Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

Any type of entity, whether offline or online, needs constant modifications and improvements, which lead to its growth and market scaling. If companies want to become profitable and large-in-size covering a particular industry, for example, e-commerce retail or wholesale merchants, they should adhere to economic theories and regulations.

The global business analytic research shows the incredible growth of online businesses specializing in retail merchandise up to 4.28 trillion USD in 2020, proving the large scale of the development trend due to pandemic restrictions. However, the pandemic uncovered the primary advantages of digital commerce: we all save time and money by having unlimited access to global online marketing services.

At the same time, you might wonder why ordinary websites launched to sell some farming products or flower deliveries from Florida or LA are not as successful as expected, but Amazon is boosted immensely. The answer regarding these development features focuses on key e-commerce elements. The correct balancing of all components of the strategic progress of the particular business entity should be based on the well-known business planning concepts and visions:

  • analysis of the current business activities;
  • review of the quality, price, and shipping policies;
  • improve marketing tools, including customer-oriented methods;
  • adjust personalization and customization options;
  • integrate the scaling platform for the net profit optimization;
  • develop your mentality, attitudes, and ambitions to move your e-commerce company forward.

E-commerce Business Development Elements And Their Value

E-commerce Business Development Elements And Their Value

The development process is pretty complicated and dynamic, especially if this is an e-commerce progress action. However, this process is easier to manage, supervise, and redirect if you use the earlier-prepared strategic approach for online business development.

  • Ensure all the product-related information on the website is correct and up-to-date. In order not to lose the customer’s trust and loyalty, you need to monitor and keep the information such as product description, availability, and price actual. Losing the customer’s trust may negatively impact your e-commerce business development and consequently lead to huge income losses. 
  • Use a segmentation approach to clients, supplies, orders, etc. To investigate your business activities in detail, you need to split their different components into smaller groups and better manage the outcomes.
  • Follow the rule “Customer first”. It would be best to remember that purchasers are sources of valuable market information, profits, and primary advisers to improve business activities. According to the e-commerce specifications, personalization and customization options are must-have tools for your website and other omnichannel resources.
  • Do not be afraid of innovative technologies. Any online store requires innovation integration as otherwise your company will be unsuccessful. The online business owner should observe the software market products and enhance B2B contacts to reach stable development for an extended period. For instance, from the start-up stage, you should integrate the supportive platforms that enable you to redirect the current goals and effectiveness indicators towards the minimization of the adverse factors or bad management solutions.
  • Inspire yourself and your staff. Online businesses are constantly moving toward something new and flexible which should meet the market changes. In this case, you need to find a source of self-inspired motivation and pass this on to your staff members and colleagues.

Development interactions for successful e-commerce merchants are mandatory. So, if your online company is small or medium-sized and does not have enough investment for self-improved measures, it should integrate technologies developed for constant growth.


What is e-commerce development?

is a well-organized process to structure your activities. Such optimization modifications are made to increase profits, scale business horizons, and improve the quality of the supplementary services which make your business stand out from the competitors.

What does an e-commerce business development manager do?

An e-commerce business development manager is a multi-specialized project manager who supervises many planning and control processes and negotiation measures. Such managers are also committed to orienting e-commerce business innovations and trends to predict the potential methods for future improvements and re-directions.

What are the stages of e-commerce development?

includes several stages appropriate for any kind of relevant business. They are start-up and business initiation, stable growth or market adaptation, reception, and renovation leading to repetitive growth.

How do you develop an e-commerce business plan?

plan is a typical strategic instrument comprising key fact-findings, potentially positive, negative, and optimal progress scenarios for the particular business entity, and leading indicators determining the net profits and proper business growth in short- and long-term periods.

How do you develop an e-commerce product?

E-commerce product development consists of similar components applied to the relevant business; however, its planning process is more concretized. To elaborate on innovative and practical e-products, you need a specific team, S.C.A.M.P.E.R. technique, the required investments, comprehensive marketing strategies, performance testing, and feedback analysis.

Хороший UX-дизайн должен быть рассчитан на пользователя, быть максимально удобным и понятным.

