mithi

Internet, E-Commerce, Daily Deals, and Click-n-Mortar are all terms that are present in our daily vocabularies today. But, try mentioning these words to your great grandparents and they will probably give you a quizzical look, as it means nothing to them. The world as we know it today has changed and evolved from the world we knew ten years ago. Now, someone sitting in Australia buys “cool things” from a daily deal site in New Zealand which sources its products from China that are made by people


What is ecommerce?  
from the Philippines and gets it delivered to her doorstep without her having to step out of her fuzzy slippers. If you think this was possible before ‘e-commerce’ came into our lives – think again! So what is this magical term e-commerce that lets us buy things from all around the world simply through the magical portal called the Internet? How did it come into being and importantly how big is it really today in India? Put simply, e-commerce is the term used for buying and selling goods and ser- vices through the Internet. The first form of e-commerce started in the 1970s when it was used by businesses to send commercial documents such as purchase orders or invoices electronically.


However, it wasn’t until 1990 when the World Wide Web was introduced and it took another four years until advances such as online banking and the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut in USA took place. During this time (1994) Netscape introduced secure encryption of data transferred online which gave birth to Amazon in 1995 and E-bay in 1996 in the United States. However, in India, e-commerce did not really pick up steam until much later. In fact, in India online shopping only gained in popularity post the dot com bubble bust in 2000. In the past 12 years, online shopping within India has developed and evolved to a great extent. E-commerce in India has gone from having a few online buyers that were hesitant to buy even small ticket items despite having credit cards, to a thriving community of customers that are comfortable buying a wide range of items online and do so without owning any form of credit at all.

india, a vast country 
Due to the vast area that India is spread over and the unreliability of the postal system, e-commerce businesses had to invest significant amounts of money in planning the logistics and ensure that they were able to secure products from suppliers promptly and more importantly that customers received their products within the promised time-frame. For the customer that had to already deal with the disadvantage of being unable to experience the product prior to purchase, thanks to the ambiguity of the Indian postal system there was also the risk that the product may not reach your doorstep. Moreover, if it didn’t most e-commerce sites did not have a human being behind the website which meant that the customer had to accept that if anything did go wrong, there was no ‘collar’ that could be grabbed. 

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Mithilesh Joshi