eCommerce is an exciting industry that has grown and changed since the early 1990’s and the start of the Internet. However, much has changed since those early days. Now,eCommerce has grown to become an Industry that accounts for billions of dollars in revenue each year. By looking at the history of eCommerce, we can better prepare ourselves for the future growth and changes that will occur in 2015, as UGC becomes a driving force.
The History of eCommerce
In 1995 the introduction of online payment methods launched the rise of eCommerce into the digital market space that we all can enjoy today. Amazon and eBay were two of the first companies to take a step in the new online shopping digital frontier. Today, these pioneering influences are two of the most successful eCommerce companies. But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves in our brief history of eCommerce.
The Moment(s) it All Changed
The dot-com collapse in 2000 led to some changes within the eCommerce industry. Many companies pulled away; falsely thinking that the “era of the Internet” was slowly ending. However, brick and mortar retailers were only just beginning to discover the importance of online shopping. These companies saw advantages where their predecessors had previously failed. For example, Albertsons and Safeway took the place of failed online grocery store Webvan. The former companies allowed their customers to buy groceries online, and advantageous venture that continues today. By the end of 2001, B2B eCommerce had reach approximately $700 Billion in transactions and showed no sign of slowing down.
By 2005 shop.org had introduced the term “Cyber Monday” and product videos began to become the norm rather than the minority. Both of these events forever changed the way that eCommerce sites sold their products. Another ground-breaking change came in 2008 when Groupon forever altered the way that consumer’s shop for good deals. 2011 found the use of 3-D photography dominating the eCommerce scene. And by 2013 user-generated content had started to explode, once again causing a shift in the world of eCommerce.
eCommerce Today and in the Future
Today, eCommerce is a world that seeks to attract the consumer via positive reviews, multiple points of interaction, and the power of user-generated content. The previous consumer is now in charge of the buyer’s journey. This change in power was confirmed in a recent Nielsen report. The report revealed that online consumer reviews are now the second most trusted form of advertising with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online. A Bazaar report confirmed these findings when their analysts discovered that over 50 percent of Americans trust user-generated content more than the information provided by the company’s online website.
In 2015 and the years to come, we predict that user-generated content will continue to alter the eCommerce industry. Through the proper distribution of user-generated content, companies can expect to improve sales, customer engagement levels, and referral rankings. Just ask Free the People, Pepsi, Rent the Runway, Lululemon, GoPro, Dr. Marten’s, or any of the other numerous user-generated content marketing successes.