19 eCommerce Quotes from the Most Successful People in the Industry


People who are successful in business especially in eCommerce need a certain kind of drive. But for people who have been selling online for years and are jaded or for people who are just starting out, the key word is claiming or reclaiming your MOJO. For those of you who do not know what mojo is,  according to the Urban Dictionary, it means ‘..personal confidence and charisma..’ Mojo also means magic or charm and that is what success in eCommerce takes, but in order to exude confidence and charisma and give your products a magical allure and charm, you need motivation! A businessman without motivation is like a king without a nation, a flowerless bouquet, a computer with no internet. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and read this collection of motivational quotes I put together for you. They were said and written by the world’s most successful eCommerce powerhouses and businessmen and women of today.

Purely Motivational Quotes

#19: Estée Lauder Founder, Estée Lauder

“Trust your instincts.”

When it comes to commerce in general and eCommerce in particular, killer instincts are crucial. Who knows this better than Estee Lauder who started out as a nobody from Queens and built a cosmetics empire, retiring with a fortune of $5 billion according to Fortune magazine. When running a successful e-business, you must rely on your own instincts and no one else’s!

Estée Lauder ecommerce quote

#18: Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”

This may sound counterintuitive but is entirely true. The best way to build a client base is to have a vision and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Let’s say you are selling clothing and are very interested in this field. You should turn yourself into an online fashion guru and clients will follow suit. People will want to buy from you as you  build up trust in yourself as a brand and as an authority. Do keep in mind though that this is a long process that you need a lot of patience for and there is always a chance that you may not peak in the end.

Tony Hsieh ecommerce quote

#17: Larry Page, co-founder of Google

“Always deliver more than expected.”

A smart eCommerce retailer once told me that if you always give a customer exactly what they paid for, they will more often than not be dissatisfied. People today want more:

  • Service
  • Attention to detail
  • In terms of quality

Always aim to be better than your best self!

Larry Page ecommerce quote

#16: Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

We want eCommerce especially when people are shopping from our store and buying our product to have a seamless and enjoyable experience. The more people feel at ease the more they shop, that is why shopping malls are planned in such a pleasant way. Also, as the ‘host’ as Mr. Bezos calls retailers we need to ensure that:

  • Customers get what they paid for in a timely fashion
  • Are satisfied and know how to operate our products
  • Are updated at every point of the purchase and shipping process
Jeff Bezos ecommerce quote

#15: Bob Willett, former President of Best Buy International

“The sooner we drop the ‘e’ out of ‘e-commerce’ and just call it commerce, the better.”

Mr. Willett here has a very valid point. Sometimes people put eCommerce in a totally separate category than commerce but truth be told they are one and the same. This idea can be helpful to newcomers who feel daunted by the term ‘eCommerce’. The same principles apply here as they do with bricks & mortar stores, in an oversimplification, eCommerce is like a store with:

  • No opening and closing times
  • An extensive and varied international customer base
  • A multitude of advertising options
Bob Willett ecommerce quote

Customer Service and Communications Quotes

#14: Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard

“Communication is at the heart of e-commerce and community.”

Communication is of the essence in eCommerce. You want to keep your customer’s in the know about everything from the origin of your product right down to the day when their purchase will arrive. Communication can solve so many of the misunderstandings which develop later on and can save you a headache as well as potentially receiving negative feedback/ratings.

Meg Whitman ecommerce quote

#13: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

Here is another Jeff Bezos quote, this man has a lot to say and for good reason. Some people dub him ‘the king of eCommerce’, as the founder of Amazon and with a mind-boggling net worth of $112 billion, he is the richest man in the world according to Forbes!

In this quote, he is basically saying don’t base your business or strategy on your competition rather focus on your customer and what they want. Mr. Bezos was the one to identify a real customer driven need for an online marketplace such as Amazon, he did not start his business in order to compete with eBay for example. On this note, consider doing something your customers desire for example maybe there is a real need for you to provide your items in a specific color and nobody else is doing this.

Bottom line: Make decisions based on customer demand and need and not your competition

#12: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company”

This statement may seem a bit extreme but it is very true. Many people compartmentalise and say that only one part of their business pertains to customer service. Instead, consider a more holistic approach whereby everything you do stems from a mindset of serving your clients as best as you can. This shift can make a big difference in customer satisfaction and retention.

Brand Identity Quotes

#11: Seth Godin, Founder of Squidoo.com, former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!

