- By: Ricky Hayes August 25, 2020
10 Key Skills Every E-commerce Entrepreneur Should Have
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to meet physically or go to most stores due to social distancing. So being able to sell online has become very useful in 2020.
Every business has essential skills and e-commerce is no exception. Here are 10 key skills every e-commerce entrepreneur should have.
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2. Sell Products That Provide Solutions
A profitable business basically solves a problem with a product or service. A problem solving mindset is an important skill for an ecommerce entrepreneur.
Your product or service is not going to always be the same. At launch it may lack something your customers need. It may not sell as well as you expected. Learn what is wrong and adapt to your market.
Clients express their needs and problems in different ways. Your product isn’t likely to be the only option available. What separates it from the competition is how it solves your clients’ problems. Does it do the job better, faster, easier or cheaper? These are the common issues you can solve and make money doing it.
An ecommerce business is like any other business. It’s going to have problems and challenges on the way. What do you do when the product is not selling well? What if shipping is late? An ecommerce entrepreneur needs to have a mindset set to come up with solutions at every turn.
3. Project Management Basics
In simple terms project management is getting the right tasks done to achieve an objective.
Breaking down the steps to achieve an objective makes it easier to consider factors like deadlines and how much money it will cost. The other two factors to consider are the scope of the project and resources needed.
Scope is the size of the project’s goals and more importantly, what is not part of the project. Resources are any tools or people that are necessary to complete a task.
A project manager uses the project management lifecycle as a guide in the progress of their project. The four key steps in the project management lifecycle are initiation, planning, execution and closure.
These stages help the ecommerce entrepreneur communicate the project goals with their team better. It is also great in keeping risks low since they are planned for before they can happen.
4. Understand Operations Management
Every project in a business will have some basic operations. If you don’t know how to handle these issues well, you will lose money, time or both when things blow up in your face.
Two very important aspects of operations management are suppliers and customers.
Supplier selection and engagement are key skills for an ecommerce entrepreneur because they can make or break your business.
The customer care system you select also makes a big impact on the business because an unhappy customer tells more people about you than a happy one.
Of course the most important operation to manage is revenue. Sales, costs and profits must be well tracked against marketing to grow your business.
5. Business Strategy
Business strategy is basically a set of plans and actions that lookout for the long term potential growth of your business. Today’s ecommerce entrepreneur uses tools like A/B testing and competitor analysis to stay ahead of the game.
A/B testing is a method of understanding which variations of a product or service your customers prefer. You can apply this to the look of a website, app, product or packaging. It’s useful for quick feedback without spending too much money.
Competitor analysis is used to know how well your ecommerce business is doing against the competition. How many units are they shipping per week? Which social media has the most engagement? Such insights can be used to improve your own service.
6. How The Internet And Web Applications Work
No, you don’t have to be a programmer. Many sites have made it super easy to set up an ecommerce store and get it running in a very short time.
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Over time though, not knowing much will become a problem. You’ll have to hire a freelancer every time you want to integrate a customer care service or analytics tools. That means extra costs and time lost with the chance they won’t even do it right.
So what does every ecommerce entrepreneur need to know about the web? You need to know about web hosting and how web applications work.
The basics start with how websites are built. Websites and web applications use a programming language called HTML. Styling a website uses CSS and that’s why you’ll most often see the two together i.e. HTML/CSS.
Beyond that, it is important to know how your potential customers come to you. Every time someone visits a site, they leave a digital trail you can follow. That’s how ecommerce stores use backlinks to find out where their customers come from.
Mobile Applications Are Not All The Same
Everyone would like things to just work, right? On mobile phones, this isn’t always the case and sometimes this comes down to operating systems and platforms. Apple phones run on iOS and most other phones run on Android.
Differences between these platforms can mean you pay less for certain marketing campaigns by targeting the right app and audience.
Knowing how you can make your store better and how to manage your customers through web technologies will make you a better ecommerce entrepreneur. And yes, more money.
7. Marketing Essentials
People can only purchase something they know about, right? Marketing is how you get your product or service known by people. Getting the word out in the beginning is even more important than a perfectly polished website. Yeah, really!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When most people want something, they’ll look it up on a search engine like Google or Bing.
Optimizing your site to show up in the first 10 results gets it seen by more people. How do you do this? With SEO, that’s how. SEO is building your site in a way that is easy for search engines to catalogue for keywords.
Key words are what people put in the search bar when they need something. If your product serves those keywords, you get a new customer seeing your site.
Ads are all over the place. Right in the middle of your favorite stream is an ad. Why, though? Because ads work. Ecommerce is perfect for advertising because clicking an ad leads directly to your ecommerce store.
You need to know how to target your audience using different characteristics. A few of these include location, age, gender, income level and interests.
A collection of these characteristics makes a buyer persona that helps build the right marketing strategy.
Email And Social Media Marketing
A lot of people use ad blockers these days. So how do you market to them? Email and social media.
Email has been shown to be very effective in converting leads to sales. This is because an effective email strategy is great in keeping an audience informed about new products and company changes.
Many ecommerce stores have brand accounts on the major social media sites and apps. It’s important to know how each works to get the most engagement from your audience.
No business is an island. To really succeed, ecommerce brands need to be seen as part of a community. This means connections to other businesses and referrals from customers.
Connections and referrals are great ways to generate organic traffic. Organic traffic are people who find your site through search engines or other people instead of paid ads. One of the best ways to build these connections is through influencers and brand ambassadors.
It is an important skill for an ecommerce business to collaborate with influencers who already have large, engaged audiences. Sponsoring original content helps the influencer while getting your brand seen. The shared benefits of brand loyalty and reach cannot be overstated.
9. Data analytics
Data analytics help the entrepreneur predict where the best markets are and what they are demanding.
It uses available data and some neat calculations to give awesome insights. For example, analytics help make sure a product is presented to people most willing to buy it.
Most social media sites and ecommerce stores provide deep analytics for business accounts. Not being able to use them is as good as leaving money on the table.
Click through rates, conversions and bounce rates are only a few terms to get familiar with. Although the language varies by site, they all boil down to how many people see the product, how many of those bought it and how many are likely to come back.
10. Design and Aesthetics
Aesthetics describe the pleasing quality of a design. This includes how different aspects such as color, pattern, scale and shape interact. These are used to make a product more usable and enjoyable to use.
Understanding design basics is very important for an ecommerce entrepreneur because you can make more pleasing sites, apps and products. Building an ecommerce product with good design and aesthetics makes it more likely to be appreciated by the audience.
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