1. Сформируйте правильное первое впечатление о продукте

Представьте важную информацию, разместив ее на главной странице. Используйте практичные шрифты, хорошую цветовую палитру, выделяйте популярные товары и категории отдельными блоками.

Интерфейс сайта с хорошей цветовой палитрой, популярными товарами и отдельными блоками.

2. Выделите соответствующие призывы к действию

При попадании на страницу сайта, поприветствуйте пользователя и используйте конкретные призывы к действию (CTA). Призыв к действию должен быть ориентирован на задачу, чтобы задать ожидания от следующего этапа.

Пример интерфейса сайта, как можно ненавязчиво расположить кнопку СТА.

3. Сделайте поиск по сайту

По данным Invesp, 60% онлайн-покупок не являются импульсивными, люди часто знают, что они ищут, и ввод запроса в строку поиска на веб-сайте электронной коммерции будет сокращать время на поиск конкретного товара.

Поисковая система на сайте Apple с запросом "ipho" и предложенными запросами по теме.

Поисковая система на сайте Apple (источник изображения: https://www.toptal.com/designers/e-commerce/ecommerce-ux-design-principles).

4. Добавьте фильтрацию

Фильтрация помогает сократить время на поиск нужного товара. При создании фильтров вместо того, чтобы ограничивать параметры общими критериями, такими как размер, цвет или цена, добавьте специальные фильтры для категорий, специфичных для продаваемых продуктов. Пользователь также должен иметь возможность легко удалять примененные фильтры.

Интерфейс сайта lamoda с комбинированным фильтром.

На сайте “Lamoda” используется комбинированный фильтр (боковой и горизонтальный), где разнообразный ассортимент товаров. Например, в категории “Детская одежда” можно разделить выборку: “Девочкам”– “Мальчикам” – “Малышам” и т.д.

5. Предоставьте подробное описание о товаре

Разбейте длинные описания на разделы. Например: обзор, размеры, подробные функции и информация о доставке. “Спрячьте” подробную информацию под разделами, чтобы пользователь смог увидеть нужную информацию.

Пример подробного описания ботильонов на сайте lamoda.

6. Повышайте доверие клиентов

Информируйте пользователя о вариантах доставки, наличии товара и способах возврата.

Интерфейс сайта lamoda, где указаны варианты доставки и наличие товара.

Дополнительным преимуществом будет показать рейтинги товаров и отзывы клиентов на сайте. Такие действия повышают доверие к продукту и увеличивают конверсию.

Страница отзывов на сайте lamoda.

7. Добавьте корзину покупок

Интерфейс мобильной версии сайта lamoda с удобным переходом в корзину.

На примере выше, мы видим интерфейс мобильной версии с удобным переходом в корзину, адаптированный под мобильные устройства.

8. Используйте форму обратной связи

Анализ отзывов клиентов является обязательным делом. Добавьте формы обратной связи на сайт или в приложение. Это покажет, что вы заботитесь о том, что думают или чувствуют конечные пользователи.

Форма обратной связи на сайте lamoda.

9. Информируйте о подтверждении заказа

После завершения покупки предоставьте пользователю подтверждение, которое включает в себя успешную обработку платежей и детали доставки, способа доставки и ожидаемой даты доставки, а также уведомляйте об изменении статуса доставки.

E-commerce is an ever-growing industry, considered the most lucrative investment in today’s era. We have prepared this ultimate e-commerce website development guide to help you learn everything about e-commerce web development and build a successful online store.

Over the last few years, online shopping has become an indispensable part of everyone’s life (including yours), especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s evident that the number of online shoppers is drastically increasing. 

reveals, in 2020, more than 2 billion people made purchases online, and during the same year, e-commerce sales surpassed $4.2 trillion. In fact, by 2040, it’s estimated that of all purchases will be through e-commerce.

