Where the Online Marketplace Was and Where it Got Us Now

Businesses that hope to make the most of the online world, though, will need to keep evolving or risk being left out of the race.

History of eCommerce

(Newswire.net — January 4, 2018) —  E-commerce has come a long way since 1979, when Michael Aldrich invented online shopping as a means to process online transactions between businesses and consumers. The Boston Computer Exchange, an online marketplace for selling used computers, was launched in 1982, making it among the first e-commerce platforms.

1990s to 2000s

The browsing of e-commerce platforms simplified significantly after 1990, with the launch of the WorldWideWeb, the world’s first internet browser. Easy access to the internet gave many e-commerce services the ability to reach out to a global audience. Services such as eBay and Amazon remain among the most notable e-commerce websites that entered the online marketplace during this period. By 1995, the entire online marketplace was valued at around $130 million.

Where We Stand Today

By 2015, when just about every brick-and-mortar establishment worth its salt had an online presence, and with some businesses limiting their operations to the online world, the global e-commerce market was valued at around $1.55 trillion.

While the online shopping phenomena started in the United States, China now stakes claim to the largest online economy – it stood at over $560 billion in 2015. The U.S. is second in line, with online trade of around $350 billion during the same year. The UK follows at the distant third, although the country’s high quality products are often sought after by residents of countries the world over.

The Evolving Payments Ecosystem

During the early days of online shopping, there were no merchant service providers, merchant accounts, or online card processing mechanisms.  The first point-of-sale terminal and magnetic stripe embedded cards made their way to the market in 1979, and merchant account service providers entered the realm soon after.

Now, online merchants have scores of payment options from which to choose, even if they deal with international customers. Specialist money transfer companies such as TransferWise and its competitors provide free receiving accounts in multiple currencies, giving online sellers easy means to receive payments like locals.

Special Days

Cyber Monday 2017 turned out to be the biggest online sale the U.S. has ever witnessed, raking up more than $6.5 billion. The term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005, and online sales on this day of the year have grown since. In China, 11 November is celebrated as Singles Day. Originally a day when people celebrated being single, it has now become among the biggest online shopping days in the world.

The Future

Given the fact that a significant number of consumers are turning online in order to avoid serpentine queues and long traffic jams, an increase in the number of special shopping days seems inadvertent. Consumers can expect more businesses to start rolling out loyalty or reward programs with the aim of customer-retention.

Technological advances made way for device-focused marketing in the recent past. Now, online businesses are gradually shifting to people-based marketing that relies on user intent and behavior. Speed remains a crucial factor when consumers turn online to review or purchase products and services, with slow deliveries no longer being acceptable. Online retailers, as a result will need to focus on efficiency and timeliness.


The online marketplace will continue growing, and consumers will have no particular reason to complain. Businesses that hope to make the most of the online world, though, will need to keep evolving or risk being left out of the race.

Source: http://newswire.net/newsroom/blog-post/00099298-where-the-online-marketplace-was-and-where-it-got-us-now.html