If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you work for an online retailer.
You know how important delivery can be in the ecommerce customer experience.
That moment when your customer signs for the courier.
That moment your customer gets a little pang of excitement at the prospect of opening their goodies.
That moment where you have a clean slate for your brand's first impression.
For those of you new to the vagaries of retail lingo, in the biz we call this moment of opening a package 'unboxing'.
Unboxing is a moment of instantaneous excitement and joy...
And we Gorillas have been trying to add a little slither of that unboxing magic to your work week for the past 12 months.
Of course, we can’t afford to send a physical package to your office every Tuesday. Couriers are costly. You know that better than most. And a mystery package sounds like something the cops might want to investigate.
Instead, we've been giving the loyal Ecommerce Jungle Gym regulars a weekly package of ecommerce marketing learning - delivered to that other type of mailbox. The digital one.
Granted, a weekly email is unquestionably less exciting (and boxless) way to deliver packages. But we know you're too busy working on your online store to stay across the latest insights, news and advice published across the online marketing blogosphere. So we've been doing our best to find the best new articles, brands and resources from around the web each week.
We create one neat little ecommerce learning package and send it on to our faithful readers to help them stay one step ahead of the fast-chasing online retail pack.
The most popular part of our weekly ecommerce learning package
The most loved part of our ecommerce email update is our feature profile of an influential ecommerce marketing expert.
Our readers comment on and share this segment more than any other.
We do our best to find a cross-section of interesting ecommerce experts for our readers to learn from. This has included ecommerce founders from all kinds of different industries, agency professionals with specialised skills, ecommerce blog editors, managers of association bodies and even some of the best ecommerce podcast hosts in the business.
To kick off 2017, I wanted to round up a selection of the best profiles we shared last year, but it was really, really hard to narrow down the list.
So I just picked 35.
The list is in no particular order. Just scan through, follow these folks on Twitter, check out their online stores or blogs, and thank me later.
(Oh, and make sure you send me your nomination for 2017's list!)
#1. Brian Dean
Twitter Feed: @Backlinko
Brian’s articles are (rightly) fawned over within the ecommerce community. Traffic generation, conversion rate optimisation and audience building are Brian’s jam, and not many do it better. We reckon Brian's blog is the finest SEO resource you will find online. Apart from expert strategic advice, you'll find thorough, step-by-step, read-to-implement tactics. Likewise, Brian's Twitter feed is filled with priceless insights.
#2. Francesca Nicasio
Twitter Feed: @francescaSN
Francesca is one of the most prolific, intelligent and well-researched ecommerce writers going. Her work for POS software provider Vend's online retail education website is always worth reading. Understandably, her Twitter profile is more of the same. If you're not already subscriber to Vend's blog, you should sort that right out too.
#3. Talia Wolf
Twitter Feed: @taliagw
Conversion rate optimisation. That's Talia's wheelhouse. While Talia specialises in consumer psychology, emotional targeting and customer experience design - it was Talia's knowledge sharing of mobile CRO strategies that we Gorillas found most helpful in 2016. With mobile ecommerce rates leap-frogging desktop shopping levels, your understanding of mobile online store design has never been more important. Talia's conversion rate optimization webinars, articles, classes and resources are filled with expert insights and practical advice that any ecommerce marketing pro will appreciate.
#4. Joanna Wiebe
Website: Copy Hackers
Twitter Feed: @copyhackers
Effective copy equals ecommerce profit. Joanna Wiebe's keyboard can grab your emotions and play them with a joystick. If you care for language, or if you're on a quest to improve your writing skills - subscribe to regular updates from Joanna's Copy Hackers site. It's a haven of practical advice for marketing professionals of any level.
#5. Tara Johnson
Website: CPC Strategy
Twitter Feed: @CPC_Tara
Tara's stream is crammed full of big picture ecommerce insights. Her work as Managing Editor for CPC Strategy is invaluable reading. Each article is crammed full of brand examples, miniature case studies and expert practical insights. If you're handling online advertising for your online store, or you're interested in cost effective ways to attract new customers (read: everyone), Tara's work shares a bunch of knowledge you need.
#6. Kunle Campbell
Website: 2X eCommerce
Twitter Feed: @KunleTCampbell
Kunle is one of Gorilla’s most trusted retail strategy experts. He runs one of the finest online retail podcasts, 2x eCommerce (and a blog of the same name). Both platforms explore the big picture issues of the ecommerce industry in remarkable detail. Kunle is a big believer in creating a best-in-class customer experience that attracts, converts AND retains ecommerce customers. His philosophy is one we share - increasing lifetime customer value is the way to sustainable retail success.
