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Essential Skills Every E-Commerce
Business Owner Needs

See also: Innovation Skills

The term e-commerce can refer to a wide range of businesses, from stores specializing in niche technical products to everyday essentials. Despite the breadth of e-commerce, there are some essential skills that every online business owner must-have.

These skills will help your business to excel, no matter the industry you are operating in.

Research Skills

It is easy for new online business owners to dismiss the importance of research skills. When e-commerce owners are so eager to start selling online, they can fall into the trap of undervaluing the importance of research. However, research skills are a fundamental trait every successful e-commerce business owner must-have.

Research skills can help you to identify opportunities in the competitive e-commerce market. The knowledge that you have gained from market research should underline all of your practices and inform your future business strategies. The list below outlines how research can positively impact your e-commerce store:

  • Understanding Your Target Audience

    Research skills can help you to identify your most appropriate, relevant and valuable target audience. A clear understanding of who your target audience is will inform your digital marketing strategies. Understanding of your target audience should be supported by additional information gathered from research of your current customer base.

  • Researching Your Competition

    Researching your competition will help you better understand the niche market you are operating in. You will learn more about key players, the size of the market and what your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are. This will enable you to identify a unique place for your business in the competitive market.

  • Improved Decision Making

    Market research informs better business decision-making as it enables you to base your decisions on real knowledge and data. This will help you to make more profitable, speedy and appropriate decisions.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is another important skill e-commerce business owners must have, impacting relationships with both customers and employees. Emotional intelligence is the skill of being able to monitor your own emotions and the emotions of others. This allows you to clearly distinguish between ideas and better use beneficial information.

Emotional intelligence can help you understand your target audience more clearly, meaning you can identify their likes, dislikes, preferences and motivators. This will help your business in everything from product development to digital marketing. Emotional intelligence can also help you to better communicate with your team and improve internal operations. You will be able to more clearly identify valuable ideas and potential business opportunities.



Communication Skills

Communication skills are one of the most important skills an e-commerce business owner should have. There are three reasons why communication is so important for e-commerce business owners: internal communications, partnerships and customer relationships.

As an e-commerce business owner, your communication skills can have a big impact on the workings of your company. Leadership communication has been found to have a strong correlation to employee engagement. Your level of communication skills can also affect overall productivity. One study found that four out of five employees believe that effective internal communications promote improved job performance.

As an e-commerce business owner, you cannot be expected to be an expert in all the skill sets you need for success. Even if you have a talented and diverse internal team you will need to partner with specialist companies to ensure the best chance at success.

One of the biggest trends in e-commerce recently has been selling on Amazon. As this Amazon seller consulting firm explains, successful Amazon selling requires complex and highly specialized marketing techniques. As the owner of an e-commerce store, you need to be ready to communicate with companies to explain who you are as a brand, who your customer is and what your business goals are. Communicating this information effectively ensures that you are able to get the most value out of your business partnerships.

As an e-commerce business owner your communication skills will impact customer relationships. Ultimately, you set the tone for your business, you define what your business’s voice sounds like. This is important as it will impact all of your future exchanges with customers as well as any written copy of your website, advertisements and social media posts.

Leadership Skills

Every e-commerce business owner needs leadership skills. You need to be able to keep your team in line with the companies’ vision, motivated and productive in their work. You will also need to be able to manage ongoing projects, both internal and with external partners, such as product suppliers or shipping companies. No matter how great your business idea or products may be, if you are not able to provide strong leadership, you will never be able to manifest your business’ full potential.

Computer Skills

You will be working with experts in web design, digital marketing and advertising, so you are not expected to understand all technical aspects of the business. However, computer literacy is an important skill for e-commerce business owners.

You will need to understand the fundamentals of how your store operates. You will also be expected to understand most of the technical language that is being used to describe your operations. Computer skills will enable you to react more quickly and appropriately to situations as they develop. There are many technical tools on the market, from project management software to customer data analytics, having computer skills means that you can take advantage of these tools.

Money Management Skills

Cash flow problems have been cited as the main cause of 82% of failed SMBs. As a business owner, you are ultimately responsible for the running of your company. This means that you will be expected to keep a clear eye on the business finances.

You will need to ensure that appropriate investments are being made and that you always have a healthy cash flow. Even if you have a business accountant you should be aware of your business finances to ensure that your business is always paying staff and suppliers on time. Money management skills are essential for e-commerce business owners, as they ensure your business is able to survive in the long term.


About the Author


Ryan Flannagan is the founder and CEO of NuancedMedia, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of Millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via Linkedin

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