Ecommerce Sales Representative Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an ecommerce sales representative career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an ecommerce sales representative is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Ecommerce Sales Representative Career

Ecommerce is the purchasing and selling of goods and services via the Internet, and ecommerce sales representatives work for companies that sell their products and services online. Use the following chart to weigh the pros and cons of becoming an ecommerce sales representative to decide if this is the right career for you.

Pros of an Ecommerce Sales Representative Career
May have few formal education requirements*
Opportunities to increase salary through commissions*
May set own schedule*
Voluntary certifications available*

Cons of an Ecommerce Sales Representative Career
Salary often depends on sales success*
Typically, must meet specific sales quotas*
E-business procedures require less sales workers than traditional sales jobs*
Product knowledge is often necessary**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Various Job Board Postings.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

As an ecommerce sales representative, you may work for online retailers or other businesses. You build relationships with clients in order to convince them to buy the product or service you're selling. You may travel within a certain territory and prepare and pitch presentations. Any client questions or requests are typically handled by you, and you may also set up equipment or show people how to use the product or service. Although online advertising and email can make finding potential clients easier, you may still spend time seeking new clientele.

Job Growth and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't compile information specifically for ecommerce sales representatives, but it does collect data for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives. According to BLS projections for these professionals, an average 9% job growth was expected from 2012-2022. Employment growth is largest for sales representatives employed with independent sales agencies where they work based on a fee or commission. May 2014 BLS data indicated that wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who use technical and scientific knowledge earn median salaries of about $75,000, while all other sales representatives earned median annual incomes of about $51,000.

What Are the Requirements?

A high school diploma is typically the only educational requirement for sales representatives, reported the BLS. However, if the products are scientific or technical, a bachelor's degree in a field related to the product may be necessary. Businesses often provide training for their sales representatives that can last up to a year. Training can involve working alongside an experienced sales representative or under the supervision of a sales manager.

Job Postings from Real Employers

To be a successful ecommerce sales representative, you need good people skills since you're in regular contact with a variety of different people and personality types. Additionally, you need to have good listening and customer service skills that make you attentive to the clients' needs and wants. Persuasive abilities are also an important quality for all sales workers. The list below includes a brief, selective representation of what employers are look for according to job postings from July 2012:

  • A hose company in New York looked for an ecommerce sales representative with 7-10 years of proven sales experience, excellent customer service skills and hose knowledge to handle customer relations and acquire new business.
  • A technology company in Florida sought an ecommerce sales representative with experience selling software and web-related products and good presentation and communication skills.
  • An online travel company based in Florida looked for ecommerce account managers with bachelor's degrees and experience in profit management, hotel ecommerce and marketing to maintain an assigned customer base and communicate with clients.

How to Beat the Competition

Specialize

Becoming proficient in a specific field, product or service can make you more attractive to employers. This expertise can make you more confident and credible when making sales and giving presentations. Joining professional organizations, attending conferences and reading the latest industry reports can help keep you updated on relative information.

Get Certified

Sales representatives can earn voluntary certification through the Manufacturer's Representatives Education Research Foundation. You can earn the Certified Professional Manufacturer's Representative credential or the Certified Sales Professional credential. You need to complete a training program and pass an exam to earn the certifications.

Earn a Degree

Although you may not need a degree to secure employment, degree programs in marketing, sales, business or a related field can teach you necessary skills, such as persuasive communication and customer service. You can earn a degree at the associate's or bachelor's level, and programs are offered online as well as on-campus. In a bachelor's program, you may also be able to minor in a field that is relevant to what you want to sell.

Alternative Career Paths

If the technology aspect of this career appeals to you and you want to obtain a position that requires even more technical expertise, consider becoming a sales engineer. These professionals sell complicated scientific and technological products and either work for the companies that build them or for independent sales agencies. For this reason, a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is necessary. Employment for sales engineers is expected to grow 14% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS, but those who sell computer software and hardware are expected to be in greater demand. As of May 2011, sales engineers earned mean salaries of about $97,000 annually, reported the BLS.

Alternatively, you can help companies evaluate and understand potential customers by becoming a market research analyst. You would analyze consumer demographics and buying habits and help companies analyze their competition. A bachelor's degree in market research, statistics or a related field is commonly required. Employment growth for these professionals was expected to grow at a rapid 41%, according to 2010-2020 BLS projections. May 2011 data by the BLS showed that market research analysts earned annual average incomes of $67,000.

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Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Marketing
  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Certification - Business Administration
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?