March 7, 2021

Scotland’s First Dedicated Course on Ecommerce Begins

Dr Peter Mowforth

The Skills Development Scotland report from 2019 highlighted that while the UK now sells £688 billion using ecommerce and is positioned third globally in this burgeoning key sector for business, in Scotland, not one Scottish college or University had a dedicated course, or SQA qualification on the topic. The report highlighted that globally, it’s a lack of skills that is the primary handbrake on the growth of ecommerce. On the basis of the latest ONS figures, with 8% of the UK population, Scotland should/could be generating around £55 billion in online sales if there’s to be equivalence with the rest of the UK.

Both Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise have moved to help address the problem by commissioning the newly formed Institute of Ecommerce to partner with the Business School at Strathclyde University. The goal is to deliver a pilot ScaleUp course aimed at the ecommerce managers at some of Scotland’s multi-million pound ecommerce businesses.

Within a few days of the course being announced back in November of 2019, the 8 day advanced course was twice over-subscribed having been limited to a maximum of 20 Scottish companies.

Day one of the course started on Tuesday 21st January 2020 with a full house.

Dr John Anderson welcomed the cohort and introduced head of Department Professor Nigel Lockett to provide the first Keynote.

The course then got underway with a variety of talks from John McSloy and Peter Mowforth  covering topics including:

  1. The Anatomy of Successful Ecommerce Businesses
  2. The Continuous Ecommerce Strategy Cycle
  3. Determining Realistic Ecommerce Goals
  4. Ecommerce Dashboards & Analytics

Feedback collected at the end of the day included:

“10/10 throughout” John Masson, Direct Office Supply

“Well explained and expectations set out. Great Platform for learning!” Dawn Smillie, Frontline Safety

"Good informative, showing a light on SME E-com practices and pointing a way to improve them, focus them in the right direction", Robert Burton, Executive Shaving

"Found the topics covered relevant and at the appropriate level. Lots of tips and ideas I can put into practice. Excellent start to the programme", Teri Macinnes, The PaintShed

"It has been great to see some of the platforms and programmes that we currently don't use which would be beneficial", Arlene McNab, OhPolly

"Learned loads”, Katy Bruce, Toolstop

"Really enjoyed the day", Phil McBride, Wholesale Domestic

"Extremely useful", Monique McPhie, MacGregor and MacDuff

"Excellent: long time coming but so worthwhile", Ken McLelland, YARD Direct

"Content was well delivered with good examples across the room", John Bruce, CelticFC

“Very good”, Ann-Maree Morrison, Labels4kids

"Very enjoyable + a nice breakdown of what is needed for a successful e-com business. Triggered a lot of thinking! Love slides", Stephanie Barnet, Shearer Candles

“Good Content So Far. Well Presented” David Buchanan, Archers Sleep Centre

"Excellent content. Can't wait to apply the learning. Excellent organisation", Gillian Crawford, LilyBlanche

“Good first day”, Craig Fleming, Chisholm Hunter

The second day will lead on how branding impacts ecommerce and will be led by Emil Stickland of the IoE.

We have managed to secure some of the UK’s leading experts on ecommerce to come along as keynote speakers for later in the course. These include the senior AI specialist from the UK Amazon development centre as well as head of Ecommerce for UK and Ireland from Google.

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