That being said, the current pandemic situation has pushed businesses to go fully digital. Seeing these stats and mounting figures, businesses are striving to make irresistible e-commerce stores. Consequently, seeking a professional web development company that has got immense expertise in e-commerce website development

However, to make this happen, one needs to emphasize various things, such as types of e-commerce site you want to build, ideal e-commerce web development process, best-in-class platforms, e-commerce pricing, tips to create an incredible online store, and more. And those who have online stores, figuring out how to boost e-commerce business and increase sales

So without any further ado, let’s begin with a comprehensive guide to e-commerce website development and learn everything about e-commerce development, from how to build an intuitive online store to increase sales. 

Ready to dive in and learn? Great!

E-Commerce Website Development: The Quick Introduction

As the name suggests, e-commerce (aka electronic commerce or e-business) refers to buying and selling products or services using electronic devices via the internet. 

Simply put, an e-commerce website is a website that allows you to buy and sell products/services online. E-commerce website development is all about building online stores leveraging the latest, advanced tools and technologies. 

web design consultant craft your e-commerce store, keeping your business and customer’s needs in mind. S/he gauges your business exhaustively and then starts to design an e-commerce store for a better customer experience (CX) that drives sales and revenue.

Types of E-Commerce Websites

Depending on whom you wish to cater to (consumers or other businesses), your business objectives, etc., the type of e-commerce website is decided. However, when it’s about e-commerce websites types, you can categorize them into three (widely popular) varieties.

Have a look!

->B2C Online Stores – These types of online stores, aimed to meet the needs of end consumers. These e-commerce stores display and promote products to consumers only. For example, clothes, accessories, gadgets, etc. Amazon and eBay are great examples of B2C e-commerce stores.

->B2B E-Commerce Stores – These e-commerce stores, developed to promote and sell products/services to other businesses in order to increase their reach in a specific demographic or worldwide. Amazon Business and Alibaba Wholesale are great examples of B2B online stores.

7 Crucial Things to Consider Before E-Commerce Website Development

Executing Thorough Market Study

Paying Attention to Target Customers

Performing Competitor Analysis

If you want your e-commerce business to stand out amidst your competitors, see what they’re doing. Scrutinize everything (from their strategies, planning, execution, their performance, market reach, customer interaction, marketing, SEO tactics, etc.) properly to beat them. If you perform the competitor analysis part rightly, you can easily win a competitive advantage over your rivals.

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Creating an MVP

Identifying Features and Customizations

Deciding the Technology Beforehand

This is really crucial as your e-commerce website’s performance is dependent on it. See what’s the most trending e-commerce platform on the market. Leverage top e-commerce website development technologies as per your e-commerce business type, niche, want and need. You can also visit your competitors’ websites and see what are the cutting-edge tools and technologies they are using to stay ahead in the game. Accordingly, you can build your e-commerce site.

Determining the Budget

Whether you are creating a startup website or building an e-commerce site, having a budget strategy beforehand is a must. You need to look forward to having an optimal delivery with budget constraints. You don’t have to spend lots of money when it comes to developing an online store. Be smart enough to create a smart budget allocation and investment. This will ensure you get maximum ROI at the lowest cost and also facilitate growth.

Ideal E-Commerce Website Development Process: 9 Steps Involved

Determine Your E-Commerce Business Model

Several types of e-commerce business models exist. As we discussed three major types of e-commerce businesses, you need to determine what type of e-commerce business model you want to go ahead with. Know the differences between B2B, B2C, and C2C e-commerce business models, know where your e-commerce business falls, and choose accordingly.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your customers is essential for any type of business, and it becomes even more important for e-commerce businesses. Understand who your potential customers are and can be, and then plan your e-commerce development accordingly. Make sure everything (from products/services to content), tailored to your potential customers.

Find the Right E-Commerce Platform

The best thing is you’ve quite a few options when it comes to choosing e-commerce platforms. Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento are some widely popular e-commerce platforms that you can leverage to run your online store. Go with the platform that offers responsive design, product management, CMS, better shopping cart, faster checkout page, secure payment processing, etc.

Choose the Right Hosting Platform

Your selected hosting platform can make or break your e-commerce website. It determines your online store’s accessibility and performance efficiency. Therefore, you need to be very careful while choosing one. While considering the hosting platform, look for speed, uptime, support, scalability, and security to make your e-commerce site more powerful.