#7. Aaron Beashel
Website: Campaign Monitor
Twitter Feed: @aaronbeashel
Aaron is the Head of Inbound at email marketing powerhouse, Campaign Monitor. He is one of the online marketing industry's smartest audience builders. His sporadic personal blog articles are worth waiting for, and his forthright views on Twitter will have you reaching for your thinking cap. If you're managing your online store's email marketing program, you'll also find Aaron's Campaign Monitor blog extremely helpful.
#8. Shanelle Mullin
Website: Conversion XL
Twitter Feed: @shanelle_mullin
Conversion XL's blog must be the Harvard university of CRO right now, and Shanelle Mullin is responsible for some of their finest content. When you catch her name in the bio of an article, you must read on. Expect comprehensive detail and thorough research. Shanelle's Twitter stream is a perfectly curated noticeboard of online store helpfulness. Keep an eye out for her work, and make Conversion XL regular reading.
#9. Kate Morris
Website: Adore Beauty
Twitter Feed: @morris_kate
Kate is one of Australia's most accomplished ecommerce entrepreneurs and Founder of Adore Beauty, one of the world's longest serving online cosmetics retailers. She recently sold a 25% stake in her business for $10 million. Kate is heavily involved in the industry, and her Twitter profile is a stream of ecommerce inspiration.
#10. Jodie Sangster
Twitter Feed: @jodiesangster
Jodie is the CEO at ADMA - the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising, Australia's premier digital marketing education body. Jodie's feed is always forward-thinking and innovation focused. She'll help you keep across the most important events, trends and industry developments.
#11. Mike Halligan
Twitter Feed: @MrMikeHalligan
Mike is an Australian ecommerce soothsayer. He's the digital brains behind Zanerobe and Barney Cools - two of our favourite home-grown menswear online retail success stories. Zanerobe's remarkable growth has seen the brand take on the physical retail world, with supply relationships all across the US. Mike's strategic digital insight is responsible in no small part for the emergence of this brand in one of the most competitive ecommerce verticals. Online innovation is central to everything Mike touches, including his Twitter feed.
#12. Matt Barby
Twitter Feed: @matthewbarby
Matt is a growth-hacking, rankings-dominating, audience-generating machine. His blog is a treasure trove of incredibly detailed so-good-you'd-pay-for-it content that will definitely help you meet, greet and keep more customers online. A man who nails down a role as Growth Manager of inbound marketing behemoth Hubspot, is a man you need to learn from. Along with Brian Dean, Matt has to be in the top handful of SEO writers on the internet.
#13. Graham Charlton
Website: Sale Cycle
Twitter Feed: @gcharlton
Graham has worked in the digital industry for more than ten years, writing always-helpful stories on UX, CRO, mobile, SEO, email marketing and other ecommerce issues as Editor of Click Z, and former Editor of Econsultancy. Graham's been around the block. He'll help you separate the marketing blogosphere hype from reality.
#14. Dave Chaffey
Website: Smart Insights
Twitter Feed: @DaveChaffey
Dave is the Co-Founder and CEO of the respected online digital publication Smart Insights. He is one of the smartest and longest serving ecommerce marketing experts in the United Kingdom. His Twitter feed is consistently full of practical digital advice and online retail marketing insights.
#15. Carolyn Hyams
Website: Firebrand Talent
Twitter Feed: @chyams
Carolyn is the Australian Digital Marketing Director for Firebrand Talent and Aquent - Australia's market leading digital marketing HR brands. Carolyn is one of the most connected Australians in the online marketing world, and her feed is filled with cutting-edge digital insights and info.
#16. Richard Lazazzera
Website: A Better Lemonade Stand
Twitter Feed: @RichardABLS
Richard is the Founder and Managing Editor of A Better Lemonade Stand - one of the most helpful online education platforms in the ecommerce industry. The ABLS blog publishes longer form, well researched articles with a bounty of ecommerce brand examples to help inspire readers. Richard learned his chops growing the Shopify community, so you can be sure he knows online retail marketing better than you know your uncle. His Twitter feed won't disappoint.
#17. Ben Marks
Twitter Feed: @benmarks
Ben is a Magento 'brand evangelist'. The man is one of the world's foremost experts on one of the ecommerce industry's finest online store platforms. If your site is built on Magento, Ben's Twitter feed is an invaluable resource. His articles are expertly researched and crammed full of valuable, practical advice. Ben's tweets are beautifully niche focused - Magento only!
#18. Tucker Schreiber
Website: Shopify Blog
Twitter Feed: @tuckerschreiber
Tucker is your classic ecommerce overachiever. He's the valedictorian who's captain of the sports team and the number 1 student. He's founded over 4 successful ecommerce companies, he's a critical member of Shopify's growth team, and he's one of the most prolific bloggers in the online retail industry. Did we mention he's not even 30 yet?
#19. Scott Galloway
Website: L2 Inc.
