The first half of 2020 saw an increase in e-commerce equivalent to that of the previous 10 years, and the shift to online retail is expected to stick beyond the coronavirus pandemic both in the B2B and B2C sectors.
The global B2C e-commerce market size was valued at 3.67 trillion in 2020 and estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7% from 2021 to 2028.
The pandemic brought new opportunities and a changed customer landscape for B2B marketers as well. The value of transactions through B2B digital sales channels jumped by 9.6% to $9.92 trillion in 2020 from $9.06 trillion in 2019.
As e-commerce sales continue to climb, digital business executives must check all the boxes to ensure they are taking advantage of the latest trends and technologies to enhance their online sales.
To notch up their performance, they can observe the strategies of other successful e-commerce leaders and take a page out of their books. Here is a list of top 20 figures who we believe are rewriting and will continue to rewrite the rules of the game in 2021:
Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy
Josh Silverman is the CEO of Etsy, a platform known for its independent artisans who offer a wide range of creative products. With him at the helm, Etsy’s full-year 2020 revenue reached $1.73 billion, up 111% year-over-year, while net income rose 264% to $349 million.
Silverman’s two decades of leadership experience include growing consumer technology companies and scaling global marketplaces.
His previous roles include president of consumer products and services at American Express, CEO of Skype, and CEO of shopping.com. He held various executive roles at eBay and is currently on the board of directors of Shake Shack.
In addition, he acts as the chairman of Code Nation, a non-profit that empowers students in under-resourced schools with fundamental coding skills and professional experiences.
Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon
Werner Vogels is the chief technology officer at Amazon in charge of driving technology innovation within the global e-commerce giant.
He studied computer science at The Hague University of Applied Sciences finishing in June 1989 and received a Ph.D. in computer science from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Vogels is one of the masterminds behind Amazon Web Services, the global cloud computing leader, and has helped turn it into Amazon’s biggest success.
It is true that the company’s e-commerce platform pulls in more full-year revenue than AWS—$340 billion compared to AWS’s $45.47 billion in 2019. However, AWS outperforms Amazon.com in terms of operating retail income, with AWS bringing in $13.5 billion to Amazon.com’s $9.37 billion in 2019.
And the platform, which turned 15 in March, isn’t finished growing, as Vogels said in a recent interview.
Neha Singh, CEO, Obsess
Neha Singh is the founder and CEO of Obsess, an augmented and virtual reality software platform for experiential shopping.
Her company is reinventing the e-commerce interface for discovery-driven product categories and pursues a mission to turn online shopping into an experience.
Their proprietary technology enables brands and retailers to serve 3D 360 shopping experiences on their websites, mobile apps, and social channels.
Before starting her journey to “replace the generic and tedious e-commerce user interface with visual, discovery-driven, immersive shopping experiences,” Singh launched web and mobile products reaching millions of users at Google and Vogue and evolved them to drive significant audience and revenue growth.
The clients of Obsess include Dior, Ralph Lauren, Charlotte Tilbury, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Sam’s Club, Party City, and Desigual.
Tarik Faouzi, Vice President, CloudBlue
Tarik Faouzi is the vice president of CloudBlue, an independent Ingram Micro business dedicated to helping service providers of all kinds build, scale, and monetize cloud and digital services in the as-a-service economy.
Faouzi, who has two decades of experience in the IT world, says he strives “to stay two steps ahead of the market by looking toward what’s next in cloud.”
Since joining Ingram Micro in 2014, his focus has been on defining and realizing the company’s cloud strategy, moving from inception to go-to-market for several launches.
He helped put Ingram Micro Cloud at the forefront of cloud-delivery innovation through developing a portfolio of cloud products and services in the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, increasing IaaS delivery among partners, and developing a proprietary CloudBlue hyperscale cloud-commerce platform.
Born and raised in Morocco, he has a bachelor’s degree from Pau University in Bayonne, France, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Esade Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Ashish Hemrajani is the CEO and co-founder of Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited, which operates BookMyShow, India’s largest online entertainment ticketing platform that offers tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sports games, and live events.
He started the company in 1999 and helped it survive through the dot-com bust in 2001 by selling the Vista ticketing software and providing back-end ticketing services to cinema theatres.
In 2007, seeing the growth in multiplexes and the increased credit/debit card penetration in the country, Hemrajani launched BookMyShow, which has expanded its operations to a number of other countries such as New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
Maria Luque, CEO, Fixme.es
As the co-founder and CEO of Fixme.es, Maria Luque is pursuing a vision to contribute to the world of wellbeing, which took center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under her direction, Fixme has become a popular platform for booking physiotherapy appointments and wellness treatments.
The startup is a portfolio company of TheVentureCity—an international, operator-led venture model designed to make the global entrepreneurial ecosystem more diverse, international, and accessible to capital.
Based in Madrid, Luque aspires to help professionals promote their services and have an online sales channel on Fixme while enabling customers to find the treatment they need wherever and whenever they want.
