What is an Online Merchant?

Online merchants are very similar to a merchant at a regular store in many ways. However, instead of operating at a real storefront, the Internet merchant works for a business that is found entirely online. Online merchants wear many hats indeed, as this individual is in charge of a variety of tasks including managing the stores inventory, purchasing items needed for the shop, overseeing financial information, promoting the products and so forth.

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What does an Online Merchant do?

Online merchants are responsible for the products that come into the store and the products that go out of a store. They check out virtual or physical wholesalers to provide materials and goods for the shop, and they calculate totals for products purchased through the website. These merchants will add in the taxes and figure out shipping costs for particular products. They are also in charge of making sure that the store is fully stocked and products are ready to send. Through uploading and maintaining pictures of items in stock, online merchants also help to advertise and promote the products.

Online merchants do other behind the scenes work as well. They figure out the best domain name for promoting the product, and they create an attractive and appealing website on which individuals like to shop. These web merchants also decide the best places to advertise the products or services of the company which they are serving.

What does it take to be an Online Merchant?

Being a successful online merchant has more to do with having the necessary skills. First of all, individuals need to have a product or service to market. If this isnt possible, they need to form connections with someone who does have these goods or services and then act as that individuals marketer. Online merchants should also have a working knowledge of shipping standards and prices and be able to list them accurately on the website. The reason for this skill is that customers will be unhappy if one shipping price is listed and then they are charged a higher rate. Furthermore, online merchants will be promoting the services and goods on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and so forth; therefore, they must have a strong knowledge as to how to use these tools to promote items.

Having high levels of self-discipline is necessary for online merchants. Not all online shops have physical storefronts, so online merchants are in charge of themselves in many situations. Online merchants should also be creative. They either need to create a product or service that people will want to purchase, or they need to figure out innovative ways in which to advertise the work of someone else.

Formal educational training is not required to become this type of merchant. However, studying and receiving a degree in a related field, such as business or communications, can certainly help. Some of the top business programs in the country are found at the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School of Business, the Sloan School of Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Columbia University. Northwestern University, the University of Southern California and Lehigh University boast some of the top communications programs in the country. Having a background in business allows individuals to know how to operate in the world of buying and selling, whereas having a background in communications lets people know how to market goods and how to promote products to a mass audience.

What is the workplace of an Online Merchant like?

The workplace of online merchants can vary, depending upon whether there is a physical storefront or not. If there is a physical location where all of the employees gather to work, the merchant will have a standard office environment. However, instead of interacting with customers in real life, they will conduct transactions over the computer and on the phone. If no physical storefront is available, online merchants may work from home. They will be responsible for completing a certain amount of tasks in a certain amount of time, even if there is no boss watching over them. In these cases, telephone or Skype conferences may be scheduled from time to time so that the whole team can interact and discuss new strategies for marketing, selling and improving products or services.

Some online merchants might be entirely self-employed. They may sell handmade goods at an online storefront, or they may deliver tutoring services online via chat room sessions. In these cases, online merchants must be extremely focused and dedicated, since the profits that they reap will be directly correlated to how much work they put in.

How much does an Online Merchant earn?

As mentioned earlier, if online merchants are entirely self-employed, the earnings can significantly vary based upon how much work they put into the upkeep of the site. It could be a full-time position that pays for their bills, or it could be a way of earning extra money to pay for vacations and weekend activities.

The United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report average wages and salaries for this exact field. However, the bureau does place online merchants in the category of Business Operations Specialists, All Other." The bureau notes that the average hourly wage for this field of employees is $30.78, and the average annual salary is $64,030. These figures are as of 2011.

Learn more about being an Online Merchant