The Evolution of Online Stores, Part One

Robert HoldemanWebsite Conversion

It was only about 15 years ago that most of us were wondering how anyone could make money with this new internet thing.  The slow speed of dial-up access kept a regulator on the numbers of web users and what could be done online.  But there were many who tried and some who were successful, surviving the “” bust of the late 90’s.  These hearty souls were perfecting the art of selling online and when technology caught up in the form of high-speed access and more powerful personal computers, they were poised to reap what they had sown.

eCommerce had been named and was out of its infancy by the first few years of the new millennium., Ebay, and its subsidiary PayPal, made the online credit card transaction commonplace.  Most websites that offered products for sale were custom built and were either very sophisticated, if operated by a major brick-and-mortar retailer, or very simple, if operated by a small business.  eCommerce was something many businesses aspired to, but which some could never successfully master.

Then along came the boys at Google (and I do mean boys) who revolutionized how buyers and sellers connected… by means of an efficient way to search for what you wanted coupled with a way to display paid ads to you based on your own interests.  And guess what?  They made lots of money on the web in ways no one thought of in 1995!

Even as every year online sales continue to rise, there are those who project the slowing down of that growth.  In mid-2007 the so-called experts were projecting that the year’s annual online revenue would be $116 Billion (that’s 5% of total retail sales folks) and was about to peak, so that the next few years would see a down-turn in that revenue.

Since then we have seen it rise to 6% of overall retail sales in 2008 (a growth rate of 13%) and there are predictions of 7%, or $156 Billion this year.  With the interest we have had in the past six months to a year at Comstar in eCommerce website development, the trend is probably not going to change soon.

With such growth you are probably thinking “I have to get in on this eCommerce thing!”  You’re probably right.

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