Online mediums that facilitate the trading of products, funds, stocks and more can be grouped under eCommerce or electronic commerce providers or platforms. All online business models that facilitate sales and transactions through the internet are eCommerce platforms. It is estimated that the internet will host more than 2 billion global digital buyers by 2022.
Evolution of eCommerce
It all began with the birth of the internet, which was initially restricted to government and military usage. Internet for public access was granted in 1989. The introduction of the (www) in 1991 became a global sensation with the multiple opportunities and potential that it posed. It almost immediately became a mainstream source of information, entertainment, and communication. The endless possibilities of the internet were experimented with by multiple companies. Today’s leading companies like eBay, Amazon, and Netflix were few pioneers in harnessing the internet to produce services that are still at large.
The precise pioneer of eCommerce has been up for debate. For example, it has been suggested that in 1994, Phil Bradenger used his computer and credit card to purchase a “ten summoners” album shipped over to him, making him the first to engage in eCommerce. On the other hand, some argue that Michael Aldrich, the man who developed teleshopping, was the pioneer of eCommerce. And some believe that the ‘Boston computer exchange’ company was the first to sell their computers online, and some believe that ‘Bookstacks unlimited’ in 1992 was the first online bookstore and hence the first eCommerce site.
- Amazon launched in 1995, which also started as an online bookstore, took over the trends of eCommerce. Amazon pioneered the sharing of user reviews and feedback online.
- eBay established its debut entry into the field of eCommerce by becoming an online auction site in 1995.
- PayPal launched in 1998 as a quick and easy online transaction service for multiple currencies.
- Alibaba.com in 1999 became the first of its kind to include B2B, B2C, C2C eCommerce in the same platform.
- Etsy launched in 2005 for displaying local handmade crafts and art pieces to the world for admiring and purchasing, thus supporting local artists and traditional craftsmen everywhere.
- Social media enters the podium to share the spotlight in eCommerce, with Facebook introducing the ‘sponsored stories’ feature in 2011
- Apple in 2014 and google in 2015 introduced online payment options as Apple pay and Android pay, respectively.
- Instagram, another social media handle, enters the eCommerce stage by introducing shoppable posts.