Every day, people log into the internet to carry out various activities: shopping, working online and communicating. Nowadays, it is possible to buy and sell goods and services online.
How Electronic Commerce Came to Be
In essence, eCommerce is the use of the internet to carry out business transactions. The E-commerce industry goes as far back as the invention of the concept “sell and buy”, computers, electricity, cables, the internet and modems. eCommerce was consummated in 1991 when the internet was finally conceived as a means to a profitable end: commercial use.
At first, electronic commerce was perceived as, the electronic method of conducting business transactions with the aid of technologies such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). These techniques allowed their users to exchange information and conduct their transactions electronically.
The Revolution of the E-commerce Industry: From the Year 2000 to Date
By 1994, most people had embraced the idea of the internet as a way of doing business. However, it was not until 1998, four years later, that security protocol – HTTP and DSL – were developed: allowing a rapid and persistent connection to the internet.
In the year 2000, many businesses in Western Europe and the United States used the World Wide Web to represent their services. The term e-commerce changed its meaning to include the purchase of available goods via the internet using secure connections and electronic payment options. By the end of the year 2001, the largest form of electronic commerce, Business-to-business, was worth approximately $700 billion in transactions. Over the next few years, electronic commerce continued to grow and by 2007, it accounted for 3.4% of the total sales in the United States.
Some of The Most Successful Pioneer eCommerce Companies
Amazon.com is among the most famous eCommerce companies. It is located in the United States: Seattle, Washington. Its founder is Jeff Bezos. Amazon was among the first American companies that sold products online. In the beginning, Amazon required massive investments – building storage facilities, delivery of products and satisfying customer needs. Therefore, it took a long while before the company realized profitability. However, in 2003 – after ten years of operation – Amazon realized profits for the first time.
Dell Inc. Dell was launched in 1994 and by 1997, it had recorded a million dollars in online sales. Its success is fuelled by the level of unique client customizations that it offers. Consumers can purchase PCs depending on their budget and specifications: customers can assemble a PC, bit by bit, depending on their budget. Half of Dell’s profits come from the World Wide Web.
The history of e-commerce is that of an innovative, virtual world evolving toward customer advantage. It is the type of world that, producers and consumers build together for the benefit of future generations.
Electronic Commerce Today
The reach of eCommerce today is remarkable through the power of technology. People can work, shop and even communicate with loved ones from home, work or even stuck in rush hour traffic when one cannot do anything there is access to the internet through our mobile devices. In the past, it was just a dream, then today it is a reality.
Smartphones and tablet PCs are changing the very way that eCommerce stores and websites are designed to ensure that they are easy to use. The ability to reach customers anywhere and at any time through mobile applications has provided another area in which eCommerce can be conducted.
E-commerce is popular today because its inherent technologies are evolving at a very broad scale. We can “feel” the size, texture and shape of a product with the aid of a 3D mouse. With the click of a button, we can now shop for a product, choose how we would like it to be shipped and wait for it to be delivered to our doorstep. Although it is a long way before the conventional stores can be fully replaced by the eCommerce industry, the possibility of it happening in the future is very real.
The Future Prospects of eCommerce
Experts predict that the future of the electronic commerce industry is a bright one. In the near future, it is imminent that the industry will be used as a primary sales tool. It will be a concept that will be indivisible from the web; this is because e-shopping is not only growing in popularity, but also becoming more natural. An increase in the rivalry among companies specializing in the provision of e-commerce services is expected. This means that, an evolution and growth of internet sales will be realized.
Each year, a rise in the number of eCommerce deals is achieved. At the same time, the number of sales made online grows higher when compared to the number of sales made in the conventional stores. This trend is expected to continue since the number of people held down by work and household chores is continuously rising, not forgetting the fact that the internet offers products at a fairer price.
Because of online transactions, quality and quantity of products are expected to go up. Since companies and businesses will not limit their operations to certain geographical regions, they will have to ensure that their products are appealing. It will not matter if a business is located in a small, almost inaccessible town or New York City. In order to ensure its survival, a business will have to adapt quickly or be kicked out of business.
Companies in the past that relied strictly on the traditional brick and mortar style of operating will seek to innovate and make an addition of an eCommerce front for their business. Businesses will have to incorporate new technology in order to remain relevant. These revolutions will have to occur in the production of their goods and services, ensuring their products are user-friendly, have an appealing presentation and finally, and have an attractive design.
Although an earlier presence in the e-world is an advantage, an e-site that will not maintain healthy business practices like e-marketing and advertising will hardly survive in the highly competitive online market.
Advantages of Incorporating eCommerce into Business
When compared to offline stores and catalog operators, eCommerce businesses have several upsides:
- Consumers in need of an individual product can easily find it online by the simple click of a button.
- Even the smallest online store with a simple online presence can sell its products and get profits.
- eCommerce sites can track customer preferences – with the aid of tracking technology – and use them to deliver individualized products and services to their clients.
Ecommerce traces its origin back to the 1970s. However, the majority of the public felt its presence in the 1990s when they began perceiving the internet as a commercial tool. In the year 2000, the discovery of security protocols, such as HTTP, lured majority of the companies into the world of eCommerce. Today, most business transactions are being conducted online. Today’s e-Commerce industry is expected to evolve into a more sophisticated and better community in the near future. Although it is a relatively new type of technology, it most certainly holds a lot of good prospects for all kinds of entrepreneurs. While companies will be trying to increase their sales numbers, the real winners of these innovations will be the customers. Today more than ever, the customer is always right.
The writer, Edrick Hypolite, is a freelance writer who has been studying the tricks of the ecommerce trades since the late 90s. He recognizes the many common flaws that result in the failure of some ecommerce websites: including not securing their transaction process through a qualified third party like http://fastspring.com. You can learn more about Edrick on Google+.