More people worldwide do their shopping online than ever before. In the new world of electronic commerce, long-standing axioms of how business works have become radically altered as geographic bounds are made flexible, consumers change their methods of shopping, and marketing deals with the new constraints and freedoms of the web. In this non-experts’ guide to e-commerce, we examine the fast-changing world of electronic business and how it got to where it is today.
The Rise of E-Commerce
The first form of e-commerce that we might recognize as such today was developed by Michael Aldrich in 1979 and 1980. His innovation, the “teleputer,” linked a color television to a microprocessor and a modem, allowing for computer-based communications across telephone lines. Early businesses using teleputers to mediate commerce included travel agencies, auto companies, and credit card companies, mostly in the UK. Due to the prohibitive expense of the teleputer, these early, pre-Internet efforts at e-commerce were business-to-business (B2B) rather than the more familiar business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce that would rise to prominence in the ’90s.
Online, B2C shopping came into existence in 1984, when Tesco, the major British supermarket chain, coordinated with the city of Gateshead, England to develop a system for elderly and disabled users to order groceries from home using computers. These were the first people to try online shopping, and the first online shopper was an elderly woman in Gateshead named Jane Snowball.
E-commerce remained a minute but active realm of commerce for the next decade. The arrival of the Internet, and especially. Tim Berners-Lee’s development of the World Wide Web in 1990, made e-commerce increasingly feasible. At this stage, the Internet was still mostly used by hobbyists and technology professionals. Remained unused by the vast majority of the public. It wasn’t until 1994 that Mosaic, the world’s first popular web browser was released. This was the year e-commerce truly took off.
Online banking made its debut, and Pizza Hut set up a page for customers to order food online. 1995 saw the arrival of two businesses that would come to define the world of e-commerce: Amazon and eBay. Amazon pioneered the model of the Internet start-up: a company that provides a specific. Internet-based service or solution initially funded by the venture. Capital and not expecting to post a profit for an extended period. eBay took the Internet commerce model a step further. Rather than linking simply linking consumers to goods, it linked consumers to individual sellers.
For the next five years, the NASDAQ composite, the key indicator of the Internet sector. Spiraled upward, more than quintupling between 1995 and 2000. This ended with the sudden burst of the dot-com bubble. By 2003, the NASDAQ composite was down to 1996 levels. Economists and pundits blamed the collapse of the dot-com economy on the ’90s start-up mentality. In which investors favored big ideas over concrete gains, marketing overproduction, and exuberance over fiscal responsibility. Amazon would famously whether the bubble and in 2003, post a profit for the first time in its eight-year history.
Many ’90s dot-com start-ups emphasized the “dot com” in their name to bolster their image as savvy, Internet-focused companies; the post-bubble era saw Amazon.com becoming Amazon, Expedia.com becoming Expedia, and so forth. Many of the companies that have made waves in e-commerce in recent years have specifically focused on a “bricks and clicks” approach that integrates the techniques of electronic and traditional commerce. For example, Groupon, one of the major start-ups rising to prominence in the late ’00s. Successfully integrated the advantages of Internet-based commerce with real-world business.
We’ve linked to a wide range of sources, ranging from business sites. To academic sites to articles covering the world of e-commerce.