Twitter Feed: @profgalloway
Scott is both the Founder of L2 Inc (one of the finest digital research agencies in the world) and a Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern. If you haven't seen Scott's eclectic and insightful work on his Webby award winning Winners and Losers YouTube series, you need to get involved.
Twitter Feed: @tobi
Tobias Lütke is founder and CEO of Shopify. Enough said, right? Tobi's Twitter feed is filled with innovative insights on ecommerce and entrepreneurship. He even drops in a few tech industry funnies for good measure. The company he created has fuelled the dreams of a huge proportion of the ecommerce industry's best success stories, and the Shopify blog is one of the premier online retail marketing resources in the business.
#21. Kath Pay
Website: Holistic Email Marketing
Twitter Feed: @kathpay
Kath lives and breathes email marketing. She is a passionate advocate for spam genocide, and a fierce believer in treating email inboxes with care, love and respect - something we Gorillas can get behind. Apart from managing her Holistic Email Marketing agency, Kath also teaches Advanced Email Marketing for the respected Econsultancy brand.
#22. Giles Thomas
Twitter Feed: @acquireconvert
Giles, just like Tucker, is one of these chronic ecommerce overachievers. He is an ecommerce CRO expert and Founder of the fantastic ecommerce blog AcquireConvert & ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. Somehow Giles also finds the time to teach as a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator. Giles is also a member of the Google Experts program, a curated group of the world's leading experts in UX, product & marketing.
#23. Dan Barker
Website: Ecom Chat
Twitter Feed: @danbarker
Dan is one of the ecommerce industry's most powerful guns for hire. He is a freelance retail strategist with qualifications in CRO, usability testing, email marketing, PPC, SEO, analytics and even ecommerce recruiting. He has worked with over 50 of the world's biggest ecommerce brands, and he shares his expert insights with his 13K Twitter following regularly.
#24. Web Smith
Website: 2 PM Links
Twitter Feed: @Web
Web is the founder of three different ecommerce startups, including the beautifully designed performance menswear online store, Mizzen and Main. Somehow he finds the time to consult for other budding ecommerce entrepreneurs, invest in other online retail brands and curate a daily ecommerce newsletter. Said newsletter is the finest daily publication in our industry. You need Web's 2PM Links in your inbox. Follow his Twitter feed for fresh insights and original observations on all things ecommerce.
#25. Julie Stevanja
Twitter Feed: @juliestevanja
Julie is the founder and CEO of an inspiring Aussie ecommerce success story, Stylerunner. Julie almost single-handedly created the 'athleisure' market in Australia. Since launching in 2012, the online shopping destination has set a new standard for workout style globally, growing at a rate of 1000%. Julie is also a leader in the Australian online retail community, speaking at various events as part of her commitment to help the industry prosper.
#26. Benedict Evans
Website: Andreessen Horowitz
Twitter Feed: @BenedictEvans
If you're a tech geek, this man needs no introduction. For those of us without an Apple Watch - Benedict works at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm that invests in companies like Airbnb, Zulily, and Dollar Shave Club. His article on 'The Facebook of ecommerce' is required reading for any retail marketing pro, and his Twitter feed holds plenty more of these insights.
#27. Brett Curry
Website: Llama Commerce Show
Twitter Feed: @brettcurry
Brett is the host of the whimsically named Llama Commerce Show. It's part-podcast, part-video blog and each week Brett interviews industry experts, brand-side marketers, ecommerce entrepreneurs, and online marketing thought leaders to bring you in-depth, practical insights. You'll need a good 30 minutes per show, but it's worth cycling through the archives to find any topics or experts in your industry. While you're at it - check out Brett's ecommerce consultancy website OMG Commerce while you're at it.
#28. Everett Sizemore
Twitter Feed: @balibones
As Marketing Director of inbound agency Inflow, Everett develops SEO strategies for enterprise-level ecommerce sites, with particular expertise in coupon codes programs and shopping comparison sites. He also finds the time to contribute to a bunch of industry blogs and events. His Twitter feed is littered with links out to super practical ecommerce resources.
#29. Nadja Sittler
Website: Smart Acquiring
Twitter Feed: @nadjasittler
Nadja is the Director of Sales and Business Development at Credorax - a merchant bank specialising in cross-border ecommerce payment solutions. What she doesn't know about the payments industry is not worth knowing. Najda tweets about all things fin-tech and international ecommerce - two niches that are underserved in the retail blogosphere.
#30. William Harris
Twitter Feed: @wmharris101
William is one of the best ecommerce growth hustlers in the business. As Founder of consultancy Elumynt, William has helped ecommerce stores turbo-boost their revenues using targeted, low-cost tactics. He's also a fantastic writer, contributing to a variety of online retail publications. William's first hand knowledge of lead generation, conversion rate optimisation and SEO is professorial. Follow his feed for guaranteed ecommerce insight.