She is a “firm” believer that leveraging the power of digitalization would mean more people in the world have access to services that help them enjoy a high-quality life regardless of where they reside.
Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify
Harley Finkelstein is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the president of Shopify, an e-commerce platform provider that surged ahead of Royal Bank of Canada to become Canada’s most valuable publicly traded firm in 2020.
Finkelstein completed his law degree as well as his MBA at the University of Ottawa, where he co-founded the JD/MBA Student Society and the Canadian MBA Oath.
He is an advisor to Felicis Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in companies reinventing core markets, as well as those creating frontier technologies.
Under his watch, Finkelstein is building a more democratic e-commerce environment where even small and medium-sized businesses can create a unique space for themselves in a marketplace dominated by retail giants.
Finkelstein has received the Canadian Angel Investor of the Year Award and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award and has been inducted into the Order of Ottawa.
Rachael Corson, Co-Founding Managing Director, Afrocenchix
Rachael Corson is the managing director at Afrocenchix, a black-owned business “run by women that understand and care about those with Afro, tightly coiled, and curly hair.”
In 2010, she co-founded Afrocenchix with Joycelyn Mate, who cherishes an ambition to change the beauty landscape for people with Afro hair and darker skin tones by offering them a broad range of safe, effective, and natural products.
Thanks to their efforts and passion, Afrocenchix became the first product for afro hair in Whole Foods UK in 2017 and was voted BBFA Best Natural Hair Brand a year later. In 2018, they became part of the 0.003% of female black-owned businesses that raised funding.
Felipe S. Fernandes, Chief Commercial Officer, Talos Digital
Felipe S. Fernandes is the chief commercial officer at Talos Digital, a multi-award-winning company made up of a team of professional software developers that specializes in building B2C e-commerce sites.
A graduate of Boston University, he was recently named a Judge at Black Ambition, a non-profit initiative launched by musician Pharrell Williams that invests capital and resources in high-growth startups founded by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
Before joining Talos, Fernandes worked as director of Customer Success at Zello, where he launched and iterated on a Zello Early Warning System encompassing leading indicators to get ahead of account issues and reduce contraction/churn.
He is also the former co-founder of PaidUp, which was designed to help youth sports clubs stop “chasing” parents for payments, and held a number of roles at Mozido, Affinity Mobile, and Accenture.
Bernardine Wu, CEO, FitForCommerce
Fully aware of how overwhelming the digital commerce and omnichannel retail environment can be even for seasoned professionals, Bernardine Wu co-founded FitForCommerce to help companies of all shapes, sizes, and verticals build the right foundation, grow their existing business, and accelerate to the next level.
Bernardine has extensive business, finance, technology, and digital experience rooted in Wall Street and a successful history working in the retail and e-commerce industry for several high-profile companies.
She also co-founded The Innovation Office, the retail industry’s first innovation curation service, and SiteAcuity, a provider of online marketing and CRM software.
As president and COO at Venda, the first global SaaS e-commerce platform provider, she was instrumental in its launch and growth in North America. Bernardine is a speaker, writer, and thought leader for resources such as NRF/Shop.org, Internet Retailer, and Shoptalk.
Jeremy Hodara, Co-CEO, Jumia
Jeremy Hodara, a former senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, is the Co-CEO and founder of Jumia that is blazing the trail of e-commerce platforms in Africa.
Thanks to his vision, Jumia has empowered thousands of small, medium, and large African businesses through linking them with their potential market.
His company not only helps deliver innovative, convenient, and affordable online goods and services to consumers but is also creating new jobs and developing new skills on the continent.
There are over 110,000 thousand active sellers on Jumia and more than 40 million products, restaurants, and other services have been listed.
Faraz Khalid, CEO, Noon
Faraz Khalid serves as the CEO of Noon, which is on a mission to create world-class digital marketplaces for consumers and businesses across the Middle East.
Starting in 2017, the region’s homegrown e-commerce platform and leading online shopping destination, is now an ecosystem of services—all developed to help empower and inspire a generation of diverse, digital-first consumers and businesses.
Khalid is former co-founder and managing director of Namshi, the Middle East’s leading fashion online retailer, and holds an MBA from the Wharton Business School.
Drawing on his years of experience and hands-on knowledge in building, launching, and scaling successful e-commerce enterprises in the region, Faraz is leading a team of professionals who are the driving force behind the operations of Noon.
Charis Jones, CEO, Sassy Jones
A self-taught accessory designer, she wants to “sell confidence to women globally”. After leaving her position as a top-ranking corporate sales professional, she transformed Sassy Jones into a multi-million dollar accessories brand in just two years.
An expert in creating dedicated fans and profitable community building, she managed to maintain an impressive 76% 30-day customer return rate in 2018 and earned the title of Mogul of the Year in the same year.
She has credited her company’s growth to a shift away from trade shows to e-commerce as well as a focus on experience-based events and programming for VIP customers.
