These Are the Top Ecommerce Community Thought Leaders in 2020

CM Commerce Team

The ecommerce community is growing constantly, and it’s full of brilliant minds. Through reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and learning from companies, we see just how ecommerce influencers impact their field and the ecommerce industry as a whole.

Read on to discover and learn from some of the top minds who power ecommerce development. These influencers of the ecommerce community pioneer new strategies and new best practices of tomorrow.

Seeing who they are, where they come from, and how they reached their status can help anyone get a better grasp on ecommerce and use that knowledge to better serve their own customers.

8 ecommerce community leaders and what makes them great

Beyond just ideas for ecommerce brands to inspire you, sometimes you need to see how real people succeed in the field.

Each of these influencers has had a different impact on the ecommerce community and a different journey to their position of influence. However, seeing what makes each one great will help you develop your own strategies for furthering your ecommerce efforts.

1. Hiten Shah

Selling isn’t always simple when your service is software. Hiten Shah co-founded not one, but two software as a service (SaaS) companies.

The first is Crazy Egg, an analytical resource that tells you where your website’s visitors are coming from and even where they’re navigating around your site once they get there. He’s also a mastermind behind KISSmetrics, a tool that turns data insights into actionable advice you can use to improve your business.

While his weekly newsletter is focused on SaaS products, his talks on Growth Hacking and The Startup Chat podcast provide a diverse array of information on all things entrepreneurial. There’s something for everyone, with a touch of humor thrown in.

Shah’s strength is that, while he keeps his focus on his own area of expertise, he helps translate his knowledge to any ecommerce entrepreneur who’s looking to learn more about how they can excel.

2. Neil Patel

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about one co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics without mentioning the other. Neil Patel is digital marketing royalty and, in addition to being one of the masterminds behind these two companies, he’s also behind Quick Sprout.

This resource combines actionable tips on how to grow your ecommerce presence, covering beginner tips on how to make a website all the way to advanced digital marketing advice on blog and email creation.

Neil makes the list because he knows that entrepreneurship isn’t just about mastering multiple techniques or authoring different types of content. He brings everything together and talks about what it means to think and live like an entrepreneur. As a testament to his mastery of the subject, he’s worked with companies like Amazon, HP, and GM.

3. Brian Dean

When you’re in the ecommerce community with the aim to learn more about reaching an audience, one topic you’re bound to hear about is SEO. Eighty-two percent of people report SEO is becoming more effective, while 42% report it’s becoming significantly more effective.

Though there are some common suggestions every marketer should know, Brian takes things a step further.

As the brain behind Backlinko, he helps teach others about what he calls the Skyscraper Technique. Essentially, this strategy teaches you to build on good content by growing it, then reaching out to those who may see value in it.

That’s a greatly simplified version because, simply put, Brian is an SEO expert. If you follow him on social media, you learn about that technique, along with other similar topics like link building and lead generation. He also throws in a lot of other insights helpful to general business growth and marketing, so any entrepreneur can benefit.

4. Rand Fishkin

Another mastermind of the SEO aspect of ecommerce, Rand Fishkin is connected to two of the field’s biggest and most helpful tools.

The first is Moz, a tool that provides SEO research insights, link ratings, website audits, and more. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also the co-founder of Growth Hub, formerly known as Inbound. This site constantly provides users a clear view of top-trending popular content on a variety of subjects.

Fishkin’s Twitter is similar in its approach. While there’s always a running theme of him demonstrating his authority in the field of ecommerce and online marketing simply from the knowledge he imparts, he’s vocal about a variety of subjects that pique his interest.

He’s a phenomenal influencer not just because of the knowledge he brings on his subject, but because his online presence feels candid, authentic, and real—he’s like the ecommerce coach you can sit down and talk with about anything.

5. Tobias Lütke

If you’re in the ecommerce community, it’s almost a guarantee you’ve heard of Shopify. Tobias Lütke is the CEO and founder. Sometimes it’s hard to believe such a massive tool for online marketing and business came from one person.

However, it’s probably fair to see Lütke isn’t a regular person. At least in the ecommerce community, he’s a brilliant mind. Thanks to a background as a developer, he brings a tech-focused perspective to these tools, which is critical for those who are trying to master commerce in the digital space.

He’s also a great leader, as evidenced by his CEO of the Year honors. Because he combines a technical mind with a personality that embodies guidance, he’s easily one of the top influencers in the ecommerce community.

If you’ve ever wanted to hear the more complex points of the field spoken about in everyday language, or if you’re just looking to hear the insights of an entertaining individual who constantly espouses actionable advice, he’s definitely someone to follow.

6. Marsha Collier

When you think about ecommerce, one of the main names that come to mind is eBay. With 182 million active buyers, plus over a billion listings, it’s a great place to do business, whether you’re an ecommerce newcomer, an expert, or somewhere in the middle.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the basics (and the more advanced) aspects of one of the world’s leading ecommerce sites, you should follow Marsha Collier.

Her website Cool eBay Tools is exactly what it sounds like. She offers tools like free forms, an HTML generator for listing descriptions, and even a fee calculator. There are also tons of tips and even a blog that covers everything from SEO to social media marketing to customer service. She even offers consultation appointments.

Another ecommerce community influencer who knows their specialty but diversifies their offerings, Marsha has the insights and variety to keep any inquiring e-commerce mind engaged.

7. Andrew Youderian

There’s something authentic about learning a topic from someone who learned by doing. It’s one thing to teach from a curriculum, but it’s another to teach from experience. Youderian’s journey from an upstart ecommerce entrepreneur paid off.

After ditching a corporate job to become an online merchant, he spent four years learning the industry and perfecting his techniques. Now you can learn them too, thanks to his exclusive online community, eCommerceFuel.

While membership is issued on a tightly maintained selection basis, the insights are worth it. These are the techniques used by seven-figure store owners to become top choices for customers around the world.

The biggest perk of following him is that he’s been there. It can be frustrating sometimes for upstart ecommerce sellers to hear experts talk about their success and how easy it is to achieve if you just do the right things. Youderian doesn’t just talk a strong game—he’s gone through the journey himself, so he’s a relatable figure.

8. Richard Lazazzera

This former Shopify employee was coming from an ecommerce background when he founded A Better Lemonade Stand. With a name like that, which puts a clever twist on ecommerce’s growing popularity, it’s hard not to click and see what he has to offer.

Once you do, you’ll find tons of great tips inside that’ll aid you in growing your ecommerce presence. From resource-packed articles to step-by-step case studies and even video training courses, this site is loaded with nearly every type of resource you could ask for.

This self-described incubator for online ecommerce professionals functions as a combination of a resource and a community. The reason why Lazazzera is such a great influencer to follow is that he knows that resources alone aren’t enough.

People may be empowered by information, but they’re inspired by other people. Those who’ve used A Better Lemonade Stand can testify to its usefulness, and help other aspiring professionals gain the same advantages for their own businesses.

Wrap up

There are a lot of things that go into a successful ecommerce business. Likewise, an influencer has to be equally versatile.

It’s not enough to be a brilliant mind or a successful businessperson. To wrap up, an influencer generally has the following qualities:

  • Mastery in a specific area of business or marketing
  • A flow of content that focuses on that specialty, along with closely related topics for variety
  • An approachable nature that makes them easy to follow and communicate with

These are the things that make a great influencer in 2019. Which influencers have helped you the most, and who do you think will provide insights for the ecommerce field in 2020?

When you’re looking to become an ecommerce entrepreneur, you need to follow the right people. You also need to know where to invest your energy and resources. Focus on these three areas to give yourself an advantage while doing business in the digital landscape.