The Unstoppable Rise of Ecommerce
The rise of online businesses takes the number of online stores and sellers to an all-time high. Keeping up with the ecommerce statistics helps understand the intricacies of this quickly developing sphere.
Aside from the handful of visionaries, ecommerce was hard to imagine a few decades ago. Yet, here we are, living in a world where we carry millions of online shops around in our pockets. This manner of shopping has stormed the world and is moving forward with an unstoppable pace. So much so that data suggests that 95% of retail purchases will be made via ecommerce by 2040.
Naturally, enabling and further developing ecommerce makes perfect sense in the busy and stressful world of today. Especially if we bear in mind that 89% of the world’s population has internet access. Smartphones are another “culprit” enabling ecommerce as 81% of Americans now own one. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 8 out of 10 Americans shop online actively.
But why did all this happen in the first place? When did it all begin, and was the technological advancement the only reason why people switched to online shopping?
Let us delve deeper into the subject of ecommerce and find out.
A Brief History of Ecommerce
The notion of remote shopping started during the 1960s and 1970s with the introduction of teleshopping and electronic data interchange. It started gaining momentum in 1991 while lifting the ban on commercial business on the internet. Online shopping gained more popularity with the introduction of SSL (Secure Socket Layer), a security protocol that encrypts sensitive personal data such as addresses, credit card numbers, and names.
The biggest move forward came with Jeff Bezos and Amazon in 1995, which started by selling books but has now become the go-to place for online shopping for just about anything. Amazon was followed by eBay that managed to rack up $7.2 million in 1997 with only two people as full-time employees. Since then, the number of online retailers grew, and it keeps on growing—a trend that will not cease any time soon.
Benefits of Ecommerce
If you asked a random person on the street about the benefits of online shopping, you would get more than one answer—quick, convenient, often cheaper, hassle-free, etc. And certainly, the technological leaps made in the last 20 years or so provided fertile ground, but more factors play the role than just technological advancements.
A Potpourri of Handy Occurrences
If one stops to think about what propelled ecommerce into the stratosphere, it soon becomes clear that several things came together.
As pointed out by Entrepreneur, ecommerce, or online shopping, has an almost unlimited reach. If one has an internet connection and a credit card, the only limitation are the funds on the said credit card. It hardly matters at all where a person lives. If a retailer ships to that location, all is fine and dandy (you simply have to have a bit of patience for the goods to arrive).
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Next in line is the incredible cost of brick-and-mortar stores, which, in ecommerce, is significantly reduced. In turn, that reduction can be used to offer the goods at a much lower price, which then attracts more customers and moves the business forward.
Shopping malls and supermarket chains have become very popular because they offer a fantastic variety of produce in one place. An online store is much the same, except one does not have to push the trolly around for hours on end but rather click the mouse when they find it most convenient. In a world where the pace of life is often maddening, having such a choice is incredibly helpful. Affiliate marketing is another huge advantage that helps ecommerce thrive, more so now in the golden age of social media and influencers.
Additional Perks That Sell Online Shopping
As we all walk around with at least one mobile device in our pockets, it has become second nature to go online and check reviews the moment some new product tickles our curiosity. And it works like a charm because 45% of shoppers will purchase a product simply based on positive reviews, while 82% of Americans will always consult online reviews prior to buying a product for the first time.
Receiving a code and discounts is another element that attracts a large number of customers to online shopping stores. With all the benefits of ecommerce, the prediction that some three billion consumers will be online by 2022 is not hard to believe.
Potential Pitfalls of Online Shopping
Of course, as with all things, there is a downside, too. The nightmare for all online shoppers is the possibility of fraud—shipping and billing fraud to be precise. In 2017, shipping and billing fraud rose by 37% and 34% in the US, respectively. Additional problems with online shopping are damaged goods and delivery time. Yet, despite this, the benefits by far outnumber the issues, as evidenced by the numbers of individuals happily engaging in online shopping.