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Working as an Internet Store Manager – How Ecommerce Can Make You Big Money

In spite of the failure of many high-profile dot-com companies in the early 2000s, many online businesses have continued to survive and thrive. These “etailers” have adapted to the constantly changing technology, economic climate, business trends, and consumer demands, instead of concentrating on fast growth and offering the lowest prices.

Reports by research firm Jupiter Communications show that consumers are using Internet stores to do comparison shopping; a significant number of consumer research products online before buying them at traditional stores. Jupiter Communications predicts that the amount spent by consumers for online purchases and Web-influenced purchases at traditional stores will top $831 billion in 2005.

Because of the vastness of the Internet, the role of an Internet store manager or entrepreneur can vary as much as the numerous websites on the Internet. Expert opinion on what makes one website or one business more successful than another differs, too. E-commerce is a new and relatively unexplored field for entrepreneurs. But, because most entrepreneurs have innovative and creative natures, this uncertainty and uncharted territory is what they love.

Like traditional entrepreneurs, Internet entrepreneurs must have strong business skills. They come up with ideas for an Internet product or service, research the feasibility of selling this product or service, decide what they need to charge to make a profit, determine how to advertise their business, and even arrange for financing for their business if necessary. In addition, Internet entrepreneurs are typically computer savvy and may even create and maintain their own sites.

Some entrepreneurs may choose to market a service, such as website design, to target the business-to-business market. Other Internet entrepreneurs may decide to market a service, such as computer dating, to target the individual consumer market. Still others may develop a “virtual store” on the Internet and sell products that target businesses or individual consumers.

Internet stores vary in size, items for sale, and the range of products. Smaller Internet stores, for example, may market the work done by a single craftsperson or businessperson. Many large Internet stores focus on selling a specific product or line of products. As some of these stores have grown they have diversified their merchandise. Amazon.com is one such example. Originally a small, online bookstore, the company now sells music, videos, household items, and electronic products, in addition to books. Other Internet stores, such as those of Eddie Bauer and Sears, may be extensions of catalog or traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These large companies are generally so well established that they can employ Internet store managers to oversee the virtual store.

Many Internet businesses begin small, with one person working as the owner, manager, webmaster, marketing director, and accountant, among other positions. Those who want to start their own businesses on the Web must be very focused and self-motivated. Just like any other entrepreneur, they always need to keep an eye on the competition to see what products and services as well as prices and delivery times others offer. While Internet entrepreneurs do not need to be computer whizzes, they should enjoy learning about technology so that they can keep up with new developments that may help them with their businesses. Internet entrepreneurs must also be decision makers, and many are drawn to running their own businesses because of the control it offers.

The typical day of the Internet store manager or entrepreneur will depend greatly on the company he or she works for. Someone who works for a large company that also has a Web store, for example, may meet with company department heads to find out about upcoming sales or products that should be heavily advertised on the website. They may do research about the store use and report their findings to company managers. They may work on the site itself, updating it with new information.

The Internet entrepreneur also has varied responsibilities that depend on his or her business. No two projects and no two days are alike. An entrepreneur may spend one day working with a client to determine the client’s needs and the next day working on bookkeeping and advertising in addition to working on a project. Most entrepreneurs, however, enjoy this variety and flexibility.

While the Internet world is appealing to many, there are risks for those who start their own businesses. The Internet changes so rapidly that in five years it may be entirely different. Despite uncertainties, however, Web stores continue to open and the number of Internet store managers and entrepreneurs continues to grow.

College Training and Certification Necessary to Become an Internet Store Manager

If you are considering becoming an Internet store manager or entrepreneur, there are a number of classes you can take to help prepare you for these careers. Naturally you should take computer science courses to give you a familiarity with using computers and the Web. Business and marketing courses will also be beneficial for you. Also, take mathematics, accounting, or bookkeeping classes because, as an entrepreneur, you will be responsible for your company’s finances.

Take history classes to learn about economic trends and psychology classes to learn about human behavior. A lot of advertising and product promotion has a psychological element. Finally, take plenty of English classes. These classes will help you develop your communication skills, which will be vital to your work as a store manager or business owner.

College Training

Although there are no specific educational requirements for Internet store managers or entrepreneurs, a college education will certainly enhance your skills and chances for success. Like anyone interested in working for or running a traditional business, take plenty of business, economics, and marketing and management classes. Your education should also include accounting or bookkeeping classes. Keep up with computer and Internet developments by taking computer classes. Some schools offer classes on ecommerce. Many schools have undergraduate degree programs in business or business administration, but you can also enter this field with other degrees.

Licensing For Ecommerce

Licenses may be required for running a business, depending on the type of business. Since requirements vary, you will need to check with local and state agencies for regulations in your area.

Other Requirements

Internet entrepreneurs and store managers must have the desire and initiative to keep up on new technology and business trends. Because they must deal with many different people in various lines of work, they need to be flexible problem solvers and have strong communication skills.

Creativity and insight into new and different ways of doing business are qualities that are essential for an entrepreneur to be successful. In addition, because the Internet and e-commerce are relatively new and the future of Internet businesses is uncertain, those who enter the field are generally risk-takers and eager to be on the cutting edge of commerce and technology. This is not a job for someone looking for security. The Internet world is always changing. This is both exciting and scary to me as a businessperson. This is one career where you are not able to see where you will be in five years.