Even before the pandemic, online retail channels were booming. Enter Covid -19 and online shopping took on a different function. Suddenly it wasn’t just convenient and full of choice. Online retail was necessary, and for some, it became a literal lifeline for food and other goods they needed to survive.
A sector already enjoying massive growth exploded; online traffic statistics doubled and even tripled in some countries over the course of the pandemic.
Lockdown meant that bricks and mortar stores were no longer an option. Customers turned to digital for food, clothing, gym equipment, and so much more. On the other side, businesses used online channels to pivot their business model. These digital channels became necessary if organisations were to remain solvent at a time when they were unable to welcome customers to stores.
Digital transformation was on the horizon for many businesses, but it’s undeniable that the pandemic fast-tracked these initiatives and made them a priority.
So what makes eCommerce so special? What skills do tech professionals need to carve out a career in this space enjoying a supercharged resurgence?
Why work in eCommerce?
One of the most exciting features of eCommerce technologies is its ability to anticipate and meet changes in consumer demands. It is a sector that thrives on, and requires, significant adaptability from the most exciting of emerging technology and tools.
eCommerce is massive and spans businesses across virtually every industry. It’s very difficult to name a retail business that doesn’t have some form of online presence or trading function. That being said, many websites are still unable to order or process payments. It is this continuing evolution for brands as they grow that means eCommerce is a mine of opportunity for tech professionals.
As we come out of lockdown measures, it would be reasonable to suggest that we all may head back to the high street. Experts assert that this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s expected that those who were bricks and mortar shoppers pre-pandemic have been won over by its benefits. It is not a certainty that eCommerce will lose the customers it gained over the last two years.
Those who are looking for an ever-evolving role in a secure industry can place their money on eCommerce. Multi and omnichannel retail is here to stay.
What skills will I need for an eCommerce career?
The skills you will need to succeed in an eCommerce career are as broad as the sector itself. There is still emerging functionality that will see brands capitalise on all eCommerce has to offer.
Both technical and functional skills are required for successful eCommerce. User experience (UX) skills are essential as brands battle it out to stand out in what is becoming a very crowded market. Software development and full-stack and front-end development are also critical to make sure its website is as user-friendly and aspirational as it can be.
Non-tech is just as important.
Many organisations are seeking Project Managers and Product Managers as well as Business Analysts to propel digital transformation. There is an increased need for technical understanding and so-called soft skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking.
Customer data-driven by online shopping experiences informs brand decisions. This insight has a direct impact on the direction of the brand as well as the roadmap the user takes whilst on the online shopping journey. Data professionals are required to turn the eCommerce data into a strong bottom line.
Many well-known retailers offer a website without the full functionality offered by eCommerce facilities. These act as a shop window – browsing without buying. Retailers know that this is a lost opportunity and are taking measures to address it.
As a result, businesses are on the lookout for those with more niche skills. For businesses looking to mature into fully functioning eCommerce businesses, professionals with skills such as Magento, Software as a Service products; BigCommerce or Shopify, will be critical.
Online retail and eCommerce is an area gathering momentum and it’s showing no sign of slowing. Recent world events have forced us all online. Even adamant bricks and mortar shoppers had no choice; the doors quite literally closed on the high street. These resistors are now converted. Convenience, choice, and the sheer abundance of products have meant that online shopping and eCommerce are more popular than ever before.
Thanks to the ever-growing nature of the beast, eCommerce, and online retail will continue to grow. Tech professionals will be required to fan the flames, creating the omnichannel functionality we have come to expect as consumers.
The skills required will be far-reaching. Both technical and non-technical professionals will be needed as companies attempt to leverage the power of their eCommerce platform.