Profile of an occupation – management assistant in e-commerce

Over the past few years, e-commerce has led to the creation of new task areas, processes and business models with their own ways of working and sequences which were not covered by the established commercial occupations. This made it necessary to introduce a new occupation to provide training for tasks in the area of e-commerce. This profile presents the tasks, development opportunities and figures for this new occupation which entered into force in 2018.

Analysis of online sales channels

Diverse tasks in the area of e-commerce

Online shopping has developed into a normal retail route for many consumers. Almost every kind of product and service can now be found on the Internet. Management assistants in e-commerce ensure that the offerings of a company are visible on various online sales channels, that all the information relevant to a purchase decision can be found on the Internet in a structured form, and that the products or services available online can be procured via a few clicks of the mouse and without any impediment.

Management assistants in e-commerce evaluate buying and user behaviour to a far greater extent than in other occupations. They measure and analyse which texts and pictures are used in the offers that attract particularly large numbers of visitors to online sales channels and derive recommendations for improvements to the product range and service provision. They observe what convinces people to make a purchase and track subsequent developments in customers’ order behaviour. Management assistants in e-commerce also maintain contact with their (potential) customers and use different communication routes to record and respond to their wishes and concerns.

Dealing with data in the correct manner is also a core competency of management assistants in e-commerce. In their capacity as skilled practitioners in the digitalisation of business models, they learn how to operate application systems on the Internet. They structure the form and content of online shops, of booking portals, of apps and of numerous other e-commerce systems. New digital technologies are constantly being deployed as part of such processes. These include augmented reality visualisations (e.g. planning virtual dressing rooms for trying on clothes online), curated shopping (e.g. compiling outfits for online customers with the assistance of artificial intelligence), chatbots and social customer relationship management (e.g. providing information about new products in social networks). In all of this, it is important to ensure compliance with the legal stipulations, especially those relating to data protection and data privacy. Due consideration must also be accorded to consumer and copyright law, to the laws regarding unfair competition, and to case law concerning the Internet.

Special term – customer journey

The customer journey describes the individual phases of online marketing which customers pass through from initial contact until they decide to buy a product.

E-commerce sectors

E-commerce is more than just online shops. Management assistants in e-commerce may work in a multitude of sectors and may also be trained by a wide range of different company types. For example, they assist tour operators by developing an opportunity to add the right rental car or photo safari to supplement a trip booked online. And in the entertainment branch, they might take care of supplying concert tickets or online games, and they also facilitate the online procurement of production goods by industrial companies.

From 0 to 1,300 trainees

The training occupation of “management assistant in e-commerce” entered into force on 1 August 2018 and got off to a successful start with more than 1,300 new training contracts instantly concluded. In the 2018 ranking list of newly concluded training contracts, management assistant in e-commerce thus came from nowhere to become the 78th most popular of the total of 326 recognised dual training occupations being offered at the time. There were 1,731 new training contracts in 2022, 633 of which were concluded with women. The numbers of newly concluded training contracts in the occupations of management assistant for retail services and management assistant in wholesale and foreign trade are still higher but are steadily declining (cf. Figure).

figure on the de development of newly concluded training contracts between 2018 and 2022
Figure: Development of newly concluded training contracts of trainees in e-commerce compared to other commercial occupations, Source: BIBB “Trainee Data System”

Download figure (436 KB)

What happens after training?

Management assistants in e-commerce can be deployed as specialists in digital sales models in all sectors in which purchases are arranged and/or completed on the Internet. They frequently go on to perform highly diverse task areas if they have trained at small or medium-sized companies. As well as using their own job title, they may also take on positions such as shop manager, e-commerce manager or online manager. Following successful completion of training, management assistants in e-commerce may help small or medium-sized companies in particular in the implementation of an e-commerce strategy. At larger companies, they frequently specialise in sub-disciplines of e-commerce training and may, for example, work as an online marketing manager. There are also a multitude of continuing training opportunities and advanced training qualifications (cf. Information box below).

At a glance

  • New training occupation since 2018
  • Duration of training: 3 years
  • Responsibility: Trade and industry
  • Training structure: Mono-occupation
  • DQR reference level: 4
  • Advanced vocational training: Bachelor Professional of Sales and Distribution Management, Bachelor Professional of E-Commerce, Bachelor Professional of Marketing, Bachelor Professional of Trade and Commerce or Bachelor Professional of Tourism.


Further Links

Occupational information from BIBB (in German)

“Structuring Training” series of publications (in German)

Training information from the sector (in German)

AzubiView Podcast on the profile of the occupation featuring two trainees (in German)


(All links: status 28/05/2024)

(compiled by Arne Schambeck, BWP)

Translation from the German original (published in BWP 2/2024): Martin Kelsey, GlobalSprachTeam, Berlin