Just about everyone in America has at least heard the term E-commerce. However, many people are not familiar with the history of it or the many forms in which it occurs. E-Commerce is defined as the exchange of goods and services over the Internet. According to the 2000 Government Census 1 out of 5 people have purchased something online. However, the U.S. Department of commerce says that only 1% of all retail trade in the U.S. was made over the Internet. There are many different reports available about the growth of E-Commerce, however they pretty much all stick to the same general idea: there has been incredible growth in the past, but it is now starting to slow.
E-commerce has been around almost since the inception of the Internet. Yet, It didn’t take off until the release of Mosaic in 1993, the first graphical Web browser. Mosaic allowed users to bring up pictures and other graphical objects on the web. This was not widely used; big corporations and government agencies mostly used it. In 1994, Marc Andreessen, one of the developers of Mosaic, co-founded Netscape Communicator Corp., they released the Netscape Navigator, the second graphical Web browser. The freely distributed Netscape brought worldwide interest to the Internet and web. It marked the beginning of a new business era. In 1995, Microsoft stepped in the web browser market, released the Internet Explorer version 1.0. Newer versions of this have become the prominent web browser out today. E-Commerce grew more and more with each release of the newest browser. In January 1996 there were only 100,000 websites published online, last year there were over 7 million websites online. Nearly 60% of all Americans have access to the net from home. Of all the industries worldwide, it is very rare that we see one grow as fast as the Internet. In just about 10 years, it has grown from being unheard of or used by the public, to one of the most widely used resources for information and advertisement.
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There are many different forms E-Commerce today. The biggest and best know form of E-Commerce are companies that started as non-Internet companies but now offer their services online. These companies usually allow online ordering and information about their products or services. Some examples of these would be Sears, Dillards or Radioshack.
The web has spawned a whole new generation of businesses, which are Internet based businesses. These companies solely rely on Internet sales as revenue. The most successful is Amazon.com.
Another major form of E-commerce that has affected our economy greatly is online trading of stocks. Some analysts say that this has had a horrible impact on the market because it enables people with little or no knowledge of the market to buy and sell at their own will, therefore, making it very hard to predict different shifts in stock prices. Not only has this affected the stock market, but also, it has created other online trading companies. Some examples of these are E-trade and Ameritrade.
An additional well-known form is online auctions or trading. Of course, the biggest online auction is E-bay. This allows customers to buy practically anything you could imagine online, usually at incredibly low prices. Another large auction is Yahoo Auctions.
E-Commerce plays a big part in the world today. I am sure it is going to play an even a bigger part in the future, so it is good to know a little about its history, what it is, and a variety of ways it takes place.
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It’s reported that the number one reason that people have not purchased something online is because they do not believe it is safe and secure. Actually it is far more secure than giving your credit card number out over the telephone. As fast as the web is growing, it is surprising that a small percentage of people that have taken advantage of it.