Hello World! Welcome Friends! While eCommerce is now a major shopping venue for all kinds of goods and services, this is a very recent development. The proliferation of online shopping over the past few years has led to a sort of snowball effect, causing business to grow at a healthy pace—one estimated by the National Retail Federation to be between 8 and 12% for 2017. More than few paradigm shifts have accompanied this rapid growth. Consider these five times eCommerce changed everything, on its path to becoming the massive, global industry we know today.
1. The First Product Is Bought Online
There’s some debate about the first “true” eCommerce transaction. Most experts agree it was the sale of a CD of Sting’s album, “Ten Summoner’s Tales” on Net Market. Remarkably, only a few months prior, TV personality Katie Couric famously asked on the “Today Show”; “What is the Internet, anyway?” While most people were still unsure about the nature of the Internet—much less capable of seeing its potential future applications—some enterprising people saw the implications of online retail way back in 1994.
2. eBay Creates a Sprawling Online Marketplace
As a result, eCommerce giant eBay was founded a short time later in 1995. While today, we’re totally used to the luxury of sites like eBay, in the mid-1990s, this was a revolutionary development. For the first time, people with access to the Internet could participate in peer-to-peer online auctions. eBay, along with Amazon’s book-selling platform, which emerged around the same time, were the first two sites to seize a substantial market share of online shopping. Today, both companies are still finding novel ways to connect customers with products.
3. Individuals Are Given eCommerce Autonomy
It took another decade, but eventually other companies began realizing there was a market for helping individuals and brands create their own eCommerce sites. Today, people can do an enterprise eCommerce solutions comparison to find the best platform for their specific situation. Brands and eCommerce store owners can now create highly customizable sites that highlight their products, while also providing insights.
4. Drop Shipping Lowers Barriers to Entry
One major roadblock has traditionally kept people out of brick and mortar retail: capital. It can cost a lot of money to open a store and stock it. When eCommerce came along, it opened up opportunities for a lot of people, as they were freed of the costs of a physical storefront, though they still had to maintain inventory. But even this can require a decent amount of upfront money. Drop shipping emerged to allow eCommerce store owners to operate without an inventory, as products are sent directly from wholesalers and manufacturers to consumers. While margins are typically lower, this has opened the possibilities of entrepreneurship to many more people.
5. Amazon Tests Drone Delivery
While it has yet to play a huge role, Amazon’s first Prime Air delivery in December 2016 is indicative of the next shift in the industry. Autonomous delivery is the way of the future and Amazon is trying to establish itself as the dominant player. The capability of ordering something and having it delivered to your door within the same day—maybe even the same hour—will completely change shopping forever. Whether conducted by self-driving cars or pilotless drones, this is poised to be the next major step in eCommerce.
In the span of most of our lifetimes, online shopping has evolved from a completely foreign concept to a major force in retailing. These five times eCommerce changed everything showcase how significantly the industry has evolved since that first CD was sold.
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