How To Get E-Commerce Certifications (Plus Types)
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As customers grow more accustomed to making purchases on computers, many companies are working to expand their online presence. This has led to a whole new spectrum of strategies, tools and employment opportunities for those who work in the electronic consumer marketplace. Completing an e-commerce certification can be a useful way for students, businesses and marketing professionals to improve their knowledge and skills surrounding this important topic. In this article, we define e-commerce and discuss different types of e-commerce certifications, why they are important and how to complete them.
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce, is the business of marketing, buying and selling goods and services online. It can also refer to online banking, trading, auctions and ticketing. A few specific types of e-commerce include:
Businesses selling to consumers, also known as business-to-consumer commerce or B2C
Businesses selling to other businesses, also known as business-to-business commerce or B2B
Businesses selling to administrations, also known as business-to-administration commerce or B2A
Online sales and marketing have seen a lot of growth in recent years and are likely to continue increasing. E-commerce makes up large portions of the economy and job market and affects many fields and businesses.
Reasons to become certified in e-commerce
An online presence is increasingly important for all businesses, especially those who engage with direct to consumer sales. As more companies enter the e-commerce market, the need for top-tier online marketing grows stronger. Completing an e-commerce course can be an excellent way to establish a career or keep your brand competitive in a crowded market. Here are a few additional reasons to become certified in e-commerce:
Preparing for a career
For early career professionals in fields like marketing or business, an e-commerce course can help to set you apart from your peers by establishing a vital skill set. It may also prepare you to pursue specific e-commerce related jobs, like an e-commerce merchandiser, manager or specialist. The national salary for an e-commerce manager is $63,862 per year, and may continue to increase as online shopping gains popularity.
Related: How To Become an E-Commerce Manager
Expanding your business
An e-commerce certification may be helpful for those working to open or expand an online branch of their store or for other individuals who may need to market and sell online, like authors, entrepreneurs and artists. For these individuals, the taking an e-commerce course may help create a smooth transition into the online space or bolster an existing online presence. E-commerce certification courses teach integral tactics for online selling from experienced professionals, which you can then immediately apply to your own business pursuits. Specific skills may include:
Economic and marketing techniques: There are many digital merchandising strategies you can learn to improve consumer interest and sales. For example, an inbound marketing strategy can attract new customers and match their behaviors.
Online technologies and tools: E-commerce platforms, mobile commerce, email services, chat features and analytic processors are all examples of online tools and technologies that an e-commerce certification course might include in the curriculum.
Social media marketing: There are many social media sites and tools that are useful for advertising and online marketing.
Multimedia design: This may include website design for your business or online store or other types of multimedia design, like advertising.
SEO copywriting: Search engine optimization is a collection of writing and marketing strategies designed to help your content rank higher in the results list from a search engine. This is an important skill for any business that wants to generate more online traffic.
Brand development: Even for businesses that already have an established brand, it's useful to learn what branding strategies are most effective for the online world.
Building relationships with customers online: Some courses may include sessions on digital acquisition and retention strategies, which drive leads and nurture them into paying customers.
Building a network
In addition to learning skills, an e-commerce certification course can be an excellent place to meet like-minded business or marketing professionals and create connections. Instructors and fellow students are likely to have their own interesting projects and may be looking to network as well. These courses can be the perfect basis for partnership, cross promotion or simply friendly support in the future. Finding a business community can be a great way to keep both yourself and your online business connected.
An e-commerce certification is an excellent way to show potential customers, collaborators and employers your credentials. Completing a course implies a baseline of knowledge and skill for collaborators and customers to rely on. It can also show that you are a serious professional dedicated to your field. If you build a strong relationship with your instructor over the course of your certification, that individual may be willing to write you letters of recommendation or an endorsement on your website. These can both be useful ways to establish your credibility in the field.
Types of e-commerce certifications
Here are three categories of certification that you can pursue:
General e-commerce certifications: Courses in this category of certification cover basic topics like how to set up online retail, how to develop an online brand, how to improve your marketing strategy and other fundamental best practices for e-commerce.
