Food, clothes, cosmetics, and even furniture and large appliances – the internet has become the most convenient department store today.
It’s convenient, allowing you to purchase nearly anything from the comfort of your own home with a few clicks on your laptop or a few taps on your smart device. Unlike when you visit stores not knowing if they have a certain item, you’ll find a number of stores online that sells what you need.
Because of this, it’s no surprise that at least 209 million Americans have shopped online at least once. But how did online shopping come to be?
History of Online Shopping
The history of online shopping can be traced back to Michael Aldrich, considered the father of online shopping. In 1979, he connected a telephone line to a real-time transaction processing computer. At the time, it was called “teleshopping” and used primarily by business-to-business systems.
The first online transaction was allegedly marijuana sold by Stanford students to MIT students in 1972. However, the first online transaction on the internet was in 1994, a sale of a Sting CD between two friends.
With the rise of the internet in the ’90s, online shopping began to really develop to a business-to-customer system. With Jeff Bezos founding Amazon and Barnes & Noble acquiring Books.com, online shopping continued to develop over the years until it became what it is today.
What Makes Online Shopping Popular Today?
Compared to the ’90s and early ’00s, online shopping wasn’t as popular as it is today. But if you look at the available features in the ’90s and what we have today, you can see how easier online shopping has become to everyone.
More Payment Options
Originally, the only modes of payment were debit and credit card, which not a lot of people were comfortable with due to the many credit card phishing scams at the time. Today, however, there are more payment options like mobile payments, bank transfers, e-wallets, prepaid cards, direct deposits, and even cash on delivery options that prevent payment difficulties from preventing a person from shopping.
While the original online stores of the ’90s weren’t as easy to navigate, online stores today are built so that customers go from the homepage to checkout with as little clicks as possible. Online shoppers do not have to worry about shopping within business hours. If one online seller doesn’t have a product or is sold out, shoppers can find other stores – even stores that are abroad.
More Efficient Shipping
Better modes of freight shipping have been made over the last few decades that make shipping faster. Local shipping has become faster, with some online stores offering same-day or next-day shipping. International shipping from opposite ends of the world can take a few weeks, but it is much faster compared to the shipping decades ago. So, this makes international online sellers more accessible to those abroad.
Some businesses sell their products online at the same cost, but other businesses can sell it for cheaper. The cost of opening an online store is cheaper than the costs of opening a physical store. And the benefits a seller gets from fewer costs can be transferred to their customers when they can sell their products at a lower price. While some sellers may not take advantage of this and simply sell their products at a regular price to increase their profit margin, those who want to put competitive pricing will sell at lower prices.