Ecommerce and Business Development: July 2017

Word version: ECommerceBusinessDevelopment

parts condensed from

E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following:


  • Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers
  • Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales
  • Business-to-business buying and selling
  • Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media
  • Business-to-business (B2B) electronic data interchange
  • Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters)
  • Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services
  • Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes




  • 1971 or 1972: The ARPANETis used to arrange a cannabis sale between students at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, later described as “the seminal act of e-commerce” in John Markoff‘s book What the Dormouse Said.[1]
  • 1979: Michael Aldrichdemonstrates the first online shopping[2]
  • 1981: Thomson Holidays UK is the first business-to-business online shopping system to be installed.[3]
  • 1982: Minitelwas introduced nationwide in France by France Télécom and used for online ordering.
  • 1983: California State Assemblyholds first hearing on “electronic commerce” in Volcano, California.[4] Testifying are CPUC, MCI Mail, Prodigy, CompuServe, Volcano Telephone, and Pacific Telesis. (Not permitted to testify is Quantum Technology, later to become AOL.)
  • 1984: GatesheadSIS/Tesco is first B2C online shopping system[5] and Mrs Snowball, 72, is the first online home shopper[6]
  • 1984: In April 1984, CompuServelaunches the Electronic Mall in the USA and Canada. It is the first comprehensive electronic commerce service.[7]
  • 1989: In May 1989, Sequoia Data Corp. Introduced Compumarket The first internet based system for e-commerce. Sellers and buyers could post items for sale and buyers could search the database and make purchases with a credit card.
  • 1990: Tim Berners-Leewrites the first web browser, WorldWideWeb, using a NeXT[8]
  • 1992: Book Stacks Unlimitedin Cleveland opens a commercial sales website ( selling books online with credit card processing.
  • 1993: Paget Press releases edition No. 3[9]of the first[citation needed] app store, The Electronic AppWrapper[10]
  • 1994: Netscapereleases the Navigator browser in October under the code name MozillaNetscape0 is introduced in late 1994 with SSL encryption that made transactions secure.
  • 1994: Ipswitch IMail Serverbecomes the first software available online for sale and immediate download via a partnership between Ipswitch, Inc. and OpenMarket.
  • 1994: “Ten Summoner’s Tales” by Sting becomes the first secure online purchase through NetMarket.[11]
  • 1995: The US National Science Foundationlifts its former strict prohibition of commercial enterprise on the Internet.[12]
  • 1995: Thursday 27 April 1995, the purchase of a book by Paul Stanfield, Product Manager for CompuServeUK, from W H Smith‘s shop within CompuServe’s UK Shopping Centre is the UK’s first national online shopping service secure transaction. The shopping service at launch featured W H SmithTescoVirgin Megastores/Our Price, Great Universal Stores (GUS), InterfloraDixons Retail, Past Times, PC World (retailer) and Innovations.
  • 1995: Jeff Bezoslaunches com and the first commercial-free 24-hour, internet-only radio stations, Radio HK and NetRadio start broadcasting. eBay is founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as AuctionWeb.
  • 1996: IndiaMARTB2B marketplace established in India.
  • 1996: ECPlazaB2B marketplace established in Korea.
  • 1996: The use of Excalibur BBSwith replicated “Storefronts” was an early implementation of electronic commerce started by a group of SysOps in Australia and replicated to global partner sites.
  • 1998: Electronic postal stampscan be purchased and downloaded for printing from the Web.[13]
  • 1999: Alibaba Groupis established in China. com sold for US $7.5 million to eCompanies, which was purchased in 1997 for US $149,000. The peer-to-peer filesharing software Napster launches. ATG Stores launches to sell decorative items for the home online.
  • 2000: Complete Idiot’s Guide to e-commerce released on Amazon
  • 2000: The dot-com bust.
  • 2001: achieved profitability in December 2001.
  • 2002: eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion.[14] Niche retail companies Wayfair and NetShops are founded with the concept of selling products through several targeted domains, rather than a central portal.
  • 2003: composts first yearly profit.
  • 2003: BossgooB2B marketplace established in China.
  • 2004: com, China’s first online b2b transaction platform, is established, forcing other b2b sites to move away from the “yellow pages” model.[15]
  • 2007: Business.comacquired by R.H. Donnelley for $345 million.[16]
  • 2009: acquired by for $928 million.[17] Retail Convergence, operator of private sale website, acquired by GSI Commerce for $180 million, plus up to $170 million in earn-out payments based on performance through 2012.[18]
  • 2010: reportedly rejects a $6 billion offer from Google. Instead, the group buying websites went ahead with an IPO on 4 November 2011. It was the largest IPO since Google.[19][20]
  • 2012: Zalora Group was founded and started operations around Asia.
  • 2014: processes over $1 million in Bitcoin sales.[21] India’s e-commerce industry is estimated to have grown more than 30% from 2012 to $12.6 billion in 2013.[22] US e-commerce and Online Retail sales projected to reach $294 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2013 and 9% of all retail sales.[23] Alibaba Group has the largest Initial public offering ever, worth $25 billion.
  • 2015: Amazon.comaccounts for more than half of all e-commerce growth,[24] selling almost 500 Million SKU’s in the US.[25]
  • 2016: aided more than 10,000 sellers[26] to generate more than $1 million of annual sales .[27]


Business applications for E-Commerce

Some common applications related to electronic commerce are:

  • Document automation in supply chain and logistics
  • Domestic and international payment systems
  • Enterprise content management
  • Group buying
  • Print on demand
  • Automated online assistant
  • Newsgroups
  • Online shopping and order tracking
  • Online banking





US – China Ecommerce

China’s Lead in E-Commerce

China and the Future of Ecommerce

Jamie Dimon: What the He#$ is wrong with the US?

Alibaba – US

Microsoft : Rural Airband

Visa : War on Cash

Elon Musk + AI

Tesla: Model 3 and Market Valuation

US – China – Regulations