Online shopping boomed during the pandemic, but “in boardrooms across the world” writes Dean McElwee, the shift was often viewed as a “temporary situation”. Not so. Many executives have been “caught unawares” by the lasting change, he says in his book Ecommerce for CEOs, and are only now coming to terms with the “altered reality”.

But that’s easier said than done when e-commerce had been kept as a side project by the bricks & mortar-minded top brass of businesses. Further, “in my experience”, McElwee notes, the ability of business leaders to understand and exploit the e-commerce boom has often been “inversely proportional to their seniority”.

McElwee’s book is here to help. And doubtless will.

The author knows his stuff, having worked in e-commerce leadership roles at Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and now Stanley Black & Decker. Crucially, he also knows his intended audience. They don’t need to know the technical nuts and bolts of how it all works, but just enough to interrogate their teams with appropriate questions and the impact of different approaches on the bottom line. The glossary of terms is comprehensive and particularly useful.

Beyond the primers of different components of e-commerce, there are chapters on how to measure performance and build an organisation ready to take on the online challenge.

CEOs might not want to display the book behind their big desks, but copies are sure to be covertly well-thumbed beneath the boardroom table.