I often get asked about educational materials dedicated to eCommerce, often by people who plan to start their own shop, others who’ve just landed a job in eCommerce, and others who are planning a change in career path. I’ve decided to create a comprehensive guide on eCommerce books that will help you kickstart your journey. However, I think there is plenty in each of these books for those who already have a wealth of domain experience.

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Must-read

E-Commerce 2019: Business, Technology, and Society
Kenneth C. Laudon, Carol Guercio Traver

The 15th edition of the most complete eCommerce book I’ve seen. 900+ pages of well-structured eCommerce knowledge from two authors with incredible credentials. It’s highly theoretical but gives an amazing overview of all the things that are important in eCommerce.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon Paperback
Brad Stone  

An investigative journalism book that objectively shows the whole history of Amazon. It’s a great read if you want to understand how hard it will be to beat Amazon. 

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built
Duncan Clark

The author was an early advisor to Alibaba and got a good understanding of the company and Jack Ma himself. Learn a lot about the Chinese approach to business and how different Alibaba is from Amazon. A real must-read. 

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh is a star in the eCommerce World. The book is an enjoyable read that presents the story of building Zappos on both a business and a cultural level. 

Retail Therapy: Why the Retail Industry is Broken – and What Can Be Done to Fix It
Mark Pilkington

An insightful view on the collapse of the traditional retail business model and a roadmap for its potential reinvention. 

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
Martin Lindstrom, Paco Underhill

Based on the single largest neuromarketing study ever conducted, this book reveals truths about what makes us buy things. It’s a must-read for any UX Designer.

The 6 must-read books will help newcomers and experts alike
The 6 must-read books will help newcomers and experts alike

Pick and mix

#GIRLBOSS
Sophia Amoruso

Women’s fashion retailer Nasty Gal was named one of  “the fastest-growing companies” by Inc. Magazine in 2012. A couple of years later, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy. Sophia Amoruso’s story is a fascinating and cautionary tale.

The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace
Robin Lewis, Michael Dart 

Industry gurus Robin Lewis and Michael Dart explained how unprecedented consumer power, enabled by technology and globalization, is revolutionizing retail. They argue that these dynamic times call for a business model based on new competencies.

The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works
Charles Fishman

A good read for those who would like to understand retail before they start to disrupt it with eCommerce business models :)

Ultimate Guide To E-commerce Growth: 7 Unexpected KPIs To Scale An E-commerce Shop To £10 Million
Mark Hammersley, Ian Hammersley

From the title, it looks like a book for small eCommerce owners. What I really like about this book is a set of concrete KPIs and actions around each. If you don’t have the experience with eCommerce Marketing, this is a really good place to start.

eCommerce Marketing: How to Get Traffic That BUYS to your Website Chloe Thomas  

Another book that’s helpful if you’re starting your eCommerce journey and need to know more about marketing. This will help you choose your first marketing channels.

Kill Your Conversion Killers with The Dexter Method™: A Pragmatic Approach to Conversion Optimization for E-Commerce
Joris Bryon

A no-frills guide to e-commerce conversion optimization: why it matters, how to approach it, and the start-to-finish steps you can take to grow your revenue.

The Truth About SEO: How to survive online in a world of robots, demons, influencers, and spiders
Chris Lynch

A useful book if you want to understand SEO for your own purposes to find out more about what your team does and how to support them. One that is accessible to everyone and doesn’t require deep technical knowledge. 

New Retail Born in China Going Global: How Chinese Tech Giants Are Changing Global Commerce
Ashley Galina Dudarenok

In just a few short years, China reimagined 5,000 years of buying and selling tradition to create a multi-device, online retail used by 800 million people. An interesting story about a profound change. 

Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy Paperback
John Yunker

Going global doesn’t have to mean traveling the world in search of partnerships and clients. But it does mean understanding culture and the technical elements of building world-ready products, software, and websites. Some actionable and insightful ideas of real value.

Designing Ecommerce Websites: A UX Design Handbook for Great Online Shops
Matt Isherwood

This is more a set of basic guidelines than a typical book about UX, including 66 guidelines on how to best use every basic element on each page of an eCommerce website. If you are starting out and effects are more important than understanding the processes behind customer behaviors, this is a great book for you. 

Well-designed website UX is essential to converting interest into purchases

Passing it on

I recently asked my network to share some book recommendations and these were some of the suggestions that others gave which are also worth picking up.

Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You Paperback
Daniel Priestley 

amazon.com – Get Big Fast : Inside the Revolutionary Business Model That Changed the World
Robert Spector

Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future – and What to Do About It Hardcover
Tien Tzuo

Amazon For CMOs: How Brands Can Achieve Success in the New Amazon Economy
Kiri Masters, Mark Power

Start reading the open guide to progressive web apps

Divante publications

Still hungry for more content? The books I’ve listed above are about some big ideas and general elements of retail. At Divante, we collaborate with industry experts and create eCommerce publications that drill down into trends and technology.

You can find all of our insight in our online Knowledge Center, including: 

  • eCommerce Trends Report 2020  
  • The New Architecture for eCommerce
  • Mobile Conversion Rate Optimization

Tom Karwatka

eCommerce expert focusing on UX and tech innovations. An avid speaker and a writer sharing knowledge on eCommerce trends, mobile-first solutions and modern approaches to eCommerce. CEO at Divante eCommerce Software House | LinkedIn | Twitter

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