Determine Product Categories

Categorizing the products is of utmost importance as it makes things appear organized before your potential customers. Your product categories need to be straight to the point. This helps visitors to decide where they need to go in order to buy a particular product. Plus, keep the navigation, CTAs, and other driving factors on point for better results. 

Write Compelling Product Descriptions

Most e-retailers overlook this part while developing an e-commerce site. However, it’s crucial to include personalized product descriptions in your online store. Product descriptions tell customers about the product, on which basis they decide whether to buy the product or not. Therefore, you need to write as enticing product descriptions as possible to attract more and more customers.

Test Meticulously and Deploy

Get this straight — when it comes to e-commerce website testing, you can never test enough. Testing checks usability, customer convenience, checks for bugs, and ensures a smooth shopping experience. So you need to ensure testing your online store on various browsers, across platforms, and devices. Therefore, deploy a glitch-free e-commerce site.

Your website is live. Now what? Well, it’s time to market it effectively so that it reaches your potential customers. Don’t try to do it on your own if it’s not your forte. Hire a reputed e-commerce marketing agency that can create an effective marketing strategy with a well-thought-out plan and promote your e-commerce store on digital channels.

Adapt and Grow

And it’s a never-ending process. To keep your e-commerce site ahead of competitors, you need to keep adapting to the latest e-commerce development trends and grow accordingly. There’s no substitute for that. Upgrade your e-commerce site regularly and keep your online store running smoothly. Periodically check for security updates and implement the newest security practice.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an E-Commerce Website in Today’s Age?

This question must have crossed your mind at least once while thinking of developing an e-commerce site. Right? Well, honestly speaking, that’s a tricky question many fails to answer correctly and honestly. 

Because no one can tell you a “set in stone” cost that goes well with all types of e-commerce websites. The price has to vary, depending on your e-commerce business type, niche, size, features, functionalities, data imports, integrations, budget, and a lot more. 

Though if we talk about an average e-commerce website development cost, it can go from $40,000 (for a simple, basic website) to $3,00,000 or more (for complex and enterprise websites) in some instances. Yes, it’s not a precise estimate, but that’s what the thing with e-commerce development is you can’t estimate the precise cost at all. 

“Proven-to-Work” Tips to Develop an Irresistible E-Commerce Website

->Minimize Efforts in Your Checkout Process – Today’s buyer wants everything faster, and if you’re wasting their time on checkout process page, they will move to your competitor’s site. Therefore, to rescue that, minimize the efforts and steps in your checkout process, and make it as faster as you can.

->Emphasize SEO – Research shows that around of shoppers begin product searches online via search engines or so. If you want your potential customers to find your site, your e-commerce website needs to appear on the top searches. For that, you need to plan SEO for your e-commerce website

->Incorporate Customer Reviews and Testimonials – Testimonials and reviews add credibility to a website. It becomes even more crucial for e-commerce sites to incorporate customer reviews and testimonials as many customers buy products/services after going through the reviews. So it’s important to feature testimonials on your e-commerce site.

->Set Up Multiple Payment Methods – The world has evolved, and your e-commerce needs to as well. You need to incorporate multiple payment methods on your e-commerce site. From COD to debit/credit card and digital wallet, accept as many payment options as possible so that your customers don’t move to another website.

->Strengthen Your Customer Service – If your customer service is spot on, you will never lose customers. Answer all the questions and problems of your customers as quickly and precisely as possible. Ensure you have readily available customer service support through various options, such as phone, email, live chat, and others.

E-Commerce Website Development: Final Words

Today’s buyers expect a fast-loading, highly secure, and friendly e-commerce site where they can shop hassle-free. The journey of building a successful e-commerce website starts with defining business needs, goals, and budgets. 

That said, we hope this comprehensive guide to e-commerce development helped you learn all about e-commerce website development and helped you understand how you can generate endless business opportunities via an incredible online store. 

Are you ready to create a seamless online shopping experience through an intuitive e-commerce site that will convert visitors into shoppers, drive more sales and revenue? Start now!

