Sitting around the conference table this morning, our team was discussing the most credible e-commerce marketplace, in terms of its payment security, diverse product range, timely delivery, customer service, return policies, logistics, etc. The discussion went on for a couple of hours, but took us to the e-commerce ecosystem, and how it had evolved to the stature it has acquired today.
Do you have any memory of a Geeta’s Boutique, Hariom Fashions, See Clearly Eyewear, Lalji Kiranawala, and the other shops you used to frequent earlier? Physical shopping seems like it has become a distant reality. When was the last time you walked into a shop to buy apparel, accessories and other collection, glares and glasses, grocery, or any other home or office basics? Long time, right?
That’s what I’m talking about. I hardly have any memory whatsoever of what shopping felt like, before e-commerce came into being. A world without flipkart, amazon, myntra, snapdeal, ebay, shopclues, inkfruit, pepperfry, firstcry, babyoye, junglee, lenskart, almost seems impossible to think of.
This is the magic of e-commerce. It has been such a boon to our crazy, busy lifestyle. It has been such a blessing, gifting us with our much needed personal time.
But the main question here is, what is e-commerce? Have you ever thought of it as being more about technology, and less about shopping? E-commerce is the result of so many little and big aspects. So today, allow us to introduce you to what it is all about.
E-commerce, or electronic commerce, or EC as it fondly called is the simple act of selling and buying of services or goods, or the transfer of data or funds, electronically or through the Internet network. These transfers and transactions can happen between business-to-business (B2B), or business-to-consumer (B2C), or consumer-to-consumer (C2C), or finally between consumer-to-business (C2B).
Electronic commerce has its base in technologies such as Internet marketing, mobile commerce, inventory management systems, automated data collection systems, supply chain management, online transaction processing, electronic funds transfer, and electronic data interchange (EDI).
Here is a brief history:
· In 1971 or ‘72: The ARPANET is made use of to accommodate a sale between students of Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the MIT in the US.
· 1979: M. Aldrich gives the first demonstration of online shopping system.
· 1981: UK’s Thomson Holidays becomes the first B2B based online shopping system.
· 1984: Tesco/Gateshead SIS becomes the 1st B2C online shopping system, and Mrs Snowball was the first online home shopper.
· 1995: Amazon.com is launched and eBay is founded.
· 1996: IndiaMART – India’s first B2B marketplace is established.
· 1999: Alibaba is launched in China.
· 2007: Flipkart was born.
And so on…
Yes, we have cautiously missed out on many important events in the life of e-commerce. But that is because, if we begin to talk to you about every detail, we’ll have the space for only that.
However, some of the business applications of e-commerce are logistics, enterprise content management, cataloging, group-buying, automated online assistant, print on demand, online banking, online tracking, online shopping, newsgroups, electronic tickets, instant messaging, and social networking. Needless to say, this list is also extremely lengthy.
E-commerce today involves and includes everything from ordering for products and services digitally to immediate digital and online consumption.
That’s all for today. Until next week, take care, keep shopping online. Cheers!
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