Ecommerce and startup related books worth reading for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to make money selling on eBay.
Customers love having multiple contact channels, they expect you to wow, amaze and delight them and they genuinely enjoy talking to your customer service reps. Right? Wrong! This well-researched and well-written book proves just how little we know about today’s customers’ expectations.
Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares : Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Rapid Customer Growth
A surprisingly practical and useful book! I have never quite seen a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs that would contain so much advice you can act on immediately (along the lines of “contact no less than four local newspapers.”) Definitely worth reading if you need some help promoting your online business.
Tony Hsieh : Delivering Happiness
Not many ecommerce businesses can boast cult-like following! Sellers and buyers alike are often openly hostile towards the likes of eBay and Amazon even if they make their living thanks to them. This is not the case of Zappos which seems to be positively adored by its buyers and partners alike. In this book the charismatic Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explains how and why he entered into ecommerce in the first place and then, how he made the company obsess about delivering world’s best customer service. The book is funny and entertaining and leaves you with some ideas to ponder about.
This story on Amazon reads like a thriller and is positively scary! It won’t teach you how to create a sustainable business but if you sell on Amazon it will definitely show you the ruthlessness of the company you’re dealing with. Humiliating negotiation methods, employees weeping during meetings, competitors first forced to engage in a price war and then swallowed by the ever-growing encumbent – it’s all there.
Liu Shiying, Martha Avery : alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma and the Creation of the World’s Biggest Online Marketplace
The book is sort of hagiographic and not necessarily very well written. It tells a moving story of a self-made man of poor origins who fought against uncountable obstacles, taught himself all he knows, found inspiration in Chinese philosophy and martial arts and finally won against all the bad guys in town. I found the chapter on Taobao driving eBay out of China quite entertaining.
Ben McConnell, Jackie Huba : Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force
Very instructive case studies. The book is becoming a bit old so all that’s related to the internet and social media is really outdated but most of the other advice remains true.
Victoria Wells : Common Sense Customer Service: Improve Your Job Skills & Provide A Great Customer Experience
Practical, useful and really common sense. You should have your customer service reps read it.
Joseph Michelli : The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW
I loved this book so much I must have read it three times. It’s full of genuine enthusiasm for providing excellent customer service, creating a compelling company culture or implementing a useful employee training program – stuff that you don’t usually get too enthusiastic about. It would make anyone want to work as a customer service manager to be able to bring to life all the wonderful advice it provides.
DJ Waldow, Jason Falls : The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win
Do people still read emails? Is email marketing still worth bothering in the era where most young people find an average tweet too long to read it till the end? Apparently it is! Email marketing is still the marketing channel with the best ROI – in most cases it costs nothing at all – and relatively not-that-time consuming – it takes less time to find new customers with a catchy email than with content marketing or SEO. The authors are very convincing in proving that any ecommerce business can make email marketing work for them.
Adam Cohen : The Perfect Store: Inside eBay
I must say I was saddened by this book although it’s by all means a good read. It starts out as this great motivational story about a young idealist (sporting a ponytail!) of immigrant origin creating an ideal marketplace from his bedroom. The first hires and the first customers love the company, it grows organically and attracts ever more idealists, both young and old, who believe in its mission. However, at some point the company goes corporate and heartless and makes you regret that it’s moved so far from its humble origins (in a “I wish I had been there at the beginning” way). It’s still reassuring to know that eBay at least started with an idea to help humanity in mind unlike some of their competitors whose mission from the beginning seemed to be to overtake the world.