Yes, the day is finally here! The obscure holiday first recognized on August 1, 2015, celebrating the inception of the world wide web in 1989, doesn’t affect popular culture too much. However, the world wide web’s creation and development have paved the way for all the funny cat videos and the evolution of e-commerce. In honor of the holiday, we will explore the history of e-commerce and its effect on the marketing world.
For those of you who may not know what e-commerce is, it’s electronically buying or selling products through online services or over the Internet. It’s how most people buy anything anymore.
Let’s look at its development and see how we got here.
History of E-Commerce.
Most of you may think that e-commerce started when the Internet did, but that’s false. The history of e-commerce began way back in the 1960s when electronic data transactions occurred using ‘primitive’ computer networking, which at the time would’ve been the height of technology, but nowadays would be clunky. This data exchange, known as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), was used by businesses to send and share documents with machines at other companies. Even the military used a similar system to coordinate intelligence and plans of action.
These initial ‘transactions’ led to the first use of online retail when CompuServe, a message board service provider in the 1980s, opened the first Electronic Mall in 1984; even though this endeavor failed, it was the earliest attempt at e-commerce. In August 1994, The New York Times reported that a man had purchased a STING album from his computer. Amazon and eBay launched the following year, and the world of e-commerce took off at an alarming rate after that.
Today, most sales are done electronically and have inspired many businesses to develop their position in the e-commerce industry. Concordia University recently released an article with a complete history of e-commerce and electronic transactions if you’d like to learn more.
What Has E-Commerce Done to Business?
The way businesses promote their products and sell them has been significantly affected by the development of e-commerce, not just with online sellers like Amazon or physical stores like Macy’s. Every business with a product or service on the market has dabbled in e-commerce to some extent, even if it’s a Facebook page or basic e-commerce site.
Most customers nowadays want to check out a website for a new store or a specific product they find to learn more about the company selling it and see what else they sell. As a result, the e-commerce industry has given birth to new ways to sell, including DIY e-commerce sites like Etsy, which we discussed previously.
The difference between a company website and an e-commerce site has a page where your products or services are listed, and you can purchase them directly from the site. Having a website for your business doesn’t automatically mean you have an e-commerce site. We have an e-commerce page on our website because helping people develop their e-commerce is a big part of what we do at WMB.
Business will continue to evolve as the consumer market turns more and more to digital methods for convenience and variety. After all, how many times have you wanted to buy something in a retail store and they don’t have it, so they tell you to go online? E-Commerce is now as essential for marketplace value as a brick and mortar, perhaps even more so.
There’s no sign that the race towards e-commerce for buying and selling items will slow down. So while you’re surfing the internet, browsing for new home decor, or watching videos of pandas falling over, be sure to explore potential e-commerce options for your business!