There’s a lot to do when starting a small business—from setting up the legal structure and hiring an accountant to vetting suppliers and establishing a brand identity. Now consider the additional needs of an ecommerce business owner: knowing how to set up and operate an online store, leveraging digital marketing tactics to compete in the online marketplace, and efficiently shipping products across the country (or internationally).
Whether you're looking for an introduction to ecommerce fundamentals or an in-depth exploration of a specific topic, an ecommerce course can help cut the learning curve, boost profits, and reach your business goals.
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What are ecommerce courses?
Online ecommerce courses are classes designed to give business owners selling products and services online the tools they need to start, launch, and scale their ecommerce business. Courses frequently cover the following topics:
- Marketing strategy. A well-planned marketing strategy can have a direct and significant impact on your success. Ecommerce courses frequently cover internet marketing strategies, including email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, digital marketing analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO). Many also cover marketing fundamentals such as branding, market research, and audience identification.
- Operations. An ecommerce course can help you navigate product development and manufacturing and create a shipping and fulfillment plan. You can also learn how to start a dropshipping business, package your products, and build a print-on-demand store from start to scale.
- Business development and finance. Some ecommerce training courses cover business planning, business development, and accounting. You can learn how to set prices, calculate earnings, and adjust business and marketing strategies to boost profits.
Benefits of taking an ecommerce course
There are four key benefits of taking an ecommerce course:
- Building your support network. As an ecommerce business owner, you’re less likely than your brick-and-mortar counterparts to run into industry peers at your local coffee shop. Ecommerce courses are a great way to meet fellow ecommerce business owners and build your support network. If your custom T-shirt business is impacted by supply chain issues, for example, you can call your custom apron friend for the lowdown on active suppliers.
- Acquiring customers. Whether taking courses in-person or virtually, you might meet potential clients in the process. Likewise, building relationships with other business owners can open the door to collaborations that increase your customer base or generate word-of-mouth referrals.
- Increasing your skills. An online ecommerce course can help you quickly build the skills needed to grow your business, from starting an online store to navigating tax season.
- Validate your success. There’s value in proving what you know. Some online ecommerce courses offer certificates for particular skill sets (like social media marketing or email marketing), which can boost your professional reputation. These stamps of approval may also allow you to charge more for your work.
6 ecommerce courses for business owners
These six ecommerce courses can help you start, run, and scale your online business.
1. Ecommerce Essentials: How to Start a Successful Online Business
Instructor: Tracey Wallace
This Skillshare course covers ecommerce fundamentals like choosing a product, conducting market research, selecting an ecommerce platform, and improving profitability. You’ll learn how to perform a competitor analysis and use content marketing to differentiate yourself in the online marketplace.
Cost: $32/month or free one-month trial
Length: 1 hour 3 minutes
2. How to Build a Profitable Ecommerce Business: Finances 101
Instructor: Jason Andrew
This free online ecommerce course from Shopify provides an overview of ecommerce business finance. Participants learn the basics of how online businesses make money, how to manage cash flow and inventory, and how and when to hire an accountant. This course can also help ecommerce entrepreneurs plan how to turn their businesses into their primary sources of income.
Length: 33 minutes
3. How to Launch an Online Subscription Business
Instructors: Tracy Nguyen, Callie Phuong, and Anne Tran
Subscription-model ecommerce businesses can provide predictable cash flow and increase customer satisfaction and retention. Shopify’s online ecommerce course covers the fundamentals of online marketing, customer research, product curation, performance measurement, and how to set up a profitable online store—all tailored for subscription-model businesses.
Length: 1 hour 13 minutes
4. Ecommerce Marketing Training Course: Learn How to Use Ecommerce to Attract, Convert, and Delight More Customers
Instructors: Ethan Giffin and Anni Kim
This marketing-specific course from Hubspot covers ecommerce marketing and online advertising fundamentals, including how to set goals for your online store, create a buyer persona, and nurture leads through the sales funnel. You’ll also learn how to use Hubspot’s Shopify integration to capture data from your Shopify store, create new audience segments, and launch automated marketing campaigns.
Length: 33 minutes
5. How to Design Your Online Store (with Zero Design Experience)
Instructor: Stephan Peralta
This course can help you design and launch a profitable online store on the Shopify ecommerce platform. The curriculum includes creating a brand identity, best practices in ecommerce design, and conversion optimization strategies. Participants will launch a Coming Soon page plus design and launch an attractive Shopify store—no prior design experience is needed.
Length: 1 hour 56 minutes
6. SEO Training for Beginners
Instructor: Casandra Campbell
This free Shopify course covers the fundamentals of SEO strategy for ecommerce business owners. You’ll learn how to perform keyword research, implement on- and off-site SEO tactics, and use analytics to track your performance. The curriculum also includes a three-step framework that you can repeat to generate more traffic to your site and scale your business.
Length: 1 hour 1 minute
How to choose the right ecommerce course
- Identify your business goals
- Determine your immediate needs
- Set your time and technology budget
- Research ecommerce courses
- Choose your course
Online ecommerce courses serve a range of audiences. Whether you're a new business owner or an experienced marketing professional, here’s how to choose the right one:
1. Identify your business goals
Start by assessing your business’s goals, so you know where you’re headed. Are you planning to build your vintage ottoman shop into an international leader in curating and shipping the finest 20th century ottomans? Or simply hoping to turn a hobby into a source of passive income? The answer will determine your ecommerce training needs.
2. Determine your immediate needs
Identify what you need right now. If you spend all your free time running social media accounts, a social media management course can help optimize your strategy and reclaim hours. If you’d like to drive more traffic to your website, consider a digital marketing specialization course that covers lead generation tactics like email marketing, search engine optimization, and content marketing.
3. Set your time and technology budget
Determine how much time you can devote to ecommerce training and how much you’d like to pay to enroll. Remember, many courses are free.
4. Research ecommerce courses
Review content from trusted online sources and thoroughly research course options. Consult business magazines like Forbes or Business Insider, blog content from ecommerce platform providers, or guides (like this one) to compare. You can also poll other ecommerce business owners in your network for recommendations. As you explore courses, keep notes on curriculum topics, cost, length, and any available certifications.
5. Choose your course
The rest is easy: Compare your immediate business needs and budget limitations with the ecommerce course offerings and select the best option for you and your ecommerce business.
Ecommerce courses FAQ
What are common topics covered in ecommerce courses?