Sector Spotlight: e-commerce

While most “traditional” industries have had to downsize their hiring plans due to the pandemic, e-commerce has experienced the reverse. During the circuit breaker, many Singaporeans turned to electronic retailers for their shopping, and continued to do so even when restrictions were lifted.

The resulting boom is huge:

  • Singapore is projected to hit almost US$10 billion in online sales this year alone.
  • Singaporean consumers reported a spike in online spending in response to COVID-19, with 63% of those surveyed by research agency Blackbox Research and consumer intelligence platform Toluna now spending more online, and the total online spend for the average Singaporean consumer increasing by 31%.
  • E-commerce aggregator iPrice Group recently revealed that Singaporeans spent an average of US$83 per person from January to June 2020.
  • E-commerce platforms in Singapore experienced a two-digit growth at 23% in total web visits throughout the first six months of 2020.

Hiring in e-commerce

As a result, e-commerce is experiencing a boom in hiring on two fronts. First, retailers are increasingly looking to hire PMETs who have digital skills to help their businesses grow on e-commerce platforms. Apart from jobs, there are also about 610 company-hosted traineeships and attachments as well as about 430 training opportunities available in retail roles.

Secondly, existing e-commerce players are looking to expand and hiring talent to fit. The Straits Times reported that Chinese e-commerce group Zall Smart Commerce plans to recruit hundreds of employees over the next few years as it grows its local operations. Similarly, Shopee’s parent company, Sea Limited, has agreed to hire and train 500 Singaporeans in a partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), as part of efforts to provide job opportunities amid the COVID-19 economic downturn.

All this indicates continued growth in the e-commerce sector, and job opportunities to match.

What jobs are available in e-commerce?

Essentially, e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods on the internet. Thus, jobs in the e-commerce sector span a wide range of responsibilities and tasks including logistics, supply, customer services, legal advice, HR and more.

Jobs include:

E-Commerce Executive

  • Local diploma or degree
  • 0-2 years’ experience
  • 2,500 – 3,000 SGD / Month
  • An e-commerce executive manages e-commerce functions, typically reporting to the manager or head of the e-commerce team. These may include monitoring social media platforms, generating sales on e-commerce platforms, replying to online sales inquiries and generating insights on consumer growth. This is a junior position with opportunities for promotion depending on performance, so those who want to take up e-commerce as a career should consider it.

E-Commerce Coordinator

  • Local diploma or degree
  • 1-2 years’ experience in e-commerce
  • 2,200 – 2,400 SGD / month
  • E-Commerce coordinators handle the day-to-day e-commerce operations on an e-commerce platform such as updating and maintaining product listings, images, campaigns, orders, delivery fulfilment, payments, refunds, and customer service replies. They may also monitor inventory and stocks, and liaise with delivery partners to ensure goods are sent out properly. This is a logistics role that requires a meticulous and detail-oriented person.

E-Commerce Manager

  • Diploma or degree in Business Administration or related field
  • 3-4 years’ experience in e-commerce
  • 3,500 SGD – 5,000 SGD / Month
  • An e-commerce Manager spearheads the company’s e-commerce marketing strategy, be it on existing online sales platforms or setting up a website for the company itself. The e-commerce Manager would take charge of the e-commerce strategy and work closely with the relevant internal stakeholders to execute it, create, plan and execute digital marketing plans for campaign launches, collaborate with stakeholders and develop and execute online (eg. social media campaign, e-commerce, etc.) marketing strategies. This is a senior role that often requires experience in the sector.

What qualifications are needed for a career in this sector?

Education-wise, most e-commerce jobs require a diploma at minimum. However, as this is a growing field, many companies are open to diploma or degree holders in unrelated fields (such as Engineering or Marketing) as they are confident in “grooming” e-commerce executives.

Most job postings also did not ask for many years of previous experience in e-commerce, per se. Instead, they prioritised experience in the industry of the company. For example, a hotel would want candidates with prior experience in that industry.

Special mention must be made for e-commerce businesses that operate regionally or globally. Such companies may actively look for language ability or a willingness to relocate.

What career opportunities are there in the sector?

The e-commerce sector is a fast-growing sector that is looking forward to further expansion. E-commerce executives can look forward to promotions to e-commerce Manager or e-commerce Specialist positions. Those with extensive experience in the field may also choose to become consultants or open up an e-commerce business of their own.

Additionally, as e-commerce positions tend to cover a wide range of responsibilities, a career in this field exposes you to all aspects of a business including product marketing, supply chain, pricing and profit management, customer acquisition, cross-selling, up-selling, customer service and much more. These skills will stand you in good stead should you decide to switch careers later, or pursue a business of your own.

Apply for a career in e-commerce now!