Demet Suzan Mutlu, CEO, Trendyol
Demet Suzan Mutlu is the founder and CEO of Trendyol, the largest e-commerce platform in Turkey, which offers products in a range of categories, including electronics, homeware, groceries, health, and jewelry.
There are 98,000 sellers on Trendyol, most of which are individuals and small businesses, and they sold 347 million products on the platform last year. It has over 19 million active customers and has been expanding into international markets.
Mutlu’s business prowess led to Alibaba, the global e-commerce giant, buying a majority stake in Trendyol at a reported enterprise value of $750 million.
Mutlu dropped out in her first year of Harvard to focus on her company and was named a Young Global Leader in 2016, which has been described as “the most exclusive private social network in the world.”
Nimesh Davé, President, Ingram Micro Cloud
A highly experienced multidisciplinary executive known for growing value by leading digital transformation, Nimesh Davé is the president of Ingram Micro Cloud—the world’s largest cloud marketplace and end-to-end commerce platform.
Known for his ability to negotiate win-win solutions and gain buy-in at all levels of the organization, Nimesh has a proven track record of effective transformations of company operations in over 60 countries and cultures.
Under his leadership, Ingram Micro Cloud has inked a multi-year agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The agreement will leverage Ingram Micro Cloud technology to help Amazon’s cloud service expand in new areas across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
According to a recent announcement, Ingram Micro Cloud will help AWS partners by scaling its solutions while continuing to build relationships with system integrator and reseller partners through its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) practice building methodology.
Hanif Sarangi is president of Phoenix Business Consulting, which is an SAP Gold Partner consulting firm. In addition to its ERP platform, SAP is one the world’s most popular software solutions for commerce companies.
Sarangi is a leading proponent and practitioner of SAP best practices and is responsible for developing and laying out the vision for the growth of the company.
He has extensive experience performing system reviews regarding the quality of software implementations, having worked in a number of different industries such as the public sector, manufacturing, oil and gas, banking, and pharmaceuticals.
As a Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Public Sector Integrator, and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Sarangi has managed audits for many organizations and has taught dozens of classes for SAP America, including the Public Sector classes, ASAP implementation approach, Manufacturing classes, Sales & Distribution Academy, and the Finance Academy.
Ellis McCue, CEO, Territory Foods
Ellis McCue, the CEO of Territory Foods, is leading a fresh food platform that offers a new take on the food preparation and distribution industry.
She became CEO in 2019 after being with the company for about two years and is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of Territory, which strives to create food experiences that empower customers to live a healthier life through nutritious and flavorful food, all crafted by a community of established chefs and prolific restaurants.
McCue describes herself as a “passionate executive and inspiring leader with a strong strategic, product and growth skill set, a background in finance, supply chain, and technology, and 10+ years of experience developing end-to-end growth strategies that evolve global businesses and drive innovation for CPG, food, high tech, and retail companies.”
She has been featured as a top 25 Consumer Health Tech Executive for her foundational work in the Food as Medicine space, and Territory has been named one of the top places for women to work in the U.S.
Before joining Territory, McCue led successful business strategies for major global companies such as Gap Inc. and Deloitte.
Chris Feng, CEO, Shopee
Chris Feng has been serving as the CEO of Shopee since 2015 and has helped turn it into a leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia.
As new opportunities are emerging in the region’s digital economy, Feng says their team remains “committed to strengthening support for brands to boost their online presence, drive sales, and serve consumers better”.
He is a native of Huai’an in the Chinese province of Jiangsu and attended the National University of Singapore to study computer science, and pursued further studies at Stanford University. He previously worked for a number of companies, including McKinsey and Rocket Internet.
Brent Bellm, CEO, BigCommerce
In his CEO role at BigCommerce, Brent Bellm has implemented a disruptive innovation strategy, transforming the company from a small business-focused solution to a leading open SaaS platform serving mid-market and large enterprise customers.
BigCommerce is now recognized as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave reports for B2C and B2B Commerce Suites and as one of 2019’s most successful companies in America by Inc. 5000. It serves over 60,000 online stores in more than 120 countries.
Prior to joining BigCommerce, Bellm acted as chief operating officer and president at HomeAway and also spent more than nine years serving in a variety of executive leadership positions at PayPal and eBay.
He holds a BA in international relations and economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Daniel Kerr, Owner, OpenCart
Daniel Kerr is the owner of OpenCart, an open-source online store management program that can manage multiple online stores from a single back-end.
With a wide range of features and over 14,000 additional extensions available to download, OpenCart calls itself “perfect” for e-commerce stores of any size, in any industry, and with any budget.
Kerr, who studied software engineering at Blackpool and The Fylde College in England, has managed to power over 342,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs all over the world, from corporations to local businesses, through his company.
He believes strongly in the power of community, and that is why OpenCart has dedicated forums where users can get community support from over 110,000 registered members and 550,000+ posts.
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company.