With each new technological advance, there seems to be a corresponding change in how we do business. The printing press heralded the beginning of the printed book, making it possible for books to be mass-produced and sold on a large scale.
With the advent of the internet came e-commerce — the ability to buy and sell products and services online. Now, with advancements in mobile technology, we’re seeing a boom in e-commerce or mobile commerce.
How has e-commerce evolved, and what trends are emerging in this rapidly changing marketplace? Let’s take a look.
What Is E-commerce?
E-commerce is a term used for any type of business transaction over the internet. It can include anything from buying a product and stocks to booking a hotel room. E-commerce has become incredibly popular in recent years, as more and more people are shopping online.
There are different types of e-commerce, such as Shopify and WooCommerce. There are also several different payment processors that can be used, such as PayPal and Stripe. E-commerce is a great way to make sales online, and it can be a very profitable venture.
Brief History of E-commerce
The history of e-commerce platforms can be traced back to the 1980s, with the first large-scale e-commerce system for a national chain of retail stores. For many businesses and organizations, this was their introduction to converting brick and mortar transactions into thriving online shopping businesses.
E-commerce platforms as we know them today really started with Amazon in 1995, as it ushered in several key features that would become staples of modern e-commerce websites.
In 1996, eBay became one of the first massive consumer marketplaces for individual buyers and sellers; eBay has since grown exponentially to provide new markets for those seeking various products online.
By the early 2000s, several e-commerce platforms had emerged that would serve as market leaders well into the 2010s. In addition to gaining footholds in specific industry niches, virtually every growing business needs an online presence — whether they choose a website or an e-commerce platform. Notable examples of industries where competing secondary players have gained significant traction include print-on-demand T-shirt retailers (like CafePress), consumer electronics brands (like Monoprice), and virtual office providers (like WeWork).
Although niche competitors are available, the major players are still dominating much of the marketspace; both Amazon and eBay remain major players in B2C marketplaces with over 100 million products listed.
Newer players like Etsy and Wish.com have emerged but compete for a much smaller share of the market; in the B2B space, Square and Shopify both continue to gain traction and significant transaction volume.
The modern e-commerce platform is more than just a website; it's usually an all-encompassing ecosystem including multiple integrations with services such as logistics providers (UPS, USPS), digital payment processors (PayPal, Stripe), web hosting (Shopify & Squarespace), marketing platforms (Mailchimp) and product sourcing (Alibaba).
The Future of E-commerce
Have you ever driven down the street and seen a sign or billboard for a new store that will soon be opening? Ever wonder how businesses manage to stay up-to-date with their competitors, always offering ways to make shopping easier for consumers?
Internet business is flourishing exponentially, with more people using the internet every year. Today, it's safe to say that internet-based companies are here to stay.
Major retailers are even beginning to offer online options in addition to physical stores. Gone are the days when shoppers would go into a local mall or shop on Main Street only looking for items they needed in person.
Nowadays, most individuals begin searching by consulting Google or Yahoo! They find what they need online and then either order or print their products, so they can be picked up in person. In addition, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays have become a thing too. These changes are creating new challenges for businesses, but the future's looking bright!
It's clear that e-commerce is evolving and changing faster than ever before. What does this mean for businesses? How can you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your e-commerce platform is keeping up? As we've seen, there are a lot of changes happening in the e-commerce world.
Platforms are evolving, customers are becoming more sophisticated in spending, and new technologies are emerging all the time — so what does this mean for your business? If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it's important to ensure your e-commerce platform is keeping up with these changes. Don't wait until it's too late — start investigating now, so you can make the switch when necessary.