Skills you'll gain: Digital Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Management, Media Strategy & Planning, Sales, E-Commerce, Communication, Data Analysis, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Leadership and Management, Strategy and Operations, Business Communication, Customer Success, Professional Development, Research and Design, Survey Creation, Data Visualization, Entrepreneurship, Persona Research, Storytelling, Strategy, Web Design, Web Development, Web Development Tools, Brand Management, Writing, Accounting, Back-End Web Development, Computer Networking, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Support, Data Management, Finance, Financial Analysis, Human Resources, Market Analysis, Market Research, Mathematical Theory & Analysis, Mathematics, Networking Hardware, Supply Chain and Logistics
Beginner · Professional Certificate · 3-6 Months
Skills you'll gain: Marketing, Communication, Sales, Leadership and Management, Social Media, Web Development, Brand Management, Business Development, Inventory Management, Supply Chain and Logistics, Web Design, Advertising Sales, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Persona Research, Public Relations, Research and Design, Search Engine Optimization, Strategy, Strategy and Operations, Writing
Beginner · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: Digital Marketing, Marketing, Media Strategy & Planning, Sales, Communication, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management, Storytelling, Strategy, Strategy and Operations, Advertising, Computer Networking, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Success, Data Analysis, Data Visualization, Finance, Market Research, Mathematical Theory & Analysis, Mathematics, Networking Hardware, Research and Design, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Development
Beginner · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: Leadership and Management, Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Operations, Sales, Marketing, Strategy, Supply Chain and Logistics, Business Psychology, Human Resources, People Development, Brand Management, E-Commerce, Retail Sales, Supply Chain Systems, Talent Management, Business Analysis, Customer Success, Data Analysis, People Management, Performance Management, Retail Store Operations, Compensation, Corporate Accouting
Beginner · Specialization · 1-3 Months
For those looking to get a comprehensive understanding of how to build and manage a successful e-commerce business, the Launching an Online Business course from Coursera is a great starting point. It provides an overview of the fundamental concepts and tools needed to get your project off the ground. For more advanced learners, the Startup Financing Without VC Funding course can teach valuable strategies to source and access money for your venture. Both courses are completely free and cover essential topics for any aspiring e-commerce entrepreneur.
If you're just starting to explore e-commerce, Ecommerce Academy, Foundations of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce, Make the Sale and GetVirtual courses are great starting points. For those who are thinking of setting up an online store, you might want to check out Create a Facebook Shop and Commerce Manager too.
If you're looking to take your e-commerce business to the next level, try the advanced marketing strategy course for entrepreneurs. This course dives deep into topics like developing a customer acquisition plan, understanding market trends and customer segments, and creating a compelling marketing strategy. By learning these skills, you can create the most effective e-commerce plan to maximize growth.
Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods and services using the internet. And it isn’t just important - it is one of the fundamental technology disruptions of our time. According to Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, the first ever online sale was a Sting CD purchased through NetMarket on August 11, 1994. In the decades since, e-commerce has gone on to transform the retail landscape for physical goods while also enabling a market for digital goods, as well as the digital advertising that fuels Google and Facebook.
For physical products, e-commerce has changed business models and product strategies for everything from toothpaste to luxury goods. The power of the internet allowed Amazon to grow from being a bookseller to a platform that sells literally everything, by combining online marketing to build a platform that can sell anything along with old-fashioned logistics expertise to deliver it at scale. For companies that were already selling products in the pre-internet era, e-commerce has allowed them to sell direct to customers, as well as providing new digital marketing analytics on buyer preferences to inform product/market fit and brand management strategies.
E-commerce has also created a universe of purely digital products, including those that replace physical goods such as Spotify as well as those that offer new ways of delivering traditional services such as Uber. The ability to sell software ranging from image editing tools to meditation apps across multiple platforms over the internet has also led to an explosion of innovation in products that could never have existed prior to the e-commerce era.
Since any company selling goods or services today needs an e-commerce marketing strategy, expertise in this area is an asset in a wide range of industries and jobs. Product management roles can particularly benefit from this background, since this position requires a big-picture perspective on the entire product lifecycle from development to sales - and e-commerce is fundamental to selling today, especially for software products. Similarly, regardless of the product being sold, digital marketers need to understand e-commerce as part of the final “conversion” stage of the marketing funnel.
E-commerce is also unlocking career opportunities for artists and artisans of all types. Whether you’re a musician, a photographer, a vintage clothing seller, or anyone else selling hand-made or one-of-a-kind products, e-commerce has enabled countless individuals to turn their “side hustle” into a full-time job. While platforms like Etsy, Bandcamp, and even Instagram have all made it easy to sell to your customers, an education in e-commerce can help you separate yourself from the competition and reach the larger audience you need to make your business viable.
Yes, Coursera can help you learn everything you need to understand the possibilities of e-commerce today, as well as fundamentals in business and digital marketing that can help you fully leverage these capabilities. Much like e-commerce has made selling dramatically easier for businesses of all kinds, online learning is making education vastly more accessible by allowing you to learn remotely on your own schedule from anywhere in the world.
And because Coursera lets you learn about e-commerce from established, top-ranked schools like the University of Virginia and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you’ll get the same high-quality education as on-campus students at a fraction of the cost.
Any background you may have in sales, retail, or customer service, whether it's virtual or in person, can help you as you start to learn e-commerce. Even working at an entry-level position in a supermarket or department store will provide you with a better understanding of commerce in general and help you to be better prepared for e-commerce studies. Any knowledge you have of business and finance may also be helpful. Other experience that can be beneficial includes internships or jobs in marketing (particularly digital marketing), computer systems, or web development. A basic understanding of how the internet works as well as concepts like search engine optimization (SEO) may be helpful too.
Customer-oriented people are best suited for roles in e-commerce. Just like in-person commerce, you'll find yourself dealing with customers from all walks of life—and with all types of attitudes—so you must be personable and patient, no matter the situation. Marketing and advertising skills are also a must. It's harder for people to find commerce sites online than it is for them to discover them in person. That means you'll also need to be creative and detail-oriented. Many e-commerce ideas come from data analysis, so an analytical mind can be helpful. Of course, you'll also need to be well-versed in computers, technology, and the internet.
Learning about e-commerce is right for you if you want to play a role in the future of commerce. Online retail sales are on the rise and projected to grow exponentially in the years to come. Careers in e-commerce are highly sought-after and often pay competitively. And there is a growing need for passionate people to join this growing field. People who enjoy sales, customer service, and marketing, can thrive in this field. If you've ever wanted to learn the ins and outs of the business world or even own your own business, you may also be a great candidate for learning about e-commerce.