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The Ecommerce Issue September 2023

Building a customer-oriented ecommerce business through better human interaction

Building a customer-oriented ecommerce business through better human interaction


Add these customer-focused content recs to your cart

Check out reads, listens, and follows recommended by the founders and leaders featured in this issue.

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The Jason and Scot Show

What do Amazon’s earnings mean for online shopping trends more broadly? What can Deloitte’s Chief Futurist tell us about consumer behavior? How might big changes in company leadership shape the ecommerce landscape moving forward?

Hosts Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis, and Scot Wingo, CEO of GetSpiffy and founder of Channel Advisor, dig into these and other topics in a podcast covering ecommerce news and trends. In offering the recommendation, David Weissman noted, “These guys offer interesting insights into the big picture of ecommerce and a helpful breakdown of industry trends.” 

The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

Shane Parrish founded Farnham Street to “help you master the best of what other people have figured out” — through articles, the Brain Food newsletter, and The Knowledge Project podcast. Tara Milburn says she listens to the podcast regularly and said that “while it isn’t specifically about business, every time I listen to an episode, it makes me think and broadens my perspective, which I think ultimately does inform my work and my business.” 

Podcast episodes feature conversations with thought leaders across science, business, spirituality, psychology, and beyond on topics that vary widely, from “The Science of Better Sleep” to “Finding Inner Calm” to “Lessons from Life on the Railroad.”  

Keep Smiling: The E-Commerce Customer Experience Podcast with Michael Melgar and Tygh Walters

Keep Smiling, a podcast covering customer support topics specific to ecommerce, is hosted by Michael Melgar and Tygh Walters, co-founders of SellerSmile. The topics covered range from support innovations in ecommerce and big picture trends to customer support career stories. Mat Patterson (who gave us the rec) was featured on an early episode!


Rick Watson

The former ecommerce entrepreneur and operator regularly shares insights on LinkedIn to support teams growing direct-to-consumer businesses. Rick spent 20+ years in the ecommerce industry with companies like ChannelAdvisor, BarnesandNoble.com, Merchantry, and Pitney Bowes before founding RMW Commerce Consulting. (Rick also hosts a weekly podcast, Watson Weekly.)


Reinventing Organizations by Frederick Laloux

“This is the book that started to give me the language for what I wanted to do when I committed to building Ethical Swag,” Tara said. “The author goes into the history of how we have formalized business — using examples from tribal culture and organized crime and family business — and unpacks the history of how business has evolved. It’s a really interesting read.” 

The Customer Support Handbook: How to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience for Your Brand by Sarah Hatter

This is a book both for founders interested in intentionally building an excellent customer support team and culture and for support pros looking to learn and feel validated in their work. The author, Sarah Hatter, is the founder of Elevate CX, a conference and educational platform for customer support and customer experience, and the book is filled with personal stories and practical, tactical tips.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Despite what the title tells us, the author, Donald Miller, says, “This is not a book about telling your company story. A book like that would be a waste of time.” Instead, he goes on to say, “Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand.” The book offers a seven-part framework to create an emotional connection with the customers who will help you grow your business. The book is a valuable resource to help understand how to make your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

Mat Patterson offered up this title as a helpful read for ecommerce teams looking to understand why certain ideas “stick” — and how to communicate them more effectively and memorably to customers. The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, offer six consistent traits that differentiate messages that stick and how to apply those principles to help your ideas thrive.


The CQ by Forerunner Ventures

This weekly newsletter created by the venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures provides insights into thematic trends in business from the group’s perspective as investors in consumer brands. David Weissman of Humankind has read the newsletter consistently for years and said that, “while much of the focus of the weekly send is on ecommerce, there's also plenty of space dedicated to innovation and future trends, which I also appreciate.”

The Supportive Weekly by Help Scout

Each week, Help Scout's Mat Patterson writes a new essay for people and teams who want to deliver exceptional customer service experiences. Every edition is full of fresh perspectives that'll make you think and/or laugh (often at the same time), practical advice, and pointers to the best customer service content. Plus, Mat solemnly promises that it'll never be boring.

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Written, recorded, and designed by doers & makers © 2023 In the Works