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Consumerism is triggered by the pivotal growth of e-commerce in the last four decades. Consumers can easily access goods and services at the click of a button. Moreover, e-commerce enterprises are rapidly investing in new technologies to exceed customer expectations.

The impact of e-commerce technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things, chatbots, drone delivery, and voice commerce is rapidly shaping the future of global e-commerce.

But, the sector’s growth begun in the early 1980s with a botched experiment that connected a TV to a telephone line. This would later birth a multi-trillion industry with new features to enhance customer experiences and expectations.

The e-commerce sector metamorphosed into a global powerhouse over the years by incorporating the latest technologies. Whether it’s simply ordering a happy meal or paying online at a pay for essay online service with a digital wallet, it all started 40 years ago.

The Genesis!

The ideology of online experiences was a mystery back in the 70s. The theory of sourcing goods or services without physical presence was unheard of. Michael Aldrich pioneered a new invention 1979 that connected a domestic TV through a telephone line. The new system failed to hit the market with much excitement, probably due to the futuristic nature of the invention.

Fortunately, it started gaining rapid acceptance, with Book Stacks Unlimited becoming the first online book store under Mr.Stack. The online outlet offered the conveniences of an online shopping experience. The company rose to popularity with the advent of the internet and turned into Book.com. This also saw the birth of a similar online retail store, Amazon.

1980-1990 – Early Days

The 1960s did a lot of pavement for new technology dubbed the EDI system. The time of release met a lot of uncertainities over its practicality in changing the entire system. The system was later adopted as part of the business movement. The new system meant new enterprises moved from traditional methods to the digital age. There was lack of funding to fully explore the ideology and showcase the possibilities in possessed.

Businesses could exchange transactions through the new data format. After sending an outlined order, it is processed by a middle party and directed to the intended party for further processing. It allowed for seamless data transfer with minimal human interference.

New concepts started floating around. The market was pretty divided without a central place to accomomodate sellers and buyers. Hence, some earlier form of marketplaces started growing to connect these interested parties.

A decade later, Book Stacks Unlimited became the founding member of the online revolution taking place. The internet wasn’t fully commissioned, but it still maintained remnants of the future coming soon.

1990s to 2000s – Internet Arrives to Save the Day

The early 1990s saw a push for a ‘World Wide Web’ to connect different parties on a single network. It’s initial concept was pushing for disseminating information among educational institutions.

1995 saw businesses paying for domain names. It saw many commercial pursuits, with entrepreneurs looking to exploit this new opportunity. At first, few developed security concerns over the safety of these domains. It necessitated SSL encryption, an encryption certificate, to ascertain whether a specific site is safe and secure to transmit data online.

Mid 90s – Payment Systems Inquiries?

The current World’s richest individual, Jeff Bezos, launched Amazon, an online marketplace for book sales. The company develops strong global links while supplying books to 45 different countries. Previously, traditional bookstores were limited in their reach. The online bookstore exceeded boundaries and offers multiple book titles to the masses.

The newfound growth saw the company expand into other products in the retail section that amassed interest from their target audience. The retailer started adding customized experiences with customer reviews and rating scales to products bought. It gave consumers the choice to choose products based on their tastes and preferences. Other companies followed suit by launching online marketplaces such as eBay.

Another transformative technology involved online payment systems. There was a demand for safe and secure payment systems to facilitate transactions. In 1998, PayPal was launched, a global e-wallet option with advanced security measures to protect users’ funds. Upon inception, the company started handling up to $3 billion in payments for online customers.

Late 2000s – Rise of Mobile E-commerce

Mobile commerce was an untapped market. The potential became evident when Coca-Cola allowed mobile-enabled devices in their vending machines. The evolving landscape of the e-commerce world saw a need for better customer experiences.

The first iPhone was launched in 2007. Similarly, Google followed suit with the release of Android in the following year, paving the way for customers’ mobile migration.

Consumers largely gravitated towards their mobile devices to handle their online shopping. In 2014, Apple launched a mobile payment tool called Apple Pay. The new move made it easier for consumers to pay for purchases with their iPhones.

By 2014, there was a full-blown splurge on social media platforms. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram started launching marketplaces where users could directly shop on the app. It competed with established brands such as eBay and Craiglist.

2020 – Covid Pandemic Causes Surge in E-commerce Sales

The global scene was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited people’s movement. Hence, most consumers shop online to access basic housing essentials and food. Most brick-and-mortar stores were closed due to government directives, so most businesses turned to online establishments to meet the growing product and service demand.

E-commerce was strongly uptaken across regions. Even consumers in emerging economies have shifted to online shopping.

Expected Future Growth

Currently, consumers are willing to accept new trends in the e-commerce space that elevate their shopping experience. Due to the growing demand for the latest technologies, companies are investing in augmented reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots, gamification, livestream shopping, and e-wallet technology.

The online space presents many opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of. With advancements in these technologies, we can anticipate further innovations in the sector. Moreover, buyer preferences are evolving as online businesses try to cope with these shifts.

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