The History Of Ecommerce

Putting your business online is the latest way for you to become successful. For the first time ever online sales over took those of the high street with total sales worth 31.5 Billion. So if you are not trying to take advantage of this then you are missing out on the chance of growth. By using the online community you can connect to over 2.3 billion people that are all willing to buy your products if you have what they want.

This is what ecommerce is all about. It is the buying and selling of products over the internet. The world’s first online shop was created in 1979 by Michael Aldrich and then 2 years later Thomson Holidays UK becomes the first Business-to-Business (B2B) online shopping company. These were the origins of ecommerce and people began trading over different networks as the internet had not been invented yet. In 1984 Tesco became the first Business-to-Customer (B2C) online and Mrs Snowball becomes the world’s first online home shopper. This is when ecommerce took off as people could now shop from home online if they had a computer although these were rare. Over the next few years businesses began using networks to their advantage and in 1990 the internet was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. It then took 2 years for the first graphical, fully iconic navigated online shop which was invented by Terry Brownlee. As years went by more online shops developed and different browsers developed which open different opportunities to people. In 1994 Pizza Hut began offering online ordering for its food and magazine companies began offering online subscriptions which became a huge success.

In 1995 a huge step was taken towards what we have today as CompuServe let WH Smith complete the first online secure transaction which was by Paul Stanfield who brought a book. Although this may not seem huge it enabled companies to begin making secure payments without the risk of fraud and losing out on money. As well as this CompuServe became the first national online shopping service for the UK and this service feature companies like WH Smith, Tesco and Virgin. As well as this in this year Amazon was launched as were the first 24 hour fully online radio stations which were called Radio HK and Net radio. Soon after this happen eBay was founded making 1995 a big year for the ecommerce that be now have today.

In 1998 PayPal was founded and from then secure transactions online become even more secure. This is still used today and is the biggest payment transaction website in the world. Electronic postage stamps became available during this year as well and with these you would just simply print them off and use them. Then in 1999 media sharing website Napster was launched and this was one the biggest innovations for online media ecommerce. 3 years after this eBay took a huge step in its future by acquiring PayPal for a reported $1.5 Billion and this began the link between the two services.

In 2003 Amazon recorded its first yearly profits and it was an example how the internet had finally become a source of profit for businesses. From here other businesses began to take note that they could become successful from using the internet. Internet sales for that year topped £30bn in the USA who were the main users of online shopping during that time.

Since then ecommerce has grown significantly and is the most important thing for many businesses. Ecommerce also enables anyone to start and run a successful business from their own home.

Key Milestones in the History of Ecommerce

The history of e commerce is nothing else but captivating. It is true that e commerce has come a long way and is unthinkable without the internet and the search engines. No wonder history of e commerce has gone through an interesting metamorphosis, from an unheard of entity in the ’70s’ to the booming multibillion-dollar enterprise it is today. It has come well in handy especially in assisting today’s tech savvy businessman/woman who wants to work from the comfort of home. The term ‘e commerce’ is coined from Electronic Data Transfer (EDT) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), the then only forms of electronic transactions in the 1970s.

In 1982 and throughout the 1980s, several online market places were started. Websites were designed and hosted and there was an increased proliferation of credit cards, ATMs, and telephone banking services. All these marked a major milestone in the evolution of the history of e commerce. Used computer parts were advertised and sold through e commerce from places as far as the Boston computer exchange market, to other parts of the world.

Come the mid-nineties and this marked a key point in the history of e commerce as the technology exploded. This period saw the designing and hosting of the first static web page. This was a website that linked individuals, organizations, and even governments to the global online market that the economic world had started to evolve into. This was the turning point of the history of e commerce where, in hindsight, electronic transactions went past the point of no return since then. E commerce was giving other manual and cumbersome marketing initiatives a wide berth and they had no choice other than to bow out. With the turning of the millennium in early 200, simplistic e commerce websites were designed by the then major computer software manufacturers.

This, by far, eased the sale of their software, music and videos could be uploaded and downloaded by anyone who met the subscription criteria. The financial industry analysts called it the economical boom of all time. Internet use exploded and the world was turned into one global e-market. Services and products sales grew by the hour. People in developed countries quit going to work daily and started working from home. Since e commerce minted money by the hour, affluent households increased and thus increased the demand for expensive products and services to cater for the whims of the affluent.

