
- Ads - If you run ads on Meta, you will be able to log into your Ads Manager and see how your ads are performing. You can find your engagement, who your ad is reaching, how many impressions it has, etc. You can also calculate your click-through rate, conversion rate, cost per click, return on investment, and so much more.
- Competitors - Find who you’re competing with and look at their store, ads, product listings, customer experiences, and prices.
There are also lots of other ways to gather data, including sending out surveys, looking at customer feedback, marketing campaigns, and cart abandonment.
14. Data Analytics
So, now you’ve got tons of data. You need to use it to grow your business and increase your customer’s experience.
So, let’s look at how we collected the data and how we can use it.
- Software - Look at the time-on-page and see if there are any ways you can improve pages with a low time. This could be changing content, increasing the load time, or updating the structure. You can also look at the demographics of those who visit your store. Is your store attracting the demographic you thought it would? If it's not, look at how you can change your design, images, and text to match your target audience. As well as time on page and demographics, Google Analytics will provide you with lots more information you can analyze, like bounce rate and traffic sources.
- Purchases - The information you gather when a customer makes a purchase can be used to optimize your checkout, provide personalized marketing messages, upsell products they might be interested in, improve your existing products, and estimate future demand.
- Email - Knowing when an email bounces, a customer unsubscribes, a customer clicks on a link, and your conversion rate can help you create better campaigns to generate more customers. You can split, or A/B test your emails and compare the results to create the best campaigns for your subscribers.
- Ads - Based on your ad’s results, you can make adjustments to improve your conversion rate.
- Competitors - The feedback left on competitors' stores can give you ideas on how to improve your products and provide a better experience. You can also compare prices and decide whether you need to update your price to remain competitive.
If you want to find your competitors, check out Dropship’s Competitor Research tool. It’ll find your competitors and show you tons of information about their stores, including their sales, revenue, product launches, ads, and much more.
15. Financial Literacy
Financial literacy means you have the information and skills to make financial decisions for your business. In e-commerce, this is vital. If you make decisions without knowing the financial implications, you could destroy your business.
You’ll need to know your business numbers, such as operating costs, product costs, shipping costs, staff costs, turnover, profit margins, and ad spend. You’ll also need to know how to calculate your ROI, know your tax requirements, and track your cash flow.
Knowing this information allows you to make the right choices to scale your business successfully.
If you need help, we have an article on How to Price Your Product. It has lots of information about pricing strategies, testing prices, how to calculate product prices, and much more.
16. Understanding of Law, Taxes, and Business
You need to understand and abide by certain laws when you run an e-commerce business.
You’ll also need to register your business and submit and pay your taxes, just like running a brick-and-mortar store.
Failure to do so can result in fines and even jail.
We recommend researching and understanding laws around the following:
- Registering a Business
- Paying Taxes
- Payment Processing
- Copyright and Trademarks
- Customer Privacy
- Data Handling
- Marketing Guidelines
- Product Policies
- Website Legal Requirements
If you want more information on keeping your e-commerce business legal, check out this article.
There are tons of platforms and tools you can use to help you run and manage your e-commerce store. So, unless you’re applying for a programming or coding job, you won’t need to be a tech expert.
However, some knowledge or experience and the ability to learn are usually required for e-commerce roles.
Some of the most used tools for e-commerce are the following:
- Online Selling Platform - You can use a platform to create your online store and sell your products. Shopify is one of the most popular and our favorite e-commerce platforms. If you want to learn everything there is to know about Shopify, check out our full video tutorial for beginners. If you want to build your own e-commerce store on Shopify, we have an exclusive discount that gives you three months of access for $1 per month. As well as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, and Adobe Commerce are popular platforms for creating e-commerce stores.
- Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) - CRM software allows you to organize and manage your customer's data and track your interactions. This can help you build relationships, improve customer experiences, and increase sales. There are lots of CRM tools. Some of our favorites are HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Keap, and Ontraport.
- Advertising - We’ve already looked at advertising and how it can get your products in front of your target audience. Some of the most popular advertising tools you’ll likely need to use for your e-commerce store are Google Ads and Meta Ads. But you might also want to run ads on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Bing.
- Automation Tools - Automation tools use trigger and action logic to perform tasks automatically. This can save you time completing repetitive tasks and reduce the risk of manual errors. Automation tools can be used in a variety of ways for e-commerce, such as automating your fulfillment process and marketing. We use AutoDS for our dropshipping stores, as it integrates directly with Shopify. You can use it to import your products, process your orders, send tracking updates, and much more. Often, your CRM will include marketing automation. All of the ones mentioned in the CRM section are also marketing automation tools.
You might also need knowledge of other tools, like payment processors, tax and finance management, customer service helpdesks, etc.
E-Commerce Skills to Add to a Resume or CV
As we know, e-commerce is booming, and it is only expected to keep growing.
Many companies are recruiting e-commerce managers, marketers, customer service assistants, and other workers to help with their online stores so they can keep up with the boom.
The skills you add to your resume or CV will depend on the role you’re applying for.
Firstly, we recommend looking at the job description. Companies will list the skills they’re looking for.
These are some of the skills we recommend having and adding to your resume for the following e-commerce jobs:
Skills to Add to an E-Commerce Customer Service Job Application
- Clear Communication
- Time Management
- Prioritizing Work
Skills to Add to an E-Commerce Marketer Job Application
- Clear Communication
- Time Management
- Email Marketing
- Content Creation
- Keyword Research
- Data Collection and Analysis
- Software Knowledge (e.g., Google Analytics, Google Ads, Meta Ads, etc)
If you’re applying for a manager role, you will likely need all of the skills above, along with all of the hard skills listed in the previous section.
Frequently Asked Questions
What E-Commerce Skills Do I Need for Dropshipping?
If you’re starting your own dropshipping store, the most important skills you need are adaptability, communication, and willingness to learn.
When you start your dropshipping business, you’ll need to learn or know the following:
- How to do product research
- How to use an e-commerce platform
- How to contact and negotiate with suppliers
- How to market your products
- How to fulfill your orders
- How to communicate with customers
What Skills Are in Demand for E-Commerce?
It depends on the role you’re applying for or whether you’re creating your own store.
But you will likely need some experience using platforms and software, copywriting, advertising, and SEO, as well as soft skills like communication and time management.
Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of the skills you need to start a dropshipping business or apply for an e-commerce role.
If it’s dropshipping you’re interested in, we have a complete dropshipping course and discord community to help you get started and connect with experts. Access the course for free using Dropship’s 7-day free trial.