Ecommerce Timeline: Evolution through the decades

Over the years, as the tech hardware evolved, parallel growth was seen in the ecommerce industry. 10 years back, who had ever thought that just not the books, clothes, even the bare necessities would be fulfilled by the online channels. While many popular retail stores and brands have online shopping available, the growth of online marketplaces such as Amazon have changed how people consume with added layers of convenience and confidence. Today, it is much easier to sell and buy online as there are a variety of options available. It is no longer a monopoly of a single player, hence exploitation of sellers isn’t possible. The major changes that have been witnessed in the ecommerce ecosystem so far are: the rise of the online marketplaces, mobile shopping has seen an unprecedented rise as compared to the web based shopping, progress in the various audio visual technologies to ease the experience, and a seamless increase in online and digital marketing. Let’s dive into the past and check out how magical was the evolution of shopping.

  • 1982: BBS Ecommerce

BoCoEx, launched by the Boston Computer Exchange, was the first eCommerce company in the world. It was based on a simple concept that allowed people to buy and sell computers online. Though the company began as a paper database, it quickly adapted to a computerised database for convenience. It was much like our today’s ecommerce marketplaces where sellers would upload their inventory, where buyers could browse it. They would then put in an order – via telephone since this was still pre-internet – and pay the sellers.

  • 1995: Giants were born

With the motto of “get big fast”, Amazon opened up in 1995 as an online bookseller. Within a month, the fledgling retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. It did not stop here. Eventually, it morphed into an ecommerce colossus that sold anything and everything from furniture, clothing to electronics. Since then, Amazon is consistently testing its hands in different arenas and has come up with flying colors.

  • 1999: The Alibaba Spell

It’s a perfect example of how one man’s vision can transform the reality of shopping. Started off in a small apartment in China, Alibaba is the No.1 wholesale internet marketplace. Commerce-starved China, with hundreds of millions of consumers with money to spend, was the perfect landing spot for Alibaba. People no longer had to get into a car or bus to hit the malls, instead they could buy anything they wanted at the best possible price. 

  • 2009: Launch of BigCommerce 

After meeting in a chatroom, Eddie Machalaani and Mitch Harper founded a company in 2009 with one goal in mind: Allow small businesses to simply set up a professional online store. If we look back, from aiding people to place orders via telephone, technology has come a long way. Giants like BigCommerce now help the retailers around the globe to set up their online store in a click. 

  • 2020: The magic of Baaz

With the launch of Baaz, no dimension was left undeciphered in shopping. For today’s people, the 1995 solutions are traditional and boring. Why should online shopping lack emotions? Shopping has to be fun and interactive, be it online or offline. Hence, Baaz came up with live video shopping as the solution. It helps to take up your business online in no less than a minute and that too with minimized returns and maximum client satisfaction. 

These are just a few of the benchmarks, there is a lot more which is gaining pace. Be it AR/VR, drone based delivery, single day delivery, and whatnot. If you come up with a benchmark that created history, do mention in the comments below. 



Going shopping in the new world

Going shopping in the new world

A man shopping at a DVD store in New Delhi. As a child growing up in the 80s, I would listen to music on my cassette player or walkman. If neither...


2 min read

Read article Going shopping in the new world