#31. Linda Bustos
Website: Ecommerce Illustrated
Twitter Feed: @edgacentlinda
Linda Bustos is the former Managing Editor of Get Elastic - a pioneering ecommerce blog. She has recently launched her own retail agency, and a new blog titled Ecommerce Illustrated. Her work on site search design in particular is incredibly valuable reading for any ecommerce wesbite manager. Linda's tweets and posts are unfailingly wise. She is one of the finest minds in ecommerce marketing, with an almost unrivalled knowledge of online store customer experience design.
#32. Dennis Moons
Website: Store Growers
Twitter Feed: @dennismoons
Dennis is an ecommerce consultant with years of experience helping online retailers convince and convert more customers. He is based in the Belgian city of Antwerp, and contributes to a number of different ecommerce publications, along with managing his own Store Growers blog. His Twitter feed is a well-manicured online library of 140 character add-to-cart inspiration.
Website: Mon Purse
Twitter Feed: @lanahopkins3
Lana is the founder and CEO of Mon Purse - one of Australia's best personalisation purveyors. Lana has created an online boutique that allows users to monogram, customise and design their own bag based on their own personal style. The brand is on track to turn over more than $10 million this calendar year. Mon Purse's success is built on an ability to give customers exactly what they want. And we really love their revolutionary retail pricing strategy - Mon Purse never, ever discount.
Twitter Feed: @dannywong1190
Danny is an ecommerce marketing triple threat. He's the co-founder of custom menswear online store Blank Label, he's the Marketing Lead for ecommerce software company Conversio, and he's an accomplished writer - publishing articles about ecommerce marketing across Entrepreneur, Huff-Po, The Next Web, & VentureBeat. Did I mention Danny is only 25 years old? The guy knows online retail. Follow his thread.
Website: National Retail Federation
Twitter Feed: @ellendavis
Ellen Davis is Senior VP of Research and Strategic Initiatives at the National Retail Federation. She is also the Executive Director of the NRF Foundation. Neither of these roles marks Ellen's greatest achievement - coining the term 'Cyber Monday' way back in 2005! Ellen is a retail marketing mastermind, and her Twitter feed is never far from the pulse of the industry.
Follow all 35 of our featured experts
The problem I need you to help me with for next year's list
There's an elephant in this virtual room.
While this article is undeniably full of some of the most talented, respected and interesting professionals to follow from the ecommerce industry - there is two huge problems with our list.
Out of the 35 professionals:
- 21 are male
- 32 are white
Tallying up these figures filled me with disappointment.
It's just not good enough.
While we have made a concerted effort to include a diverse range of nationalities, skill sets, and industries in our weekly profiles throughout the past year - we have not compiled a list that accurately reflects the cross section of talented people who are shaping the future of ecommerce.
Our industry has a unique and beautiful advantage in encouraging anyone and everyone to succeed, regardless of race, gender, creed or nationality.
All you need is $100, and unbridled passion to start your own online store.
Ecommerce software doesn't discriminate.
There's such a rich collection of incredibly inspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe, and we need to do a better job of sharing their stories with you.
Help us make our ecommerce profiles more diverse and representative
Obviously, we want each of our weekly profiles to reflect the diversity of our industry. But it's not a simple fix. As with any solution to any problem, those who care need to get proactive. So let’s get proactive!
I really want you to help me make our weekly ecommerce feature profiles better in 2017.
Instead of hand picking the finest minds in Gorilla's network and community - we want your advice and recommendations to find the best ecommerce experts from all across the globe.
There's one simple favour you can do for me after reading this article.
Tell me about the most inspirational person you've met in the ecommerce industry.
I'll bet there's a red hot chance it's not a white male.
Throw me a quick email on jamesd at gorilla360 dot com dot au, or DM me on Twitter. I really would love to hear from you, and we'll be sure to give you a good old back pat for your help.
Who knows, you might even make the 2017 list!
Make sure you subscribe for your weekly package of ecommerce helpfulness
If you haven't already - you need to subscribe for our weekly email package of ecommerce marketing learning. Included in this regular knowledge gift is a profile of a different ecommerce expert just like these ones.
We also collect all the most important online retail news, insights and advice into one must-read email.
Each Tuesday morning, you’ll be able to unwrap and read a bunch of little learning gifts including:
- A pick of the best new articles from our Ecommerce Jungle Gym online magazine
- The heads up on an influential online retail expert to follow on social media
- One innovative new online retailer to spark your marketing inspiration
- Three of the most important, must-read articles from around the web, hand picked to help you learn and succeed
- One super useful downloadable ecommerce marketing resource you and your team can use to improve your brand’s marketing program
So do your 2017 ecommerce career a favour.