More than 2.14 billion people make purchases online. With numbers like this, developing an ecommerce website can help you turn the advantages of online shopping into a revenue-driving solution for your business.

With as many as 24 million ecommerce websites today, your web development is essential to ensure your site stands out from competitors.

But what is ecommerce web development, and how can you develop a successful ecommerce website that’ll drive results for your business? We’ll cover that and more in this article, so keep reading to find out!

Did we mention that WebFX is a leading ecommerce web development company?

Partner with a team of ecommerce masters!

WebFX campaigns have delivered more than 12,936,451 ecommerce transactions in the last 5 years

Read the Case Studies Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

Ecommerce web development is the process of building and designing an ecommerce website where consumers can purchase products online. Because ecommerce websites are so popular with consumers, developing an ecommerce website can help you generate more conversions and revenue for your business.

Why is ecommerce web development important?

Here are a few more reasons why ecommerce web development is essential for your business:

  • It sets the first impression: Your website is likely the first interaction a potential customer will have with your brand. Effective web development can give visitors a good impression of your brand to keep them on your site for longer.
  • It helps user experience: Developing a good user experience for your visitors is essential to help you convert leads and increase your sales. Excellent web development practices can ensure your website runs flawlessly so users can easily navigate and find what they’re looking for.
  • It can aid your SEO strategy: Web development is crucial for any SEO campaign. Things like page speed, coding, URLs, and hyperlinks can all have an impact on how high your site will rank on a search engine’s results page.
  • It can help you stand out from the competition: You’ll want your website to stand out from your competitors, and web development is a great way to do it. Your ecommerce web development can help you build a new, updated, and high-quality website that will outrank your competitors and drive leads and traffic to your website.

Ultimately, ecommerce web development is a tool that can help you boost your business’ success. Ecommerce web development can help you build a website that will generate leads, increase traffic, and boost sales and revenue for your business.

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The 6-step ecommerce web development process

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is ecommerce web development?” let’s dive into how you can begin developing your ecommerce website.

Here’s your step-by-step ecommerce web development process to help you drive the most revenue with your website:

1. Start with a plan

The first step in any web development process is to start with a plan. Before you begin designing the layout of your website, you will want to have a strategy and goals of what you would like your website to accomplish.

You might want to think about:

  • Your customer service goals
  • How you wish to display and sell your products
  • Your business goals, such as increasing sales and brand recognition

Your business goals and strategies will determine the structure and layout of your site, so planning these out in advance is essential.

2. Choose a platform and domain

Once you have your plan in mind, the next step is to choose a platform and domain for your ecommerce website. You’ll want to select your domain name, or site URL, carefully. Your domain name should be short, representative of your brand, and memorable.

In most cases, your company’s name is usually the best option. You can also pick from several domain tools, such as Dot-o-mator, which can help you choose a domain name by making suggestions based on keywords you enter.

How to choose a website domain

You can also decide to use an ecommerce platform to help you build and develop your website. Ecommerce platforms can help you create your site from scratch and offer customizable options to ensure your website looks and feels like a representation of your brand.

A few options you can choose from are WixSquarespace, and Shopify.

3. Create the layout

Now that you’ve chosen your domain main and ecommerce platform, it’s time to start designing the layout of your website. You can start by creating a sitemap or simple outline of the pages on your website.

You’ll want to consider what pages and content you would like to include, such as:

  • Product listings
  • Customer reviews
  • Checkout process
  • Videos
  • Customer wish lists

Once you’ve created your sitemap, the next two steps of the ecommerce web development process will be a bit easier.

4. Code your website

Perhaps the most essential element of your web development is your web coding or back-end development. Coding ensures your website functions as it should. You can decide whether to code your website manually or use a content management system (CMS).

Many of the coding and back-end development elements will already be in place with a CMS, so you won’t need to interact much with code. If you decide to code manually, you can use HTMLJavaScript, and CSS to help you successfully build your ecommerce website.

5. Optimize your design

With your back-end development complete, you can now focus on some of the design elements of your website or the front-end development.

Ecommerce website development process

Optimizing your design is all about creating the look and feel of your website and customizing the pages that your customers will see and interact with.

