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Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Pretty Flashback on Ecommerce History

Today people are too busy with selling or purchasing online and no one bothers to know about how ecommerce evolves from such a simple tool for only B2B transaction to a multi-billion industry that people use everyday.

1960- A fresh start of ecommerce
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) permits companies to carry out electronic transactions. Although the concept of eCommerce did not touch the daily Internet user till the era of 1990s yet some big players had started to use EDI as early as 1960. The railroad industry was among the first to understand the importance of EDI and start using the same. Other players in the transportation industry followed.
1979- Michael Aldrich- Hero of ecommerce

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Michael Aldrich becomes hero of ecommerce industry ever since 1979. That was the time when Aldrich was shopping in a supermarket with his wife. Suddenly, he was hit by an idea which changed it all for eCommerce. Aldrich connected a domestic TV and a computer with telephone lines so as to start selling groceries online via this model. How they were able to tackle various situations is a different story altogether, but at the end of the day they did come up with a model that helped them launch the business of online shopping.
1981- B2B online shopping
It was the year 1981 when Thomson Holidays connected 66 travel agents from around England in order to come up with what has been tagged as first B2B (Business to Business) online shopping. These agents were able to extract data online and understand what was available from the Thomson Brochure so as to serve customers properly.
1984- The first B2C customer of online shopping

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It was the year 1984 itself when the world’s first B2C (Business-to-Consumer) online shopping system was launched by Tesco and Jane Snowball was honored to be the first B2C customer as well as the first homer shopper of Tesco. The online shopping system started the concept of Online Shopping Basket which was later renamed Online Shopping Trolley.
1987- online shopping for softwares
In 1987, Merchant Account was launched in order to help software developers sell their software products online. SWREG was the name and it happens to be one of the oldest pieces of software that is still available.
1990- the first web browser
Here we go. The year which marked the launch of the first web browser. The name of the browser was WorldWideWeb which was later renamed to Nexus so as to avoid the obvious confusion. Nexus was also the editor for programmers who coded websites. During those days Nexus was supposed to be the only medium to access the Internet in graphical format. The amusing part is that the browser was launched for the public by using Internet newsgroups as the medium of communication. This will help you understand that the communication system (on the Internet) of those days wasn’t as big as it is nowadays.
In 1991, the NSF (National Science Foundation) cleared the way for the commercial use of NET. This was considered to be a major boost for the eCommerce industry and its future growth. Statistics state that the traffic on the backbone network of NSF jumped to over 1 trillion bytes per month in the year 1991 itself after it was opened for commercial use. By 1996 there were over 10 million hosts online and the Internet was now a global phenomenon.
This could be tagged as the “Mother of all Years” for eCommerce as Netscape launched encryption certificate which became the trustworthy means of transmitting data over the Internet. Certificates gave the browsers a chance to trust a source before displaying its data and sharing personal information. Something that helped the end consumer shower more interest on the Internet and indirectly on eCommerce transactions.
This wasn’t all. The year 1994 also marked the launch of Yahoo! though the domain was registered later in the year 1995. This truly gave the Internet and eCommerce a completely new direction.
It was the year 1995 when NSF started charging a fee for registering domain names. At that time the Internet had 12,000 domain names registered and the number jumped to over 2 Million in the next 3 years.
One must understand that by now a lot of other services that would later rule the web had started to appear. Some of these were Amazon, AuctionWeb (which later became eBay) and Verisign etc.
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PayPal came into existence in the year 1998. The current PayPal system that we see is actually the merger of X.COM, a financial service company of the late 2000s, and Cofinity which happened to be a payment and cartographic company. It was the year 1998 only when Google entered the world of eCommerce and Yahoo! launched Yahoo! Stores online.
2000 and Onwards
As they say, what followed after Google is history. Be it the dot com bubble or the Web 2.0, the Internet has experienced exponential growth (with its own pitfalls) that has shaped the lives of many. As we know it, the Internet continues to grow with major and minor eCommerce companies launching their own set of stores. Today, we can literally buy anything via the Internet. That is the wonderland of eCommerce.

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  1. Well done! I found lots of interesting information in the article.