The history of ecommerce
Commerce is transforming at an unprecedented pace. Perhaps one of the biggest drivers was the birth of ecommerce in the 1990s. At its most basic, ecommerce is the buying and selling of goods or services on the internet. Pioneers paved the way for the proliferation of digital retail businesses we see today. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the major milestones that led us here.
The word “retail" is first recorded as a noun and is defined as commodities sold in small quantities.
The World Wide Web debuts as a public service available via the internet.
The first Web browser, Mosaic, is released.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption is first introduced, adding a new layer of security to online purchases.
One of the first documented internet purchases was a pizza from Pizza Hut®.
Amazon.com and AuctionWeb (now eBay®) go live.
Dell Inc. records $1 million in daily online sales.
Annual ecommerce retail sales reach $7.7 billion.
PayPal is born when an engineer develops an online demo allowing people to email payments.
Annual ecommerce retail sales reach $28 billion, a 264% increase in just two years.
eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion.
Apple® launches the iTunes® store.
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council® is formed to help ensure that online businesses meet compliance requirements for account data protection.
Sales of apparel exceed sales of computers for the first time in the history of internet commerce.
The first Free Shipping Day® is held, where retailers unite on the last possible day before the Christmas holiday to offer free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas.
Daily deal sites take ecommerce by storm. Amazon.com invests $175 million in local deals site Living Social® while Groupon™ turns down a proposed $6 billion acquisition offer from Google®.
Forrester® predicts that total U.S. ecommerce sales will reach $414 billion by 2018.
So there you have it, a brief history of ecommerce. Where will the future take us? Only time will tell. If history is any guide, one can only guess that the pace of innovation will continue to accelerate.