Online Merchant: Job Description, Duties & Salary

The popularity of the Internet has produced an online shopping marketplace and it's common for businesses to operate solely from a website. Online merchants work with these businesses and perform a number of tasks for online businesses.

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Career Definition of an Online Merchant

Online merchants work for businesses that operate on the Internet. Their duties can vary widely, so they need a wide range of business skills in order to operate effectively. Depending on the size of the business they own or work for, they may be involved in processing orders. They may also be responsible for securing purchased items and shipping them to customers. Their work can include addressing customer questions or concerns. It's common for online merchants to be actively involved with the marketing and promotion of their business or specific products that they sell. They could produce invoices and perform bookkeeping tasks as well. Online merchants may also act as buyers for the business and determine where to supply stock from.

Educational Requirements At least a high school diploma or GED, but bachelor's degrees are more commonly held
Job Skills Customer service skills, computer skills, communication skills, organizational skills, marketing skills, problem-solving skills
Mean Salary (2017)* $85,586
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 9% (business operations specialists, all other)

Sources: *; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

It is possible to become an online merchant with a high school diploma or GED, although postsecondary training may be required by some employers. As of November 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 41% of online merchants had a bachelor's degree, while another 12% had a postsecondary certificate. Fields of study that may be beneficial to those considering a career as an online merchant include business administration and marketing.

Required Skills

Online merchants may work from virtual shops set up on the Internet, but they still have to interact with customers on a regular basis. They may be required to talk to customers on the phone or communicate via email or chat. To perform these duties effectively, they need to have strong communication skills and good customer service skills. They also need to be able to solve problems when they arise, such as issues with suppliers, shipping or customer complaints. They need organizational skills to ensure that orders are processed properly. It's common for online merchants to be involved in marketing their business and products, so marketing skills are also valuable in this career field.

Career Outlook and Salary

Online merchants are considered part of the occupational category 'business operations specialists, all other' by the BLS. From 2016 to 2026, the BLS expects 'business operations specialists, all other' to see job growth in their field of 9%. According to, online merchants earned a strong average annual salary in 2017. They reported the average income for these professionals was $85,586.

Related Careers

Through the links below, it's possible to explore some careers that share common duties with those done by online merchants. Follow the links to learn more about the work that customer service managers, sales support coordinators or online marketing managers do.

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