Ever wondered how and when did online shopping start? Where is it going and how this future of the online shopping space will evolve? If these questions interest you then this short article telling you all this is for you.
I know not many people like to read dates. So we’re not going to go into the full history of shopping and how things developed rather we’ll give you a brief idea of the history. It won’t be boring I assure you.
History of online shopping:
It all started with the rise of the internet and smartphones. As these 2 technologies penetrated every home and the common man got access to them, a lot of things changed.
Initially, the online platform was used as a means of branding and advertising products. Purchasing online was not a thing. Soon online transactions became secure paving the path toward the online shopping experience that we know today. Now there was a lot of development and inventions in this space, from the first transaction to the advancement towards a safe and secure experience. But we’re not going into those details.
The first online sale was made in 1994 when an album by Sting (English singer and songwriter) called Ten Summoner’s Tales was sold online. In the start, people used to buy things that they don’t need to touch and see physically.
An interesting fact: According to a study, the 2 biggest motivators for online shopping are convenience and variety.
The first proper online shopping site was Amazon.com. It was launched on 5 July 1995. Soon after that eBay.com was launched the same year.
These 2 sites that are still working are the pioneers of online shopping. After that, the journey began and it’s where we see it now.
The current stage of online shopping:
From shopping materials we don’t need to touch and see physically, we’ve reached a point where we can buy anything online. From, clothes, to tools, groceries, and food, everything can be purchased online. Small businesses to large companies like Nike are selling online.
But what’s next?
Future of the online shopping industry:
One thing is clear, there’s no going back to brick-and-mortar stores. Online shopping will only increase. People will start buying more products online. As you can’t see and experience the product some issues arise here. For example, when buying clothes finding the perfect fit is a big problem.
In the future, these problems will either be eliminated entirely or they’ll be minimized. How? Through technology. Technology will solve these problems and make the customer experience better. This will ease the shopping process and more people will be inclined toward online purchasing.
Incorporation of augmented reality and virtual reality:
Virtual and augmented reality are buzzing words these days. This technology will drastically change the online customer experience. It will eliminate a lot of problems regarding not physically experiencing the product. Customers will be able to make quick, better, and informed decisions.
Suppose you’re buying a table for your home. You can use the technology and see how that table will look in your drawing room. You can see yourself wearing the clothes as well. All of this will make online shopping more interactive and customer friendly.
Crypto as a payment option:
This is something that has already started. Some brands are incorporating crypto as a payment method. In the future, this will be as common as credit cards and virtual wallets like Paypal and Google Pay.
This means crypto will be more stable in the future and it’ll be used as a day-to-day currency.
An interesting fact: Who’s driving the change in the online industry? It’s you and your data.
Automated Drone delivery:
As the wave of automation is surging, the way of delivering products is also changing. Instead of a delivery man in the future, your parcel will be delivered by a drone.
This option is more environmentally friendly and fast. Amazon is testing drone delivery in a few countries so you can expect this in the near future.
Voice search and shopping:
Voice search and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google can already do a lot for you just by listening to your voice. In the future, voice search and virtual assistants will be used to order stuff online.
Product descriptions will be videos:
How many product descriptions do you see in video format? Not many sellers incorporate videos. However, videos are great to provide a better experience to customers.
The text isn’t that attractive. In the future, more and more product descriptions and features will be in video format.
The revolution of online shopping in China:
China is a step ahead of the world in this industry. There’s a thing called “Live Stream Shopping”. Influencers go live on social media platforms and order and review stuff in front of a live audience.
The most popular live stream shopping influencer is VIYA.
What’s the future of brick and mortar stores?
Transactions and actual shopping in physical shops will only decrease in this digital world. However, stores won’t be completely eliminated. They’ll be used for experiences and interaction rather than shopping. For example, they’ll be used for fashion shows, consultancy, or for learning experiences.
This was all about the history and future of online shopping, how and when it all started, and where it’s going. We haven’t discussed the history in detail as this wasn’t a historical article. It was for those curious shoppers who were interested in knowing some facts about online shopping.