5 Lessons From Westeros: What Game Of Thrones Teaches Us About E-Commerce

HBO’s hit series Game Of Thrones has become a contemporary cultural touchstone. Many of us can identify with what we’ve seen over the past four-and-a-half seasons. Those of us working in e-commerce can pick up some valuable points from all of the intrigues and conflicts on display in Westeros. (We’ll do our best to avoid spoiling the latest episodes below!)

Game of Thrones - HBO

  1. Familiarity Breeds Trust

Eddard Stark’s time on screen was all too brief, but he did pass on some vital advice to his son Robb: “Don’t ask [your men] to die for a stranger.” We can apply this same principle to online customers. Consumers feel more comfortable buying from people they know. Connecting on a personal level leads to increased sales and more repeat business. A good e-commerce marketing campaign should reveal plenty of intimate details and humanize the seller in the buyer’s eyes.

  1. Marketing Strategies Can Die Sudden Deaths

Speaking of the Stark family, they’ve had quite the high mortality rate over the course of the series. We should expect marketing strategies to die the way Starks do. The strongest and most powerful of them are sometimes cut down without warning. Remember that the Stark girls, Arya and Sansa, have survived, though. Few other characters know they’re alive, but they still have vital roles to play. The lesson here is that a little-used marketing technique can climb to prominence again. Westeros is full of underdogs who are down but not out.

  1. Patience Is A Virtue – And A Survival Strategy!

The most successful characters playing the game of thrones are those who exhibit patience. Varys the spymaster and Lord Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) have been weaving subtle plots since the very first episode, and they’re in no hurry to see them pay off. This may be why they’re still in the game while more impatient characters have failed (and paid with their lives). E-commerce is not as lethal as the court at King’s Landing, but it does reward careful strategy and patience.

  1. Betrayal Is Not Forgotten

The most shocking event we’ve seen in Game of Thrones so far is undoubtedly the Red Wedding. There are many lessons to take from this terrible betrayal, and the most prominent is just how important trust is. The rules of hospitality are ironclad in Westeros, and no one would expect to find danger at a wedding feast. Walder Frey betrayed his guests for short-term gain, but he’s now reviled by friends and enemies alike. We need to hold our customers’ trust as sacred if we expect them to do business with us.

  1. Keep People Happy By Listening To Them

In the last two seasons Daenerys Targaryen has settled into Meereen to free slaves and rule an uneasy people. In e-commerce terms, she’s found her niche. The struggles she’s experiencing in ruling teach us an important lesson: Give your customers what they want. Daenerys’s attempts to bend her subjects to her own will only breed violence and rebellion; the only way she can rule in peace is to respect the wishes of the people.

These are just a few of the insights Game of Thrones sheds on the world of e-commerce. Succeeding in the online business world requires little swordplay, but intelligence, subtlety, and dedication will always be rewarded.


Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your online order fulfillment needs to further your success.


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