A relatable example of eCommerce is when you paid for an eBook or software on an online store. You took part in eCommerce.
Ultimately, every individual in the 21st century with internet access has engaged in electronic commerce in one way or the other.
However, this hassle-free technology began in 1960 when there was no internet. Companies were known to use an electronic system called the Electronic Data Interchange to enable the transfer of documents.
As time progressed, on the 11th of August, 1994, the first online sale was made by a man named Phil Brandenberger, who sold a CD called the Band Sting to his friend for $12.48 through his website, NetMarket.
Afterward, in 1969, CompuServe was founded by Dr. John R. Goltz and Jeffrey Wilkins, electrical engineering students. They built the system by utilizing a dial-up connection. In the 1980s, CompuServe dominated the eCommerce landscape by introducing the earliest form of emails and Internet connectivity to the public.
In 1979, Michael Aldrich, an English inventor, introduced electronic shopping by connecting a modified TV to the transaction-processing computer.
After this innovation, Boston Computer Exchange was launched in 1982, making it the first internet commerce company. Its main aim was to serve as an online market for people interested in selling used computers.
In the late 90s, particularly in 1992, Book Stacks Unlimited launched the first online book marketplace. Its pioneer, Charles M. Stack, changed from the original dial-up bulletin board format. And in 1994, the site switched to the internet and operated from its Books.com domain.
It is worth noting that in 1994 Netscape Navigator became the primary web browser on the Windows platform, before the arrival of modern giants like Google.
1995 saw the launch of a well-known Amazon.com, with Jeff Bezos being the brain behind the establishment. However, upon starting, it was initially introduced as an eCommerce platform primarily for selling books.
As time progressed, another essential piece joined the eCommerce puzzle, PayPal, the most reliable eCommerce payment system. It was launched in 1998 by Max Levin, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken Howery as a money transfer tool.
By 2000, it merged with Elon Musk's online banking company, marking a significant beginning to its fame and popularity.
In 1999, one of the world's largest online marketplace, Alibaba, was launched with up to $25 million worth of funding. By 2001, it went on to turn into a central B2B, C2C, and B2C platform that people used worldwide today.
Ultimately, we can conclude that from 1969 down to 2020 - in the outbreak of COVID-19 - electronic commerce has gone through a series of changes, resulting in a significant evolution.
It has evolved to make products easier to discover and purchase and has also helped independent freelancers and corporations sell their goods and services at a scale that would not have been possible on an offline retail platform.