You probably think that E-commerce has started not a long time ago, but actually, it has been here for a while and has a long history. Day by day, e-commerce keeps growing, offering better solutions and opportunities to the businesses. At the same time, for consumers, online shopping makes it way easier to purchase a product without going out. However, not many people know how e-commerce was established and made profitable through this fantastic platform; that’s why today we will look back at the history of e-commerce and how e-business evolved.
What is E-commerce?
E-commerce (“Electronic commerce”) is “the process of buying, selling, transferring or exchanging products, services and information via computer networks, mostly Internet and intranets” (Turban at el., 2011). There are a lot of words that people are using as synonyms to e-commerce: e-business, online shopping, or online store.
However, e-business is not totally the same as e-commerce. E-commerce is a part of E-business, while other parts like customer service, collaboration with business partners, online learning and e-transactions (“electronic transactions”) are also involved in it.
The Evolution of E-commerce
The first time when e-commerce occurred was in the 1960s; however, it was a little bit different from what we have now. In the beginning, it was called Electronic Data Exchange (EDI), it provides the ability to exchange business documents within various businesses’ computers (Turban et al., 2011). The most common types of materials that were exchanged through EDI were purchase orders and invoices. ARPANET was the first network, that was created to connect computers via telephone lines for research purposes. ARPANET was the first one who uses TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which is the standard protocol for the Internet today.
With an advance in technology, the two-may message service Videotext was implemented in 1970. After nine years, the teleshopping concept was created by Michael Aldrich, which allows online shopping between business and customers (B2C) along with between companies and companies (B2B). The same year in the USA, the two new platforms CompuServe and The Source have entered the market, allowing online shopping. After that, in 1981, Thomas Holidays has created the first B2B online shopping system in the UK. While in 1982, in France the online service Minitel has debuted offering the ability to make online purchases, check market share, search telephone directories and chat.
Another person, who brought a significant contribution to e-commerce is Tim Berners-Lee, who created WorldWideWeb, which make it possible for users to view the Web on computers. Four years after that, Netscape Navigator web browser was implemented with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, that make online transaction encrypted and secure. And in 1995, Amazon by Jeff Bezos was finally created and changed the whole online shopping experience.
E-commerce in 2020
Initially, Amazon was an online bookstore, and eventually, it becomes an online store, where you can buy everything literally: clothes, electronics, food, toys, books, beauty items and so on. Today Amazon is considered as one of the biggest online retailers that probably everyone knows.
The second biggest online store that comes to mind is eBay that was founded two months later after Amazon and was founded by Pierre Omidyar. Usually, when people cannot find an item on Amazon, they will switch to eBay, as it is also a big online retailer. Another online retailer that provides the same service like Amazon and eBay is AliExpress and Alibaba that were found by Jack Ma in 1999.
Not only the online retail popular but also “deal” service like Groupon.com are starting to kick off. On the Groupon, you can find different discount code on services and products, that are located in over 15 countries.
Advantages of E-commerce to Your Business
Before that, only big companies could afford to build their businesses online due to the high costs of technical expertise. But nowadays, it is way cheaper to make e-business rather than open the physical store. With the rising popularity of online shopping, businesses must have an online platform, where they can sell their products or services.
Here are some benefits of e-commerce:
- Ability to sell products or services to overseas customers
- Help to reduce costs on rent, utilities and salaries
- Ability to sell not only physical but also digital items
- Ability to sell 24/7
- Setting up an online business is more straightforward and quicker
- Build a stronger relationship between companies and customers
Now, when e-commerce has emerged into another level, it’s quite simple and straightforward to set up an online store. There are many open-source online shopping platforms, such as WordPress and WooCommerce. WordPress is open-source software, which means that anyone can modify the source code without any restrictions. WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) that allows you to create a professional website or blog, with zero knowledge in web design and development.
WordPress is not the only platforms that offer such service; there are way more options like Shopify, Prestashop, which help you set up online stores step by step. If you are not quite sure where to start, let contact us for help, or just simply give us a few queries, we will get back quickly to help you stay on track.
If you have a business idea, don’t forget to set up an online store, because it’s the best strategy to expand your brand, as more people have switched to online shopping. Any business need to equip its self about the fundamental E-commerce website knowledge and understand how e-commerce website works to boost its performance and expand further soon.