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You’re young (or not so young) and maybe you’re a computer geek, a ‘Net maven, a chronic gamer, MySpacer, blogger, code junkie, propellerhead wannabe and you just can’t get enough of the Web, but life (and your parents) keeps telling you, “get real,” “what about the future?’ and “you can’t live at home forever!” So what now? The prospect of being a pinstriped bean counter at the local bank fills you with dread, and since you want to have your online cake and eat it too, a career in the field of Ecommerce could very likely give you the best of both the business and the creative worlds. The universe of online retailing is exploding and this fast-growing (and sometimes fast-paced) global marketplace is hungry for technically skilled, innovative and energetic people of all stripes to conceptualize, design and manage the elements of Internet business.

Ecommerce Growth And You
A recent market research study noted that online retail spending in 2006 reached $102.1 billion, marking a 24 percent increase over 2005’s $82.3 billion. To paraphrase one Ecommerce trendspotter’s observation, “sales online now represent 7 percent of consumer spending, including the 26 percent increase that these sales saw over the last year in holiday transactions. The Internet marketplace as a whole is so substantial that you have to include it in any retail business activity computation.” Data from Internet Retailer, an Ecommerce industry tracking organization, reveals that with the web retailing market growing about 25% annually, online retailers are adding staff and adding new in-house programs and implementing job perks to attract and retain skilled Ecommerce employees, many of whom are finding the law of employee supply and demand alive and well in the Ecommerce job marketplace.

As far as job prospects for you, generally, many online retail organizations are relatively modest, operating with full-time staff of 10 employees or less, some employing only one or two technician/managers for their Ecommerce division. However, nearly one quarter of businesses surveyed operating web retailing programs employed 11 to 50 full-time or equivalent employees and almost 10% have an Ecommerce staff of more than 50. Additionally, the average staff numbers businesses are devoting to Ecommerce is getting larger; look at these statistics for the past year: 20.5% of web retailers have expanded their online marketing staff by 10%, 22.5% have expanded between 11% and 25%, 24.5% of web retailers by 25% to 50% and finally 14% of web retailers have expanded their online marketing staff by more than 50%. Significantly, Only 18.5% are operating with the same number of Ecommerce employees as a year ago. This is great news for a prospective Ecommerce career!

Find The Right Position
In the highly competitive and fast-paced Ecommerce environment, getting the necessary training and skills is as important as positive attitude and energy for career advancement and security. As the Internet becomes more interactive, visual and an arena of increasing choices, some of the positions that exist are:
  • Search engine optimization and web analytics specialists – many retailers want to take all of their search engine marketing activities in-house to avoid outside consulting fees for these services. Salary range is from under $40,000 for entry level to $60,000 and above for strong experience in these areas.
  • Web design and programming – this arena has become much more complex with the rise of broadband access leading to video, consumer web interactivity, VOIP technology, and marketing content propagation to cell phones, PDA’s, and iPod devices. Salaries range from $30,000 entry to six figures for a senior website development manager.
  • Digital marketing/content management – here MBA-style marketing and communications talent and training is key as the outlets for a retailer’s message shift from conventional media, such as print, television or radio to podcasts, cellphones, iTunes, and other radical new sources. Salaries here can be $30,000 to $60,000 or more if sales results warrant.
There’s many other career opportunities in Ecommerce, such as customer support and relations, online strategy management, and more. The most important thing is to find your area of passion, get the best training possible, and look for an employer who needs your skills and commitment. They’re certainly out there!
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