Ecommerce has become so big in modern times, so lucrative and accessible no matter where in the world you’re shopping, that it’s difficult to imagine it was once small and fragile, or that it can get any bigger in the future. The truth is that the rise of Ecommerce throughout the years has only set the stage for the growth it’s bound to experience in the near and far future.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s take a closer look at its beginnings, and how this microcosm of online commerce came to be, in order to gain a better understanding of the modern trends that prevail in the global market, until we finally delve into the interesting predictions for the future of Ecommerce. Here’s what you need to know.
From humble beginnings
Of course, it all started with the creation of the World Wide Web way back in 1991. However, it wouldn’t be until 1994 that product brands would realize the immense potential of online commerce, and how they can skyrocket their sales by catering to a rising digital demographic. As the internet was becoming widely available around the world, brands such as Pizza Hut would kick-start the Ecommerce model by offering online ordering on their websites.
Not a year later in 1995, two modern-day industry giants would come to life, eBay and Amazon. Even though Amazon was founded a year earlier, it was in 1995 that they would begin their rapid rise to Ecommerce prominence. In 1996, Ecommerce breached the billion-dollar milestone in online sales. This was going to be a global phenomenon that would take over the world. And that it did.
Rising into the billions
The Ecommerce industry was rising quickly in popularity and worth around the world, and there was no doubt that it would quickly rise into the billions in the first few years. Lo and behold, by the year 2000, the US Ecommerce market alone grew to a staggering 25 billion dollars in revenue. Anticipating this dramatic rise and with a strong desire to capitalize on an emerging global trend, as any skilled entrepreneur would, a certain Elon Musk would launch the very first online payment platform.
PayPal was introduced into the global market in 1998, and would immediately become the most popular payment platform in the world. Every Ecommerce business that wanted to acquire new customers fast and capitalize on repeat business in the future was quick to adopt the popular payment platform in order to cater to a new demographic. From 2001, the world of Ecommerce would begin to diversify rapidly, offering almost every product and service you could think of.
Product diversification in modern Ecommerce
Ecommerce was shaping up to become a way for people to obtain products and services they couldn’t find in retail stores, and not just a way to make shopping more comfortable and efficient for those who couldn’t be bothered to leave the house. In many ways, it achieved this goal and many other goals, by the year 2001. With more than 70% of internet users shopping online during the holiday season, companies were quick to migrate into the Ecommerce realm.
Nowadays, modern Ecommerce serves as an online marketplace where you can find physical products as well as intangible ones such as music. The rate of diversification is staggering, allowing investors to diversify into precious metals such as platinum and other alternative assets, and B2B companies to buy and sell specialized products that fit a certain industry or niche.
What does this mean exactly? It means that Ecommerce is no longer a B2C experience, nor that people are venturing online to buy products for personal gain alone. Ecommerce is becoming an increasingly business-oriented marketplace in which individuals and companies are trading with one another for professional growth and business expansion.
Incorporating technology and artificial intelligence
Technology has weaved itself into the faucet of human existence, and it has become an inextricable part of modern Ecommerce as well. The notion of Ecommerce pioneering technological advancements such as smart tech, AI, and machine learning is not new, as Ecommerce companies are in constant need of innovative solutions to stay ahead of the curve.
Customizing the Ecommerce experience in every sense of the word is especially important for startup brands looking to differentiate themselves from the rest and acquire loyal customers fast. Implementing innovative digital solutions such as chatbots, personalization software, and advanced marketing software is one of the most powerful ways to achieve this.
Nowadays, Ecommerce brands are investing heavily in machine learning and AI technology in order to learn about customer behavior, gain a better understand of their demographic and the market as a whole, and thus make more cost-effective investments.
Interactive shopping and complete personalization
Speaking of personalization and understanding the modern demographic, it’s important to understand what the future of Ecommerce holds, or better yet, how the customer of the future will want the world of Ecommerce to look. Firstly, companies are already dabbling in the notion of virtual reality and augmented reality for online shopping.
From Facebook to Alibaba and Apple, all of the leading brands are growing their Ecommerce sectors with the help of augmented reality in order to boost interactivity and product personalization. Being able to personalize the product to your liking before making a purchase is a big thing nowadays, along with the need to actually try the product in a virtual dressing room before deciding. Coupled with the inevitable rise of Mcommerce, there is no doubt that the Future of Ecommerce lies in flexibility, mobility, and complete customer control.
Ecommerce did not exactly have a long and winding road. In fact, since its inception more than two decades ago, it quickly rose to prominence as one of the most lucrative industries in the modern world. Now that you have a better understanding of how all of it came to be, along with the knowledge of modern and even future trends, you can tailor your growth strategy for long-term success in the field.
Article by David Webb