We can all agree that the shopping phenomenon of our country has undergone drastic changes in the last few years alone. One of the latest trends in the shopping sector is the boom of online shopping and e-commerce. Shopping which was earlier considered as a visit to a physical store doesn’t hold the same meaning in the current digital world. Today, shopping involves the use of technology and helps individuals purchase products and services at their fingertips from around the globe.
In this article, we shall talk about online stores, their origin and history and the current online store trend. Read on to find out more!
What is Online Shopping?
One can easily define online shopping as shopping on online platforms. If one has to be given a deeper understanding of online shopping it is nothing but a unique form of shopping through e-commerce (electronic commerce). Online shopping involves the use of online stores, which can also be referred to as an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers across the internet on one platform. The online shopping phenomenon is so popular that every one of us would have at least bought one product that we use through online stores. Online stores and online shopping has become an inevitable part of all our lives. In simple words, every individual who has access to the internet has engaged with online shopping at least once in their lifetime.
Now that we have understood the meaning of online shopping, let’s take a look at the history and evolution of Online Stores.
History and Evolution of Online Stores
In the year 1979, an English inventor Micheal Aldrich discovered electronic shopping. He invented e-commerce in its crude form by allowing an online transaction between businesses and customers and between businesses as well. In 1990, the invention of the World Wide Web, the first-ever web browser, was another major event that took online stores and online shopping to the next level. Tim Berners Lee is the man behind the invention of the world wide web and if not for him, not even a single online store would have seen the light of the day.
With these two innovations as we move forward, we see that in 1994 Netscape developed an internet security protocol called SSL. What is it, you wonder? It is nothing but an encryption-based internet security protocol that helps to protect all confidential information related to financial transactions that take place on your online store. Several online store owners will know the importance of SSL certificates for their e-commerce business. Just a year apart from inventing SLL, there was a new online marketplace invented that was one of the biggest transformations that boosted the growth of online shopping on the global front. This first online marketplace was none other than Amazon.com which was launched by Jeff Bezos. Soon after, eBay followed, which was then called AuctionWeb.
With the number of online stores increasing, the market lacked a reliable payment gateway system. It was at this time, around 1998 that Paypal entered the market and created for itself a niche market for online payment systems which quickly became a hit amongst the masses. In just a year down the line, Jack Ma, a Chinese entrepreneur introduced a highly successful online marketplace which was known as Alibaba.com. With the introduction of these online stores and online marketplaces, online shopping started to take shape globally.
In addition to that, in the year 2000, Google launched its own advertising service called Google Adwords, which opened up arenas for sellers to place advertisements on the Google Search Results Page and other popular platforms. Google Adwords helped sellers to frame advertisements and target buyers based on their shopping history and viewing preference. Therefore, Google Adwords became a platform that connected sellers to the right buyers on a large scale.
While the online shopping scenario continued on its journey of growth, a huge innovation that would change the online shopping scenario was just around the corner. In 2004, we were introduced to Shopify. Shopify is a popular online storefront service that enables low-scale sellers to set up their online stores at ease. Shopify renewed the concept of online stores and online shopping just like how WordPress changed the concept of websites and website design. The last five years have been crazy for the online shopping industry. There have been a number of e-commerce platforms that have helped to shape the online shopping industry and helped small scale and large scale businesses to run their business in a smooth and efficient manner
Why has Online Shopping become so popular in India?
The online shopping scenario has picked up pace in the country. Today, almost every household purchases a product from online stores every month. Online stores and online shopping have now become an integral part of every Indian’s life. Let’s take a look at how online shopping became so popular in India.
In today’s age, people want things to be done in an instant manner. We want to get the most number of things done in the least possible time, without having to spend a lot of time on the same. This is similar to shopping as well. With the increase in access to online stores, the shopping game in India has been completely redefined. We can easily shop from the comfort of our homes without having the need to travel through never-ending traffic and walk in and out of every store. This additional time that will be spent on travel and other activities can be put to use in a productive manner. This is one of the greatest reasons why online stores and online shopping sites became a quick hit in India.
One of the other major reasons why Online Shopping became so popular in India is because it gives everyone access to purchase any product of their choice. With the increase in access to smartphones and the internet, you can purchase any product of your choice straight to your home. Whether you live in a metropolitan city or in a small village on the outskirts, online shopping has made it easier for everyone to even import products from different countries and fulfil their needs with ease. This access to products at the global level is right at their doorstep, giving them a wholesome shopping experience at reduced costs.
Higher Discounts and Deals
One of the best advantages of online stores is that it offers a great deal of discounts and offers to customers. And who doesn’t like discounts? Since online stores offer a higher range of deals and offers, they have penetrated into the market and in most cases, the products bought online are much cheaper than physical establishments. Most online marketplaces, which host online stores, even go to the extent of burning their profits to offer discounts to customers and push down products to them.
The Future of Online Shopping
Yes, online stores and online shopping are the hottest trends right now, but what does the future hold for online shopping? Will it completely replace our traditional method of shopping? Will we no longer have physical stores offering products and services? Well, these are a few questions that we have to answer when we start speaking about the future of Online Shopping in India. At the moment, even though retail stores have their own autonomy, there has been a general shift towards online shopping and online stores in the current shopping scenario. As we look into different factors that have popularised online shopping, it’s time to give credit to a few technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, voice search, blockchain and cryptocurrency, we must note that they have helped the online shopping scenario to grow rapidly. Several experts suggest that the revenue from online stores, i.e. the e-commerce sector alone will grow to over $ 111.40 billion by 2025, says a report by IBEF. Overall, we can see that online stores and online shopping may turn out to replace retail stores in the near future.
With increased access to the internet, the need to get access to things instantly while staying in our comfort zone has increased the popularity of online shopping. Hence, the future of online shopping looks highly promising and we are sure that it will continue to grow and replace traditional shopping in the near future.