Ecommerce is a brilliant field to work in for various reasons: It gives entrepreneurs freedom and the ability to work anywhere, most countries have a strong ecommerce job market and a lack of skilled people, and – while some industries require years of qualifications, or a long history in the industry – working in ecommerce is open to anyone who has taken the time to build up knowledge and skills within the area.
There are many, many great courses to help build ecommerce knowledge and skills. Many of these are online, some are free, and there’s a full range to provide everything from introductory lessons to college credits. Here are some of the options.
Ecommerce Courses Online
Entrepreneurs with lots to do don’t always have time to sit through class. These remote courses might make it easier to get an ecommerce business head start.
edX offers training programs created by major institutions of higher learning from around the world. In addition to the self-paced lessons, there are courses with more formalized structures and timetables.
The ecommerce courses on edX include vital topics like marketing analytics, digital strategy and digital marketing. Much of this content comes from business universities, so it offers a helpful introduction to general entrepreneurship. There are a lot of free courses here, and many come with the option to pay extra for professional certification.
Khan Academy is free, and students don’t have to register to use it. Its economics and finance courses are must-haves for those who don’t already understand microeconomics, macroeconomics or basic finance. Entrepreneurs who like to get hands-on with their technology can also learn more about the nuts and bolts in the computing section.
These HubSpot Academy courses go to great lengths to cover essential subjects, such as SEO training and business writing. Each course includes a multistep lesson broken down into video segments.
HubSpot has long been a valuable resource for ecommerce entrepreneurs thanks to its social media marketing and web analytics products. Its free courses include lots of valuable information, some of which will be more relevant to people who already use the HubSpot platform in their businesses. Thanks to the broad selection of instructors with industry experience, the lessons here make some complex ideas far easier to understand.
Alison offers many free courses with a large library of ecommerce topics. It also covers business law fundamentals, general online commerce practices and search engine analytics.
Entrepreneurs who want to access these courses must sign up. From there, lessons are self-paced. Since the lesson materials come from tech companies and international universities, it’s also possible to pursue professional certifications.
WordStream PPC University
As one of the dominant marketing forces on the modern web, pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising is critical knowledge for all ecommerce business owners. This handy resource from WordStream is completely free. It covers not only PPC but also the distinctions between long-tail and negative keywords, social media ad targeting practices and site design A/B testing principles.
PPC University is a well-stocked library of essential business concepts. In addition to short-read lessons, the site hosts webinars and white papers.
Skillshare’s ecommerce classes are quick learning options for those on the go. It’s easy to see the exact amount of time that each lesson demands, and they’re clearly labelled according to their subject matter.
Entrepreneurs who use sites like Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, WordPress and Facebook will appreciate the platform-specific lessons. Other potentially interesting subjects touch on everything from emotion marketing to building apps.
Skillshare users can pay annually or monthly to get unlimited premium access to all courses. There are also a good number of free classes on the platform.
The Online Marketing Institute
The Online Marketing Institute, or OMI, has about 350 different classes that explore various aspects of content marketing. Since the classes are split by skill level, it’s fairly easy to jump in with any kind of background.
New OMI subscribers can receive 10-day free trials. While users who pay for the costliest plans receive extra perks, such as discounts on certifications, entrepreneurs in search of fast knowledge may be able to get away with one of the cheaper subscription plans. Skipping the certification route will probably also appeal to those who don’t want to pay the $859 fee.
OMI courses might appeal most to business owners who need to brush up on specific ecommerce skills. Since the courses include a variety of series and well-organized webinars, it’s easy to create a customized learning program about topics like customer journeys, analytics and mobile marketing.
Google Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge
Google’s Online Marketing Challenge is open to any undergraduate or graduate students that want to participate, so it’s perfect for many young entrepreneurs. Entrants have to form teams, get an academic advisor sponsor and work together to develop online marketing strategies and Google Ads campaigns.
One very cool aspect of this program is that the students create their campaigns and strategies on behalf of nonprofit entities. It’s sort of like a hands-on trial by fire, but it may just be the push that some entrepreneurs need to build skills, network and succeed.
Udacity courses tend to lean more towards the technical side, but there are some gems that entrepreneurs will find particularly insightful. Only some of these courses are free, but the quality may still be worth investing in. It could prove especially helpful with potentially high-risk subjects like the mobile web, where a lack of solid know-how might lead to a business app crashing on its first big sale day.
Lynda / LinkedIn Learning
Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning aren’t free, but they do offer one-month free trials. More importantly, they also have hundreds of ecommerce courses. These video lessons include overviews, transcripts and the option to view the material offline.
LinkedIn Learning has a few perks specifically for business leaders. For instance, the platform offers lessons for employee teams as well as individuals. Such options might be good for someone who wants to delegate responsibility as their ecommerce or affiliate business grows.
Udemy is home to a broad selection of guided ecommerce lessons. There are also classes in different languages. Most of the courses on this platform cost around $10. This is relatively inexpensive considering the scope of some class topics, such as customer analysis.
Udemy is among the many sites that crowdsource their course content. The instructors have varying levels of knowledge, different credentials and many teaching styles. The subjects also range from topics like ecommerce dropshipping business organization to creating WordPress ecommerce stores from scratch. Always check out the ratings and feedback from prior students before paying for a course.
Shopify’s Ecommerce SEO 101
This quick lesson plan on SEO marketing and ecommerce is easy to digest. It comes in the form of seven chapters that should each take no more than five minutes to read. Sitting down with this crash course might be a good use of half an hour, especially for business owners who struggle with Google rankings or have no clue what SEO means.
