August 3, 2010
By the ZippyCart Shopping Cart Reviews Content Team
Infographic: The History of E-Commerce
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The History of E-commerce by ZippyCart: Shopping Cart Reviews is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
The History of E-commerce in a Nutshell:
The history of e-commerce is filled with many ups and downs, with dot-com bubbles, dot-com busts, a variety of sales models, and more. Understanding what has led the e-commerce industry to its current state can help merchants better prepare for the changes ahead, as e-commerce evolves into mobile commerce, social commerce, and so much more. Above, you will see a detailed visualization of how e-commerce has evolved and shaped the way we do business online. The data is also detailed below for those who wish to read all of the information rather than view it above.
- 1979 – Michale Aldrich invents online shopping: Aldrich was a British inventor who created a number of things including the Teleputer, which was a computer-based entertainment center. In 1979 he developed a predecessor of online shopping to enable online transaction processing for B2C and B2B needs.
- 1981 – Thomson Holidays submitted the first ever B2B electronic transaction using online technology. Thomson Holidays was a UK based travel operator that used online technology to help users book travel and pay.
- 1982 – France Telecom invents Minitel – Considered the world’s most successful pre-World Wide Web online services. Users could make online purchases, train reservations, and more through the Videotex online service, accessible through telephone lines.
- 1984 – Jane Snowball, age 72, was the first ever online home shopper. She used the Gateshead SIS/Tesco System to buy online.
- 1987 – The first electronic merchant account was created by Swreg. It was created so that software developers could sell their solutions online.
- 1990 – Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first web browser using a NeXT computer, thus creating the World Wide Web.
- 1991 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) lifted restrictions on the commercial use of the NET, which cleared the way for e-commerce.
- 1992 – J.H. Snider and Terra Siporyn published Future Shop: How New Technologies Will Change the Way We Shop and What We Buy. This book was an amazing predictor of the future of e-commerce.
- 1994 – This was a big year of firsts for e-commerce. Netscape Navigator released their browser, SSL encryption became a reality (ensuring secure online sales), Pizza Hut had the first recorded Internet sale (a peperoni & mushroom pizza with extra cheese), the 1st online bank opened, the first e-commerce solutions are built for merchants to sell online, and the first ever email spam occurred (known as the Green Card Spam)
- 1995 – The dot-com bubble began with the IPO of Netscape. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos sat in a garage in Bellevue, WA to start Amazon.com. South of Bezos in California, eBay began as “AuctionWeb.” Craigslist launched and VeriSign launched as a way to verify merchants online.
- 1997 – Dell.com became the first company to make $1,000,000 in online sales
- 1998 – The US Postal Service entered the e-commerce space by selling stamps electronically through e-stamp. At the same time, two Standford students began their plans for world domination by launching Google.
- 1999 – The US Supreme Court ruled that domain names are property.
- 2000 – The dot-com bust
- 2002 – Ebay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, niche retail start ups CSN stores and NetShops created the concept of selling products through several target domains rather than a central portal.
- 2003 – Facebook began as a college website called Facemash, which let students rate whether or not other students on campus were good looking. At the same time, Amazon posted its first ever profitable year. Finally, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 changed email marketing forever by ruling that marketers “can spam” as long as they follow certain standards.
- 2006 – Google bought YouTube. In the same year, Sex.com sold for $14,000,000 which was the highest recorded sales price for a domain name. Finally, iTunes became the largest digital music retailer with over 1 billion downloads.
- 2007 – US Broadband users reached 200 million, which aided in e-commerce success for small and large companies. Google Adwords surpassed $21 billion in revenue.
- 2009 – Yahoo and Bing teamed up to better compete with Google. While the full merger is still taking place, soon Yahoo will adopt the Bing algorithm, making search results almost the same across the two search engines. Near the end of 2009, Facebook made headway in traffic by becoming the site with more traffic than Google.
- 2010 – 2010 is expected to reach $173 billion in e-commerce sales, an increase of 7 percent over 2009. This is due to an improvement in the economy mixed with new e-commerce trends like mobile commerce, social commerce, group buying, and private sample sale sites.
The future of e-commerce remains to be seen, but it is clear that the industry will continue to grow and opportunities are there for the taking.