While financial analysts continue to debate over whether the valuations of ecommerce companies are over the top (we think they are!), the industry trends are clear. Flush with funds, the ecommerce sector is growing and not showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
Where’s all that VC money going anyway? A big chunk is being invested into scaling up the operational infrastructure – logistics, warehousing, supply chain…and people. That’s great news for professionals looking for exciting opportunities in the ecommerce sector.
Kaushik Chakraborty writes about how the ecommerce industry in India looks today, the growth trends, various roles & vacancies, skills and qualifications, average salaries, the top companies in the online retail space, career paths and more.
Ecommerce Careers and Jobs | India
by Kaushik Chakraborty
Certain things in life make you feel that this is it – this what you want to do and eCommerce was something that gave me an instant kick!
Coming from a civil engineering background and having worked primarily on Telecom domain, I never thought that I will one day look at eCommerce as a career option.
What helped me a lot from my past was the engineering drawing from my engineering days which had a clear impact on visualizing the creative aspects of eCommerce and the business analysis activities which helped me to connect with people and relate to the consumer behavior and need.
Before we jump in to understand the career options in this industry, let us find out how big is the opportunity and how fast is it growing and what are the different segments?
- Share of etail business in 2014 as a percentage of overall retail industry is just 0.4% and expected to become 3% by 2020 [PwC report on eCommerce]
- Indian retail industry is growing at rate of 10% CAGR whereas eCommerce business is expected to grow 22% CAGR over the next 5 years.
Main sectors & the top companies in Indian Ecommerce
eCommerce Industry in India is divided primarily into 6 major segments:
- Travelling / Ticketing – Cleartrip, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Thrillophillia etc.
- Retail(R) & Marketplace (M) – Shopperstop (R), Flipkart (M), Snapdeal (M), BigBasket (R) etc.
- Deals – GroupOn, CashKaro etc.
- Education – Edureka
- Classified portals – Shaadi.com, Naukri.com etc.
- Hyperlocals – Grofers, PepperTap, Swiggy
Points to note:
- Travelling has the biggest share in the eCommerce space (70%)
- Retail/Marketplace is the fastest growing at segment with CAGR of 56%.
- Hyperlocal is the latest kid in the block and they have been able pull very good traction.
Each of these segments cater to a niche need and the consumer behavior also varies across these segments.
This clearly points to the fact that for a country of 1.25 billion people, eCommerce is a BIG opportunity!
List of Ecommerce roles and their requirements
eCommerce has opened up a gamut of opportunities across the spectrum of skills. The career paths have evolved around three areas:
- Creative i.e. product look & feel, customer experience, marketing, branding etc.
- Operations i.e. category management, supply chain, logistics, warehouse & inventory etc.
- Auxiliary areas i.e. finance, payments, legal, HR etc.
|Roles||Qualification required||Typical activities involved||Career Paths|
|Design||Bachelor / master’s degree in Design or fine arts||
– Providing inputs in UI / UX front
– Designing wire-frames, colour blends, photography etc.
|Product Design owner → Chief Experience Office (User experience)|
B.Design + MBA
– Manage and govern the whole product lifecycle.
– Interact with all stakeholders starting from SCM, finance, marketing, vendors, logistics etc.
– Person in this role needs to be a ‘master of all’!
|Product Mgr → Product Head → Chief Product Officer → CEO|
|Marketing||Graduate + MBA (Marketing)||Marketing is a profession that remains similar across the globe – Ensure that Eskimos buy refrigerators!||This role again gives flexibility in moving in to Creative roles and as well as typical operation roles|
B.Tech (Having worked in IT in a BA role)
MBA (Retail/ SCM) – Freshers
|A business analyst is Product managers most valuable asset – He/she needs to understand the business / Consumer needs and articulate it in the most comprehensive way||Business Analyst can move into either Product Management or Supply Chain roles|
B.tech (Computer Science allied branches)
MBA adds more value
Agile Certifications are an added plus
|Well if you are a technology geek – then this is the role for you! eCommerce companies work in some of best cutting edge technologies like mobility, 3D presence – and yes it will give you ample coding experience!||Development → Product Manager → Product Head → Chief Product Officer|
|Finance||B.com + MBA (Finance), C.A.||Though the finance roles remain the same as in any other industry, but a major focus is on payments||Finance guys will always roll up to become the CFO – but with a little touch of creativity they can roll up to become the CEO!|
B.Tech (Experience in SCM roles)
MBA (Retail/ SCM)
|This role is one of the most important roles for eCommerce – this role has a direct connect with the customer||Supply chain guys can roll up to become the COO.|
|Content Manager||Bachelors in Mass Communication||This requires you to understand the product well and provide the best write up to explain it’s intricacies.||The industry over a period of time has standardized this role and many companies provide this as a service e.g. Iksula|
Average Salary in Ecommerce Jobs
Now it’s the time to talk about an important thing – Money!
From the picture below you would get a fair understanding regarding various roles and their respective industry demand & skills supply.
A detailed lay out of tentative salary numbers w.r.t. years of experience can be found below. I have limited it to 12 years, because I believe that it is an optimum amount of time that one needs to invest to understand the intricacies of the business and after which there needs to be a strategic shift to take oneself to the next leadership level.
You might ask – “Why are these salary numbers tentative?”
Well, the primary reason is that salary numbers will depend on many factors like the organization you are presently working in/ have worked for or your qualification levels and so forth. Hence the above numbers might vary based on the scenario.
At this point, I will like to draw a caveat; whatever be your experience, salary levels or qualification, all these roles need to have just one goal in mind:
The value you can add in the whole consumer experience lifecycle – this is not-negotiable!
- Image: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in India (Source: Kashif Masood)
- Infographic (Roles, skills) and salary chart by Kaushik Chakraborty
Author Bio: Kaushik Chakraborty has over 10 years of experience in the areas of product management, consulting & business analysis. He has worked with global clients from the Asia-Pac and India region. He completed his B.Tech from NIT and MBA from XLRI (Jamshedpur)