More commonly known as E-Commerce, electronic commerce E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. There are many ways to classify ecommerce websites. You can categorize them according to the products or services that they sell, the parties that they transact with, or even the platforms on which they operate.
In many parts of the world, ecommerce is something people participate in on a daily basis in activities such as online bill payment or purchasing from an e-tailer. The popularity of e-commerce has soared because it offers business that has 24 hour availability, business that has great customer service, global customer base and convenient transactions. E-commerce has made it possible for buyers and sellers to communicate and transact anywhere and anytime in a quick and efficient manner. For these people who use this method regularly, the thought of living without ecommerce is no longer imaginable, since its absence would inconvenience several aspects of their routine. In the old days, people managed without it, so it is definitely possible to continue on without it. But how exactly did ecommerce come into existence?
Ecommerce was introduced 40 years ago and, to this day, continues to grow with new technologies, innovations, and thousands of businesses entering the online market each year. The convenience, safety, and user experience of ecommerce has improved exponentially since its inception.
The beginnings of e-commerce can be traced to the 1960s, when businesses started using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to share business documents with other companies. EDI replaced traditional mailing and faxing of documents with a digital transfer of data from one computer to another. In 1979, the American National Standards Institute developed ASC X12 as a universal standard for businesses to share documents through electronic networks. After the number of individual users sharing electronic documents with each other grew in the 1980s, in the 1990s the rise of eBay and Amazon revolutionized the e-commerce industry. Consumers can now purchase endless amounts of items online, both from typical brick and mortar stores with e-commerce capabilities and one another.
Although the Internet began to advance in popularity among the general public in 1994, it took approximately four years to develop the security protocols (for example, HTTP) and DSL which allowed rapid access and a persistent connection to the Internet. In 2000 a great number of business companies in the United States and Western Europe represented their services in the World Wide Web. At this time the meaning of the word ecommerce was changed. People began to define the term ecommerce as the process of purchasing of available goods and services over the Internet using secure connections and electronic payment services.
The book Future Shop: How Technologies Will Change the Way We Shop and What We Buy, stated insights and predictions on the future of this kind of commerce. An overview of the book explains:
“For hundreds of years the marketplace has been growing more complex and more confusing for consumers to navigate. Published in 1992, long before the Internet became a household word. Future Shop argued that new information technologies, combined with innovative public policies, could help consumers overcome that confusion. A prescient manifesto of the coming revolution in e-commerce, Future Shop’s vision of consumer empowerment still resonates today.”
Even from the early 1960’s until this very day, the Internet and Ecommerce continue to evolve, and will continue evolving in the future. Just how much more can it store for the foreseeable future?