E-commerce or electronic commerce refers to the transaction of goods and services through the internet. This article aims to introduce the history, pros and cons, and how e-commerce is likely to be adopted further in the future.
A brief history
First knowledge and foundation of e-commerce can be attributed to the year 1960, when large corporations started to exchange information through networks on a long distance. Enterprises such as Banks and military departments, used a system called EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), which allowed them to share documents, invoices and shipping confirmations between each other with the help of electronic transactions.
Since the middle of 1990s, we have witnessed marked increases in the field of online trading, and the eventual foundation of huge corporations such as Amazon and Ebay.
Current e-commerce statistics state that 40% of world wide internet users have bought products or goods online via desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices. This amounts to more than 1 billion buyers and is projected to continuously grow. Moreover, 2014 was a year of milestones with worldwide online sales hitting a record high of $1.3 trillion.
According to e-commerce market data, US-founded Amazon is one of the leading e-commerce platforms worldwide. Online auction website eBay is the most popular example for C2C e-commerce whilst also providing a platform for merchants to sell their goods.
Pros and Cons of E-commerce
- Global scope.
- Fast launch of products to market.
- Accessibility to the market 24/7.
- Wide range of services.
- Opportunity for comparing prices online.
- Less time-consuming.
- An attractive platform for fraud.
- Inability to experience the product before the purchase.
Despite its relatively short history, e-commerce adoption has already grown markedly with further growth expected as access internet access expands.
The biggest growth areas will be witnessed on mobile commerce, as people take to their phones to purchase goods whilst they are on the move, and due to faster and easier mobile adoption rates in the developing world as opposed to laptops and personal computers with internet connectivity.