Ecommerce or electronic commerce refers to buying and selling of products and different items online.
However, ecommerce is not limited to closing sales and making purchases on the internet, but it can also include other activities, such as online ticketing, internet banking, payment gateways, and online auctions.
According to industry experts, ecommerce is the most preferred method of shopping in the US, China, and Europe.
In this short article, we will primarily talk about ecommerce as a system for buying and selling online.
A Brief History of Ecommerce
Ecommerce, as we know it today, has greatly evolved from what it used to be. The history of ecommerce is closely related to the history of the internet.
Before the advent of the internet, products could only be bought at physical stores, but that all changed when the internet was introduced to the public in 1991.
Records show that Amazon was one of the first ecommerce sites in the US. It began selling products online to consumers, and in no time, thousands of other ecommerce sites sprung up.
Amazon may have been the first ecommerce site, but it sure did not invent online shopping. As it turns out, Michael Alrich pioneered online shopping in 1979.
He used a telephone line to connect a modified domestic television to a real-time multi-user transaction processing computer.
The 1990s saw ecommerce gaining momentum. The very first secure online purchases were made in that decade, two of which were a Sting CD sold by a US retailer and a pizza from Pizza Hut.
The ecommerce industry has grown significantly from that moment forward, and in 1996, Dell closed an online sale of a whopping $1 million in a single day.
With the introduction of broadband in the early 2000s, more Americans had permanent access to the internet in their homes. That made online shopping a better option for the majority of people because it was easier, and it could be done from the comfort of their homes.
Fast forward to the 2010s, and the trend of online shopping has grown tremendously. With the introduction of smartphones, online shopping can now be done by anyone and from anywhere. Recent studies have shown that 8 out of 10 Americans are online shoppers today.
Social media has also made it easy for brands to reach more consumers online. Facebook alone has 1.59 billion active users each month. This social media platform allows brands to market their products or services to a large number of consumers.
It also makes the process of online selling easier for businesses. A potential customer only needs to click on a brand’s post and can place an order on the spot without being redirected to the brand’s online store.
When one considers how ecommerce has grown over the years and how widely accepted it is today, it becomes clear that the future of shopping is digital. Yes, physical stores are still very much around, but they may become less popular in the future.