You’ll want to consider which colors and themes you would like to use, adding in some images and videos and whether your customers will be able to navigate through your website easily, and more.

Your web design is often the first time a consumer interacts with your brand, so you want to ensure you give them an excellent first impression so they will stay on your site until they are ready to make a purchase.

6. Get ready to launch

Once you’ve completed the above steps, your website will be ready to launch and start attracting new customers and increasing your sales.

Before you officially launch your website, though, you might want to test and ensure that everything on your website is working as it should, especially functions like making a purchase.

If everything works as intended, then it’s time to launch your website and start attracting customers and driving sales. This is an excellent time to begin a marketing strategy to promote your website and products so you can drive revenue.

To ensure customers find your new website, you can:

  • Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements: PPC ads are an excellent way to start generating web traffic. With PPC ads, you can bid on keywords, so that each time a consumer searches for phrases related to your business, your website will appear at the top of the search results.
  • Implement an SEO strategy: Implementing an SEO strategy is one of the best ways to help your website rank higher in the search results and outrank competitors. And because SEO can take three to six months to start driving results, it’s best to start your strategy as soon as possible.
  • Promote your website on social media: Social media is a great tool to advertise and promote your business online. You can consider creating a social media page for your business and encourage your followers to check out your website online and advertise your products.

Once you’ve launched your website, it’s essential to promote it so that you can drive traffic and revenue for your business.

3-point ecommerce web development checklist

Are you wondering how you can ensure your website will drive revenue for your business? Check out this revenue-driving ecommerce web development checklist to ensure your website will increase leads and sales:

1. Did you factor in user experience?

  • You communicate the value of your products and services
  • You address the needs of your customers
  • Your website navigation is simple and easy to follow, with minimal clicks needed to find a page
  • Your web design attracts and entices customers to click and stay on your website

2. Did you plan for SEO?

SEO can help your website rank higher on the search results pages so potential clients can find your products when searching for relevant keywords.

When developing your ecommerce website, there are a few things you can do to optimize your site for search engines, such as:

By factoring these SEO elements into your web development process, you can help your website outrank your competitors on the search engine results pages.

You can also help consumers find your products and services online, which can ultimately increase your sales and revenue.

3. Did you use digital marketing strategies to promote your website and business?

Developing effective digital marketing strategies is essential for ensuring the long-term success of your ecommerce website and business.

Once your website is up and running, you’ll want to consider using some of these digital marketing strategies to boost the success of your business further:

Implementing revenue-driving marketing strategies is one of the best ways to increase your visibility online and boost the success of your business.

Partnering with a digital marketing agency like WebFX can help you develop, implement, and track successful marketing campaigns that drive results.

Time to Level Up Your Sales

Our long list of services helps you grow every aspect of your business with marketing strategies that are proven to increase bottom-line metrics like revenue and conversions.

In the past 5 years, we’ve managed more than 12.9 MILLION transactions across our client base.

Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

FAQs about ecommerce web development

What are ecommerce websites?

An ecommerce website is a website that allows you to buy or sell products and services online.

Ecommerce websites are perfect for enabling consumers to research, browse, and purchase their favorite products from the comfort of their homes with just a few clicks from their computer, tablet, or mobile device.

What are the types of ecommerce websites?

There are two types of ecommerce websites:

1. Vendor-specific websites

Vendor-specific websites are the most common type of ecommerce website.

Adidas ecommerce website example

They are built for and run by one individual business who is the only seller on the site. Creating and managing your own website can enable you to have your own branded space to market and promote your products and services.

As a bonus, you can also further promote and optimize your website through digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO), to help you rank high in the search results and boost the success of your website and business.

2. Multi-vendor online marketplaces

Multi-vendor online marketplaces feature products and services from numerous sellers. Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba are popular examples of multi-vendor online marketplaces.

Amazon multivendor ecommerce website example

An individual website owner will still build and manage the website and sometimes sell products on it, but third-party sellers will offer their products and services through the site and sometimes create their own profiles and pages.

What does an ecommerce web developer do?