Within duration of one year (2000-2001) sales from e commerce soared with the developed countries in the lead, from a paltry figure of tens of billions to over seven hundred billion US dollars worth of total sales from e commerce recorded. The net worth of the affluent households rose, jobs were created, and the whole global economy improved. Almost ten years later (2000-2009), e commerce is today virtually indispensable. Services and products have to be promoted through e commerce.

The health of the world economic giants and the economical pathfinders heavily rests on e commerce. Companies continue to post profit returns that are beyond any CEO’s wildest dreams. E commerce sales have continued to grow and today, they account for close to 5% of total sales, globally and this figure seems to be rising almost by the hour. Thanks to the history of e commerce, it is now the stress-free electronic transaction choice of all time and the global economy heavily depends on e commerce that is only a click of a button away and so user and consumer friendly.

Ecommerce and Its Evolution Into Mobility

Ten years ago ecommerce was still a cool buzzword that everyone wanted to try, but at that early point it was largely limited to the Business-2-Business world. The use of personal computers, mobile phones and the internet was still experiencing its first period of growth, so the average person sitting in front of their behemoth CRT monitor hadn’t grasped the potential of the web quite yet.

It didn’t take long though. Soon companies selling anything from sock puppets to toothbrushes at unbelievably low prices were popping up all over the place. Beady eyed investors saw the potential in dot-coms: little overhead and massive profit. The credit industry chimed in with low interest rates and blanket application acceptances, knowing there was money to be made. Unfortunately and predictably, the house of cards fell. Dot-coms were collapsing by the dozens and investors saw billions of dollars seemingly evaporate into thin air within a very short period.

Since that dark period in the early history of ecommerce, there have been countless research studies conducted in an effort to answer the desperate whys and how’s being screamed from bankruptcy courts around the nation. By now we have all heard the answer explained in long winded speeches about boom and bust cycles etc. In the end the collapse of the bubble was the inevitable outcome of greed on a massive scale, more specifically, unchecked greed with few security protocols and no governing body.

The birth of the 1990’s brought a wider availability of personal computers and the internet, but the 21st century brought mobility to the internet. According to CTIA the Wireless Association, there were just over 109 million mobile phone users in the US in 2000, that’s 38% of the population. Of course at that point the smartphone was clunky and fairly unusable so few people owned one. Eight years later the number of mobile phone users more than doubled to 262 million, 85% of the population. Now the Neilson Company predicts by the end of 2011 at least 49% of Americans will have a smartphone and 51% will still be using their feature phone (out of the 96% of the population that uses a mobile device).

Between 2000 and 2011 there has been an about-face on the part of ecommerce. Security platforms have become more stable and widely used so trust has now been built. User interfaces evolved into dynamic places where visitors felt both stimulated to buy, yet secure in handing over credit information. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley has amalgamated data from Japan that shows online commerce and paid services accounted for a whopping 32% of mobile revenue in 2008. We all know technology progresses faster than the Roadrunner, and we are equally aware that Japan and China are usually the first to set trends in technology. That begs the question, has the west fully realized the potential of ecommerce yet? Or are we still remembering the chaos of the 90’s?

The same report by Mary Meeker, dubbed the Queen of the Internet by Baron’s magazine in 1998, shows North American and European nations use of ecommerce on a mobile platform accounts for less than 14% of mobile revenue (2008). Are we still scared? No, we are being gouged. North Americans have some of the highest mobile phone bills in the world. Canada in particular generates an average of $55 revenue per user per month; the US isn’t much better sitting at $48. India is the most fortunate; making the phone companies about $5 per user per month.

Mobile ecommerce is the future; there is no doubt about it. For the average North American the ability to buy almost anything with a smartphone is far too convenient to give up simply because our data plan sucks. We may not spend as much as the Japanese, but we sure know the value of ecommerce. Then again, as humans we are cursed with the innate habit of reacting to the here and now. The bill is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. We are also experts at rationalization. The value of using an internet fax service to send a document to a client via your smartphone far outweighs the value of physically delivering it. The flexibility and potential of the smartphone and ecommerce has placed a much higher value on time. What we choose to do with that time saved is the subject of a whole other article.