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History of e-commerce: A look at events & organizations across timeline


Looking at the history of e-commerce, the term “e-commerce” had a much different meaning than it has today. In the 70s, it meant the process of a transaction using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). In this article, we take a brief look at the history of e-commerce.

A look at the history of e-commerce

Today, when you think about e-commerce, what comes to your mind? Shopping online for books, electronics, apparels, tickets and much more. However, the e-commerce landscape was not always this way. Technology and people’s behavior has come a long way since the “Electronic mall” in 1981.

– 1981 – CompuServe launched “Electronic Mall”. A marketplace where users could purchase directly from 100+ online merchants

E-commerce became more accessible when in 1991 when National Science Foundation allowed the commercial transactions. The development of HTTP and DSL were key factors in this development. This saw the first commercial sale online in August of 1994.

– 1994 – Online retailer “Netmarket” makes the first secure online sale. An album – Ten Summoner’s Tales by Sting

Amazon established their organization in 1994. It took them almost a year to sell the first product online. Of course, they were selling only books at that time. eBay started the operation in 1995.

– 1995 – Amazon sold its first item. A science textbook. eBay sold its first item, a broken laser pointer

Several years passed in trials, errors, and optimization in the e-commerce businesses. Facebook started their operation in 2004. The term “Social commerce” was coined in 2005 when the social media fever took Internet users by storm.

– 2005 – Social commerce is born. People began using their social network to make buying decisions

Social influence and other factors aside, nowadays one of the main drivers for e-commerce is the various offers. One of the largest discount/offer organizations in this space has been Groupon, who began operating in 2008.

– 2008 – Groupon is launched with various discounts across online and brick & mortar stores

By 2010, e-commerce became extremely popular worldwide and surpassed approximately $150 billion in sales. Analysts forecasts from several research organizations begin predicting 4X growth in the next decade

– 2009 – Sales in e-commerce exceed $140 billion

Today, the term “e-commerce” means B2C transactions where people purchase products online from the various websites. Internet usage, the number of websites, the number of e-commerce portals and buyers have increased multifold since the beginning.

Compared to the five years ago, current e-commerce landscape is very different and much more sophisticated . Today, e-commerce businesses are focusing on recommendation engines, personalized experiences, user behavior predictions and more.

We, at IQLECT, are helping today’s e-commerce businesses tackle various use cases and challenges to engage visitors, increase conversions and predict future events. You may check our app here.

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