Ecommerce and the online website development associated with it has transformed with the passage of time. Web commerce or the purchase of products and services over the World Wide Web through secure servers with e-shopping carts necessitates increasingly sophisticated ecommerce website development with the advancement of technology. When the web became known to the general public, in 1994, most predicted ecommerce became a force to reckon with. Between 1998 and 2000, many ecommerce businesses developed rudimentary sites.
The pure ecommerce firms saw a dent during the dot-com collapse in 2001, but many traditional, brick-and-mortar companies realised the companies had identified valuable niche markets to add ecommerce website capabilities to sites. As of 2005, ecommerce became entrenched in developed economies like the US, Western EU and specific Asian countries such as South Korea. Ten years ago, however, ecommerce website development was intensifying in industrialised nations and seemingly non-existent in Third World emerging economies. The story is so different now.
- Evolution of Ecommerce
One of the most popular activities on the web is shopping and from sell and buy online to commercial use, the internet as a marketplace has changed tremendously across time. By the end of 2007, ecommerce sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total sales. With the evolution of ecommerce websites, consumers could soon easily search through a large database of products and services. Once can see actual prices, order over several days and email the wish list. Customers can do comparison shopping online easily and purchase selected products at best prices. Online vendors also get an advantage due to the increasing sophistication of shopping sites online.
- A New Innovation
Websites, through search engines, provide a way to be found organically without investing big bucks in paid advertising. Even the small online stores can reach global markets. Web technology also allows the tracking of customer preferences and delivering individually tailored marketing. Electronic transactions were just the start, with companies such as Amazon and eBay turning around the ecommerce revolution. Worldwide retailers now include established brands such as Dell and HP.
- How Amazon Spearheaded the Revolution
At the outset, it all began with Amazon which started business as an online book store. But it soon expanded to other categories like health products, DVDs, video games, apparel and footwear. The company now supports retail websites for famous brands like Lacoste and Target. Ecommerce websites imbibed the review structure from Amazon, which is also well known for its user-friendly, clear search facility enabling visitors to search for keywords in full texts. Dell Inc. joined the ecommerce website development revolution, making the shift from a static page to a vibrant site that became the first company to record million USD in online sales.
Dell’s website allows users to choose and control, with visitors being able to browse the site and assemble PCs based on budgets and requirements. Instant access and the way websites changed how we shop led to the explosion of ecommerce. The rise of online marketplaces was not the only evolution in web development in the ecommerce world. A seamless shift to using mobile devices for online shopping then necessitated a responsive site. Website development was marked by the tremendous growth of digital marketing and online advertising tools and strategies. This has impacted sales and mainstream consumer shopping.
- The Rise of Online Marketplaces
In the past decade, online marketplaces have become a popular place for product vendors to make a sale, marketers to advertise and customers to shop. With popular retail stores and brands offering online shopping, website development as advanced as consumers access online stores with confidence and convenience. Amazon launched the mobile commerce sites as early as 2001 and Google Checkout was released 5 years later. By accessing such technologies, shopping online and paying for purchases became easier, as did comparison of prices, brands, and in-depth analysis using customer reviews. Top ecommerce CMS platforms like Magento were also born a decade back and changed the way ecommerce web development was approached since then.
- The Emergence of Responsive Sites
One of the most critical evolutions of ecommerce in present times is the ability to browse, compare and shop from mobile and responsive sites via smartphones and tablets. Mobile commerce helps buyers across the full spectrum of the consumer purchase decision journey. Persons can make purchasing decisions and buy brands without entering a store! The number of smartphone users is steadily rising. App-based mobile commerce is creating more interactive sites for ecommerce stores. Push notifications are yet another way ecommerce website development has changed over the previous 10 years, as these alerts re-engage customers and promote sales.
The mobile optimisation of ecommerce impacts how companies connect to clients and market products. Online marketing tools such as websites and apps have increasingly relied on rich, interactive media and gamification for quality results. Real-time product related information influenced the shopping choices of a majority of Millennial buyers, according to research by Pathwwway Limited. More ecommerce companies are shaping their online website to accommodate this requirement of audiences.
- Mixed Realities Making the Way to Mainstream Ecommerce
Virtual as well as augmented realities find their way to the mainstream, when it comes to ecommerce web development. For example, Aussie retailer Myer launched the first VR department store with eBay. Shoppers can now study thousands of Myer products through their virtual reality headsets. When a virtual reality store is entered, several categories of retail items are displayed and virtual aisles can serve to present these items in 3D. The company has launched the eBay Sight Search allowing items to be chosen by holding the gaze on products for a couple of seconds.
AR integrations into ecommerce portals are also offering an immersive and personalised web shopping experience. If customers are looking for products online, AR-powered apps can help them to visualise how the products would look and feel. Such AR features use mobile camera to capture any room, to scale and enable customers to see potential items before making the decision to make the purchase.