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Online Merchants Career

Career Description

Conduct retail activities of businesses operating exclusively online. May perform duties such as preparing business strategies, buying merchandise, managing inventory, implementing marketing activities, fulfilling and shipping online orders, and balancing financial records.

What Job Titles Online Merchants Might Have

  • Marketing Director
  • Master Hearth Technician
  • Online Services Manager
  • Supervisor of Operations

What Online Merchants Do

  • Fill customer orders by packaging sold items and documentation for direct shipping or by transferring orders to manufacturers or third-party distributors.
  • Receive and process payments from customers, using electronic transaction services.
  • Create, manage, or automate orders or invoices, using order management or invoicing software.
  • Deliver e-mail confirmation of completed transactions and shipment.
  • Correspond with online customers via electronic mail, telephone, or other electronic messaging to address questions or complaints about products, policies, or shipping methods.
  • Purchase new or used items from online or physical sources for resale via retail or auction Web site.
  • Determine and set product prices.
  • Calculate purchase subtotals, taxes, and shipping costs for submission to customers.
  • Compose descriptions of merchandise for posting to online storefront, auction sites, or other shopping Web sites.
  • Compose images of products, using video or still cameras, lighting equipment, props, or photo or video editing software.
  • Upload digital media, such as photos, video, or scanned images to online storefront, auction sites, or other shopping Web sites.
  • Calculate revenue, sales, and expenses, using financial accounting or spreadsheet software.
  • Cancel orders based on customer requests or inventory or delivery problems.
  • Prepare or organize online storefront marketing material, including product descriptions or subject lines, optimizing content to search engine criteria.
  • Order or purchase merchandise to maintain optimal inventory levels.
  • Determine location for product listings to maximize exposure to online traffic.
  • Create or maintain database of customer accounts.
  • Promote products in online communities through weblog or discussion-forum postings, e-mail marketing programs, or online advertising.
  • Collaborate with search engine shopping specialists to place marketing content in desired online locations.
  • Investigate products or markets to determine areas for opportunity or viability for merchandising specific products, using online or offline sources.
  • Maintain inventory of shipping supplies, such as boxes, labels, tape, bubble wrap, loose packing materials, or tape guns.
  • Measure and analyze Web site usage data to maximize search engine returns or refine customer interfaces.
  • Develop or revise business plans for online business, emphasizing factors such as product line, pricing, inventory, or marketing strategy.
  • Disclose merchant information and terms and policies of transactions in online or offline materials.
  • Design customer interface of online storefront, using web programming or e-commerce software.
  • Select and purchase technical web services, such as web hosting services, online merchant accounts, shopping cart software, payment gateway software, or spyware.
  • Transfer digital media, such as music, video, or software, to customers via the Internet.
  • Devise, select, or purchase domain name and web address.
  • Initiate online auctions through auction hosting sites or auction management software.
  • Implement security practices to preserve assets, minimize liabilities, or ensure customer privacy, using parallel servers, hardware redundancy, fail-safe technology, information encryption, or firewalls.
  • Investigate sources, such as auctions, estate sales, liquidators, wholesalers, or trade shows for new items, used items, or collectibles.
  • Participate in online forums or conferences to stay abreast of online retailing trends, techniques, or security threats.
  • Integrate online retailing strategy with physical or catalogue retailing operations.
  • Create or distribute offline promotional material, such as brochures, pamphlets, business cards, stationary, or signage.

What Online Merchants Should Be Good At

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Online Merchants Should Be Interested In

  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

What Online Merchants Need to Learn

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $69,040

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.