E-commerce marketing certifications: These certifications focus on marketing and advertising for the digital field. Specifics may include topics like lead generation, SEO best practices, social media marketing, email marketing and digital analytics.
E-commerce dropshipping certifications: These programs specialize in best practices for dropshipping, which is when retailers sell products by shipping them directly from third party manufactures to the consumer without ever holding the product in stock themselves. These courses may review choosing products, partners and suppliers in addition to the e-commerce basics.
How to get an e-commerce certification
These steps can help you get an e-commerce certification:
1. Establish your goals
Knowing what skills you would like to get out of your certification can help you select the best program match for you. If you're new to the field of e-commerce, look for a beginner-level course that covers basic marketing theory and tools for online retail. If you're a more advanced learner, you might look for courses that can help you develop a particular skill. For example, some courses offer units about selling through specific online retailers or improving SEO. Think about what skills might take your business to the next level and use those as your areas of focus.
Your goals may be more business-related than skill-focused. For example, if you're interested in the credibility that a certificate provides, research the program, instructor and institution and check for qualifications and positive reviews. Those looking for networking opportunities might consider finding a course that involves working as part of a cohort rather than independently. Regular meetings can allow you to develop connections with both your classmates and your instructor. Some courses even include networking specific communities as part of their offerings.
2. Choose a course
In addition to your goals, there are many other elements that may go into selecting the right e-commerce certification course. For example, time commitment can greatly affect the type of experience you get. A 12-week course through a university could be a good match if you're looking for intensive, in-depth training. A two-hour online certification workshop may be better for a basic e-commerce overview or as a networking opportunity.
Price, location, experience level, schedule, instructors and style are all other factors that may impact your decision. Some courses may be entirely remote and self-driven, perfect for solitary learners. Others offer lectures, assignments and discussion opportunities. For this reason, it's useful to know your own preferred learning style before selecting your course.
Related: 8 Common Types of Learning Styles
3. Enroll and complete the work
The enrollment process and course requirements vary widely across the different certificate options. Most online e-certification courses comprise modules followed by quizzes to ensure you have developed an understanding of the material. There may also be a larger test or exam at the end of the course that you must pass to earn your certification. Longer certification programs might be more similar to a college curriculum, with a mix of elective and core curriculum credit requirements.
4. Share your new certification
Once you have completed your certification, add it to your business website or social media. Some programs offer digital badges or certificates made specifically for this purpose. If you're working on developing your personal career rather than a business, include your new certification on your resume and any professional networking profiles.
Tips for pursuing an e-commerce certification
Here are some more tips about e-commerce certifications:
Look for a money-back guarantee. As you consider different potential e-commerce certifications, note which ones offer a money-back guarantee. This may show that the provider has high confidence in the value of their course, which can be promising.
Consider the price. There are many free certificate courses and webinars available online for marketing and business professionals. Remember that you're paying for these with your time and attention, so read reviews before enrolling to be sure the program can help you reach your goals.
Consider training as a team. If you work for a larger company, consider finding an e-commerce certification course that your entire team can take together. This is an efficient way to train a team and ensure that all employees are learning the same skills and strategies.
Ensure the course offers a certification. Many e-commerce courses grant a certification upon completion, but others are simply courses for the sake of learning. If you want a certificate, double-check your chosen program to make sure that they offer one before enrolling.
Look for continued access to course materials. Even if you take detailed notes, it can be very useful to have access to the course documents, presentations and other materials after you have finished the program. Consider checking to see if you have continued access to the course materials as part of your search criteria.
Reach out to other people in your program. Even if you chose a more solitary course, you can still use it to network by reaching out to other enrolled individuals and businesses. You can also find businesses that list the certification you are pursuing on their website or business profiles and use your shared certificate experience to begin a conversation with them.
Keep up to date. The world of e-commerce is constantly changing, so it may be a good idea to enroll in a short certification program or review course on a semi-regular basis to ensure that you are up to date with the newest tips and technologies.
Be active with your new skills. In most cases, the skills you learn in your e-commerce certification course are immediacy applicable to your work, so you can share and implement them immediacy. This is one of the best ways to cement your new knowledge and gain the rewards.
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