colloquially known as ‘online shopping’, in its simplest form is the buying and
selling of products and services by businesses or consumers over the World Wide
Although, e-commerce does not necessarily refer to carrying out commerce through the Internet alone, but also alludes to other forms of electronic communication. Precisely, the origins of e-commerce lie not in the Internet, but in other forms of communication facilitated electronically. Technologies like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) precedes the emergence of e-commerce using the Internet and paved the way by laying the foundation for the growth of e-commerce we experience today.
To further expound upon the history of e-commerce, it is worth noting that 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. 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 exponentially 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.
Due to its normalization, internet sales are increasing rapidly as consumers recognize the numerous benefits and advantages offered in the form of:
· Entertainment- Movies on demand, video cataloging, interactive ads, multi-user games, online deliberations.
· Education and Learning- Interactive educational courses, video conferencing, high quality lectures on websites such as Udemy, Coursera, and the likes.
· Financial services and information- Home banking, financial services, instant financial news, etc., to name a few.
· Essential services- Electronic catalogs, home shopping, telemedicine, and remote diagnostics are some of the most prominent advantages that have gone on to improve the quality of people’s lives.
With online shopping expected to burgeon past the $1.5 trillion marker this year in worldwide sales – with some experts predicting that ecommerce will surpass $2 trillion in the next few years – it is undoubtedly the fastest growing and one of the most valuable industries.
As far as the marketing and advertising industry is concerned, the collection of data about customer behavior, preferences, needs and buying patterns is possible through Web and E-commerce. This helps in the facilitation of activities such as price fixation, negotiation, product feature enhancement and managing relationship with customers, etc. In conclusion, the propagation and use of e-commerce is all set to reach proportions that, in all likelihood, would render traditional retail obsolete in a manner not unlike what e-mail did to postal mail.