“The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”

This quote talks about added value or what I call ‘perceived added value’. Ever wonder why some watches cost $300 and others cost $10,000 !? Yes, some watches have better craftsmanship or are made of more precious materials but these factors have a limit to how much they can contribute to the intrinsic value of a product. Items or in this case watches which go for exorbitant amounts have ‘perceived added value’ which is a direct product of brand identity. In this case people want to buy into the brand, the family, the story and could care less about the price tag. Think about that when you plan your next online campaign for a product.

seth godin ecommerce quote

#10: Steve Jobs

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

Create a brand which sticks out . Don’t just follow the herd. Think outside the box and lead your industry. Sell products nobody is selling. Charter into unknown territory and waters. Bring something genuinely unique to the table and you will be handsomely rewarded by markets and by your customers.

steve jobs ecommerce quote

#9: Neil Patel, co-founder of CrazyEgg

“Create content that teaches. You can’t give up. You need to be consistently awesome.”

Content is supremely important to brand identity. Content is the story behind your products. Yes, people pay for a physical product. But more so, people pay to be told a wonderful story and to become a part of that narrative.

Advertising and Driving Traffic Quotes

#8: Paul Graham, Y COMBINATOR

“You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there and drag them back to your store.”

This is true with eCommerce and with any commerce for that matter. You need to make sure customers know you and your products exist. I’m not sure if I would “drag them back to my store” but Mr. Graham does get points for illustrating his idea graphically.

You need to advertise:

Paul Graham ecommerce quote

#7: Joel Anderson, CEO, Walmart

“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.”

Creating traffic seems a bit impossible since you can’t make customers appear out of thin air. But in this case what I think Mr. Anderson means is that some products are put down by big corporations as lacking a target audience. In recent years new audiences that many people didn’t even know existed were discovered. A good example is boxed wine which Walmart sells or even Airbnb (whose founder is coming up on our list of quotes) Once this product and service succeeded, questions such as ‘Who would drink wine out of a box?’ and ‘Why would someone want to sleep in another person’s apartment where they have no privacy ?’ disappeared into thin air.

Joel Anderson ecommerce quote

#6: Tod Turner, CEO of LINQware Inc.

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise”

Tod Turner is not subtle at all, to say the least but his takeoff on this popular adage drives his point home. You can work as hard as you want but if you do not advertise people will not know you exist and ultimately your chances for success will be diminished.

Practical Optimization Quotes

#5: Jonathan Midenhall, CMO of Airbnb

“Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer”

I actually love this quote since this was part of our original strategy when we first got started on eBay. We were selling GPS systems in Australia and we would get tons of messages asking if our system included a map of the Down Under. We explicitly wrote this in our description but people were still asking this question. We decided to put up a picture of our GPS with a map of Australia and the results were phenomenal – our sales doubled and tripled and the amount of inquiries about this issue decreased significantly. This is just one example of how listening to your customer can benefit your business.

Jonathan Midenhall ecommerce quote

#4: Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Continuing with the theme of customer based learning and optimization, turn your worst ‘enemies’ into your best friends. If someone who purchased an item from you was so unhappy that they took the time out to write a negative review than you are doing something wrong. Pinpoint your achilles heel and turn your weakness into your strength.

bill gates ecommerce quote

#3: Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios

“When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customer says it, it’s social proof”

This is a very true statement and ‘social proof’ is key to successfully selling products online. Peer to peer reviews are a major deciding factor on whether or not a person will make a purchase. Use customer testimonials on your own retail website as well as in quotes on eCommerce websites.

Andy Crestodina ecommerce quote

#2: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“Data data data, I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Admittedly, Sir Doyle is a bit ancient but he makes a helluva point. The only way one can really optimize their listings is by being data driven. There are many tools out there both internally on eCommerce websites as well as third party services which offer this kind of feedback loop. Data will help you identify which are your winning horses and where you can stand to improve. Data is the eCommerce bible.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ecommerce quotes

#1: Carl Gustav Jung, adopted by myself

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do”

Whether you start a small eCommerce business, manage the eCommerce operations of a large enterprise or start any sort of venture, you are always judged by your actions, not words.

As small retailer A LOT rests on your shoulders and your actions will determine the direction of your business. Words mean very little at such a stage, you have to be a doer to get on the success path with your business.

It’s hard, time-consuming and full of obstacles but there is no other way to achieve success.

Summing it up

I hope that by now you have finished your coffee and have regained at least some of your mojo. These quotes were meant to be both inspirational and informative. I truly hope that some of the ideas and sentiments I touched on here will be a catalyzer for positive action in your daily pursuit of excellence in the field of eCommerce. Please comment below with encouraging eCommerce stories and the things that help give you the energy to keep on going.

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