All The Right “Art Of War” Quotes To Apply To Your Ecommerce Business (Updated 2022)

Gain the tactical advantage by using age-old wisdom.

James Robson
May 24, 2022

For ecommerce businesses, 2020 marked a big change in the industry with the COVID-19 lockdown changing a lot of consumer behaviours and forecasting ecommerce payment transactions to exceed $7.5 trillion globally by 2026.

Fundamentally, this is all because people are spending significantly higher amounts of time at home. And with all that time can come some need-to-know ecommerce crazes such as the rise of the second hand clothing market (AKA “re-commerce”), e-scooters, and even grocery staples such as toiletries and non-perishable foods. 

Ever heard the saying that “it takes 30 days to break or build a habit”? Well, actually, according to Gemma Spence, OMGTransact, the ecommerce arm of Omnicom Media Group “we’ve found that it takes six weeks to make or break a habit. During the lockdown, there has been enough time”.

Well said Gemma – there was definitely enough time. 

So does that mean that ecommerce in its current mighty form is here to stay? 2020 and 2021 were bumper years for the sector and recent data fromForbes states that by the end of 2022,e-commerce will account for 20.4% of global retail sales, up from only 10% five years ago.


So the lesson here is that it’s not a flash-in-the-pan kind of scenario. Meaning that you’re going to want to know all the right strategies for your ecommerce business (either you’re just launching, or you’re already an ecommerce veteran).

But, ecommerce is a pretty brutal and competitive industry (we’re looking at you, Jeff), and how best to win a war than to learn from Sun Tzu,one of the greatest military minds and strategists ever known? You may have heard of his seminal book – the “Art of War” – which we think can bring some interesting insights for those operating in the 2022+ ecommerce space.

Sun Tzu Said:

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized"

Very true. Now this one is all about grabbing those timely and relevant opportunities for your ecommerce business as they present themselves. 

Timing is also about knowing your customers calendar. As reported by, big sales dates such as Black Friday can generate some of the highest selling date points in the calendar for ecommerce businesses.

Obviously Black Friday comes but once a year, however these days there are plenty of online shopping time-zones that you should be aware of (and even be looking to tailor your marketing strategies in line with).

Here’s some for 2022:


Sun Tzu also said:

"Those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take.”

Also very true. Now this one might seem a little obscure but stay with us – when it comes to ecommerce there is a pretty high likelihood that you’re not going to be the only business selling your product online.

With that being said, once you’ve gone to the effort of getting people onto your website, you do not then want to underestimate the importance of your product’s sales funnel.

As noted by Peter Pru, the founder of eCommerce Empire Builders, you need to experiment. Some of the highly successful ecommerce websites can look to go through at least fifty versions of sales funnels before getting the right one to bring you the conversions you need on your site.

For more on this, Crazyegg has a great article on structuring your sales funnel, managing your KPIs, and ultimately optimizing your ecommerce business’ performance.

“Know your enemy and know yourself.”

OK now, we’re not saying that your customers are your enemy, but you certainly need to know them as well as knowing yourself.

Knowing them really comes down to how well you’ve mapped out your Buyer Persona. We’re going to borrow HubSpot’s definition of a Buyer Persona here because they are really masters at this kind of thing:

“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”

- The People of HubSpot

It makes sense that, ultimately if you understand the:

  • Desires
  • Ambitions
  • Attributes
  • Buying power

Of your customers, then you’re going to be in a better position to tailor your offering to ensure higher conversions.

The best thing to understand buyer personas is to see a couple of good examples so check out this article to get an insight into 10 of them.

Final Sun Tzu piece of wisdom for today:

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple where the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.

Last but not least, a quote we can all get behind (similar to the old “fail to plan, plan to fail” mantra).

Aside from product sourcing & development, logistics, marketing, and many other things, successful ecommerce businesses need to be well-resourced in terms of finance.

So even if you’re not Jeff Bezos, these days ecommerce businesses are all the rage with online alternative funders and lenders looking to partner up with successful online retailers.

There are 4 key ways to fund an ecommerce business: ‘boostrapping’, business loans, venture capital, and ecommerce revenue shares. We’ll take a look at them and the pros and cons below:

Want some assistance?

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Former lawyer, now building the future of SME finance.