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How Online Shopping Started

History of Online Shopping

How Online Shopping Started

Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser. Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the retailer directly or by searching among alternative vendors using a shopping search engine, which displays the same product’s availability and pricing at different e-retailers.

An online shop evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a regular “bricks-and-mortar”retailer or shopping center; the process is called business-to-consumer (B2C) online shopping. When an online store is set up to enable businesses to buy from another businesses, the process is called business-to-business (B2B) online shopping.

One of the earliest forms of trade conducted online was IBM’s online transaction processing (OLTP) developed in the 1960s and it allowed the processing of financial transactions in real-time.The computerized ticket reservation system developed for American Airlines called Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment (SABRE) was one of its applications. Here, computer terminals located in different travel agencies were linked to a large IBM mainframe computer, which processed transactions simultaneously and coordinated them so that all travel agents had access to the same information at the same time.

Photo: Wikepedia/ Michael Aldrich (22 August 1941 – 19 May 2014)

The emergence of online shopping as we know today developed with the emergence of the Internet.[ Initially, this platform only functioned as an advertising tool for companies, providing information about its products.

English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich was a pioneer of online shopping.  In 1979 he invented online shopping to enable online transaction processing between consumers and businesses,or between one business and another, a technique known later as e-commerce.[ In 1980 he invented the Teleputer, a multi-purpose home infotainment centre that was a fusion of PC, TV and Telecom networking technologies. In 1981 he developed the concept of interactive broadband local loop cable TV for mass market consumer telecommunications.

Photo : Wikipedia / Sir Tim Berners Lee

The first World Wide Web server and browser, created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, opened for commercial use in 1991.Thereafter, subsequent technological innovations emerged in 1994: online banking, the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut,[Netscape’s SSL v2 encryption standard for secure data transfer, and Intershop’s first online shopping system. The first secure retail transaction over the Web was either by NetMarket or Internet Shopping Network in 1994. Immediately after, Amazon.com launched its online shopping site in 1995 and eBay was also introduced in 1995.[Alibaba’s sites Taobao and Tmall were launched in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Retailers are increasingly selling goods and services prior to availability through “pretail” for testing, building, and managing demand.

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