An ecommerce web developer’s primary responsibility is to make the design prototype of a website come to life and overall function as a website. In other words, web development involves making the design of a website function as it should.

For example, a web developer would ensure that any navigational buttons, contact forms, calls to action (CTAs) buttons, and hyperlinks function as they should.

Make ecommerce web development easy with WebFX

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Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

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The history of ecommerce started over 40 years ago, when the introduction of early technology like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and teleshopping in the 1970s paved the way for the modern-day ecommerce store as we know it today. 

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce, or electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of products or services via the internet. For many Americans, ecommerce is something we participate in on a daily basis, like making an online bill payment or purchasing from an online seller. Ecommerce can take many forms and involve different transactions. For an in-depth look at the impact of ecommerce and the different types of online shopping, check out our article on the definition of ecommerce 

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When Was Online Shopping Invented?

 Book Stacks Unlimited, an online bookstore created by Charles M. Stack in 1992, was one of the earliest consumer shopping experiences. Stack’s store began as a dial-up bulletin board three years before Amazon was founded. In 1994, Book Stacks Unlimited moved to the Internet as Books.com and was eventually acquired by Barnes & Noble. 


When Was the First Online Transaction?

The August 12, 1994 issue of New York Times, appropriately titled “Internet is Open” chronicled the sale between two friends of a Sting CD. The Times said, “The team of young cyberspace entrepreneurs celebrated what was apparently the first retail transaction on the Internet using a readily available version of powerful data encryption software designed to guarantee privacy.” 

Early Ecommerce Timeline

1960 – 1982: Invention and the Early Days 

The development of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in the 1960s paved the way for electronic commerce. EDI replaced traditional mailing and faxing of documents by allowing a digital transfer of data from one computer to another. 

Trading partners could transfer orders, invoices, and other business transactions using a data format that met the ANSI ASC X12, the predominant set of standards in North America for inter-industry electronic exchange. Once an order is sent, it is then examined by a VAN () and directed to the recipient’s order processing system. EDI allowed the transfer of data seamlessly without any human intervention. 

Michael Aldrich’s invention, the idea for which was sparked by a conversation with his wife about their weekly supermarket shopping expedition, involved hooking a television to their supermarket to have them deliver the groceries. Aldrich coined his invention “teleshopping” (shopping at a distance), which can be seen as the precursor for modern online shopping. 

1982 – 1990: Early Ecommerce Platforms 

It was apparent from the beginning that these early advancements would make B2B online shopping commercially lucrative. B2C would not be successful until the later widespread use of PCs and the World Wide Web.  

By 1997, over 7 million homes had Minitel terminals. The Minitel system was popular before falling out of favor after the success of the internet three years later.  

The World Wide Web Arrives

That same year, Berners-Lee created the first web server and wrote the first web browser. Shortly thereafter, he went on to debut the web on August 6, 1991 as a publicly-available service on the Internet. When Berners-Lee decided he would take on the task of marrying hypertext to the Internet, the process led him to develop URL, HTML and HTTP. 

In 1991, the National Science Foundation lifted its restrictions on commercial use of the NET, causing online shopping to grow exponentially. In September 1995, the NSF began charging a fee for registering domain names. The number of domain names quickly grew to two million by 1993. By this time, the NSF’s role in the Internet came to an end and a lot of the oversight shifted to the commercial sector. 

From the beginning, there were many concerns over the safety of  online shopping. However, the development of a security protocol, Secure Socket Layers (SSL)—an encryption certificate created by Netscape in 1994, provided a safe means to transmit data over the internet. Web browsers were able to identify whether a site had an authenticated SSL and, based on that, determine whether or not a site could be trusted. 

Now, SSL encryption protocol is a vital part of web security, and version 3.0 has become the standard for most web servers today. 

Marketplaces, Payments and The Growth of Ecommerce

Major Marketplaces Emerge: Amazon, eBay, and Ecommerce Platforms 

 the mid-90s, there were major advancements in the commercial use of the Internet. One of the first ecommerce sites was Amazon, which started in 1995 as an online bookstore but grew to become the largest online retailer in the world. Traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores were limited to about 200,000 titles. Amazon, being an online only store without physical limitations, was able to offer exponentially more products to the shopper. 