Google Analytics Academy
Google’s Analytics Academy teaches people how to use Google Analytics, a web analytics service that lets business leaders monitor their website visitor traffic and behaviour. The courses are free, but they require registration.
Is this course going to be worth it for every ecommerce entrepreneur? Google Analytics is the world’s leading web analytics tool by usage, so it’s become the standard for many businesses that want to track the activity on their websites, use Google AdWords and study marketing campaigns in detail. While Google Analytics isn’t the only outreach option in existence, its widespread nature makes this course a good bet for most entrepreneurs.
The ecommerce content on Coursera covers a broad spectrum of interesting topics. Classes can be up to 10 weeks long, and students usually have to commit to watching a couple of hours of lectures weekly for at least four weeks.
Why might such a big commitment be a good fit for an entrepreneur’s busy schedule? One of Coursera’s more helpful aspects is the fact that its courses include some typical elements of structured classroom learning: Students can expect helpful quizzes, grading by their peers and final exams that all serve as useful sources of feedback. Having a set schedule to follow might make life easier when it comes to courses that aren’t quite as thrilling as the day-to-day of running a company is.
Coursmos, whose subscription plans start at $20 per user annually, is a platform that focuses on microlearning. Each lesson is a compact unit that lets entrepreneurs zero in on a specific topic.
Those who purchase Coursmos subscription plans gain access to tens of thousands of courses. Conveniently, there are a number of course packages geared towards business topics, such as sales, accounting and marketing. Entrepreneur users can also request custom content for purposes like training employees or teaching consumers how to use their products. This platform may be best for entrepreneurs who are just starting to scale up.
The Next Web’s Digital Entrepreneur Bundle
Want to create a new digital marketing agency or nurture SEO leads? Having trouble breaking out of the typical nine-to-five grind or completing a sitewide SEO audit? The Digital Entrepreneur Bundle covers such topics in a series of multi-lesson courses. At the time of this writing, the bundle of seven courses was on sale for $39, but The Next Web sometimes runs discount promotions, so keep an eye out for cheaper pricing.
Shopify’s Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping
Dropshipping is an increasingly common practice for many ecommerce entrepreneurs who don’t want to worry about stock or inventories. This course includes eleven short-read chapters that range in length. They’re also free, and they make for a good primer on the complicated realities of managing a supply chain.
[email protected]’ Strategic Marketing for Entrepreneurs
This is a great course for those who have an idea but don’t know how to promote it. It defines the elements that go into a viable marketing plan, delves into targeted and segmented advertising, and focuses on how entrepreneurs can improve the way they strategize outreach projects.
This course costs $199, and it offers continuing education credits. Be aware, however, that those who purchase the lessons only gain access to their material for 30 days.
Noteworthy Ecommerce Courses Around the World
Attending these institutional courses can be less convenient than remote study programs are, but good students take home game-changing business lessons nonetheless. Here are a few of the options in different regions that provide campus learning, online programs or a mix of both.
Swinburne University of Technology, a public university in Melbourne, Victoria, offers a Business Analysis and eCommerce degree option. Available as a major, co-major or minor, it includes everything from statistics to cyberlaw and business case analysis.
Aussies who lack the necessary time for intensive diploma study can also enrol in shorter courses. For instance, the Left Bank offers a 10-week online content marketing course for $990. Those in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne or Brisbane who have about $2,000 to burn can head to a nearby Karstens location to earn their IQ Content Marketing certificates from the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising.
The University of Scranton’s ecommerce degree is perfect for those currently on the college track. It could also suit young entrepreneurs whose ecommerce businesses are already self-sustaining yet not quite at the level of resounding successes. Complete undergraduate programs are costly, however. For instance, tuition and fees alone may be upwards of $40,000.
The Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program costs less at just under $1,000, and it teaches people how to foster corporate innovation. This program only requires eight self-paced courses and lets people pick the classes they want to complete, but it’s by application: Only those with work experience, degrees or other credentials may enrol.
Singapore is home to a few different institutions that offer undergraduate and postgraduate ecommerce diploma programs. Prices for these courses vary, but as of August 2018, many cost about $8,000 U.S. dollars or $10,900 Singapore dollars. For those who don’t want to deal with the full-time student life, the country routinely boasts regional seminars on everything from digital ROI to advanced content marketing and lead generation.
India is another nation that has invested heavily in professional ecommerce training. The Indian Institute of eCommerce teaches in-depth certification classes in topics like security management, marketing automation, digital marketing fundamentals and growth hacking. Mumbai’s IIDE provides certification programs for ₹6,500.00, or about $93. As a certification-level course, it’s fairly in-depth, which is a good thing for hands-on leaders: Students learn how to create their own ecommerce portals and get to explore the principles of customer interaction and self-promotion.
The Radio Nederland Training Center, or RNTC, has been educating media professionals for about 50 years. Its Digital Engagement Bootcamp for Social Movers and Changers, however, is decidedly modern. The two-week, 4,500 Euro course is a good fit for ecommerce entrepreneurs whose business models depend on good PR and forward-facing online communication.
Ready to Start Learning New Entrepreneurial Ecommerce Skills?
This was just a sampling of the many digital marketing courses out there in the wild. These sites and institutions are all worth exploring in more detail but don’t discount the ones that we failed to mention. Share any good options we missed in the comments, and stay tuned for more tips.