Other ecommerce marketplace success stories include eBay, an online auction site that debuted in 1995, and Etsy, which launched in 2005 and by 2019 saw gross merchandise sales total  

The late 1990s also saw new ecommerce platform options for merchants. Miva’s first catalog-based ecommerce product was launched in 1997, achieving wide distribution in the late 1990s. 

In 2005, Amazon launched Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee. The membership quickly became popular, putting pressure on other merchants to offer fast and inexpensive shipping options.  

Evolution of Online Payments Security 

As more and more people began doing business online, a need for secure communication and transactions became apparent. In 2004, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI) was formed to ensure businesses were complying with various security requirements. The organization was created for the development, enhancement, storage, dissemination and implementation of security standards for protecting customer account data.  

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The Rise of Mobile Commerce 

Today, both consumers and business buyers turn to mobile devices for product research and coupons, with engagement on social media becoming increasingly popular. Business buyers are expecting more consumer-focused features like personalization and responsive design and demanding the ability to quickly locate product details, secure pricing, and receive online help 

The Future of Ecommerce

Competing (And Thriving) In a Marketplace Economy 

Although popular marketplaces like Amazon have been setting the standard for customer experience and  in ecommerce, there are many things independent merchants can do that Amazon can’t, including building a memorable brand experience and gaining loyal, engaged customers for life. 

Buyer Preferences Drive Rapid Disruption and Growth 

What will shoppers want next? That’s what both online and offline merchants are trying to figure out. And then there are Millennials, who have disrupted the way ecommerce is done. A site that lags or struggles to load can lose Millennial visitors faster than you can say “avocado toast”. As part of the self-directed buying process, Millennials will typically shop around a bit and read reviews before making a purchase decision.  

To be successful in the current age of ecommerce, sellers need to monitor comments and listen to what shoppers say about their products and customer service. A site with an outdated design will communicate outdated processes, products, and prices to Millennial buyers, hurting your sales and holding back your business.  

So, what’s next for ecommerce? The only thing that is certain is that there will continue to be more changes on the horizon. Your online store needs to be flexible, adaptable, and scalable enough to meet these changes and future-proof your business for long-term success. 

Next: discover 15 ecommerce trends that can help you generate growth and  deliver an outstanding online experience in 2023.

This blog was updated on November 23, 2020.

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Что такое e-commerce и как устроена онлайн-торговля

E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. E-commerce is in turn driven by the technological advances of the semiconductor industry, and is the largest sector of the electronics industry.

Defining e-commerce

The term was coined and first employed by Dr. Robert Jacobson, Principal Consultant to the California State Assembly’s Utilities & Commerce Committee, in the title and text of California’s Electronic Commerce Act, carried by the late Committee Chairwoman Gwen Moore (D-L.A.) and enacted in 1984.

  • Online shopping for retail sales direct to consumers via web sites and mobile apps, conversational commerce via live chat, chatbots, and voice assistants.[4]
  • Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer (B2C) or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales;
  • Business-to-business (B2B) buying and selling.[5]
  • Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media.
  • B2B electronic data interchange.
  • Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters).
  • Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services.
  • Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes.
  • Business to Business
  • Business to Consumer
  • Business to Government
  • Consumer to Business
  • Consumer to Consumer


On the institutional level, big corporations and financial institutions use the internet to exchange financial data to facilitate domestic and international business. Data integrity and security are pressing issues for electronic commerce.

Governmental regulation

Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which was formed in 1991 from an informal network of government customer fair trade organisations. The purpose was stated as being to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for mutual benefit and understanding. From this came Econsumer.gov, an ICPEN initiative since April 2001. It is a portal to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.

There is also Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. APEC was established in 1989 with the vision of achieving stability, security and prosperity for the region through free and open trade and investment. APEC has an Electronic Commerce Steering Group as well as working on common privacy regulations throughout the APEC region.

In India, the Information Technology Act 2000 governs the basic applicability of e-commerce.

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