The history of the Internet begins with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. Initial concepts of packet networking originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET. The first message was sent over the ARPANET from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).
Development of EC applications started in the early 1970s with electronic funds transfer (EFT), which refers to the computer-based systems used to perform financial transactions electronically. However, the use of these applications was limited to financial institutes, large corporations, and some daring businesses.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) was then developed in the late 1970s to improve the limitation of EFT. EDI enlarged the pool of participating company from manufacturers, retailers, services, and others. Such systems were called Interorganizational System (IOS).
An Interorganizational System (IOS) allows the flow of information to be automated between organizations to reach a desired supply-chain management system, which enables the development of competitive organizations.
From the 1990s onwards, electronic commerce would additionally include enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), data mining and data warehousing.
The term ‘electronic commerce’ was coined in the early 1990s when Internet became commercialized and users began flocking to participate in the World Wide Web. EC applications were then rapidly expanded.
Possibly EC is introduced from the Telephone Exchange Office. The earliest example of many-to-many EC in physical goods was the Boston Computer Exchange, a marketplace for used computers launched in 1982. The first online information marketplace, including online consulting, was likely the American Information Exchange, another pre-Internet online system introduced in 1991.
History of ecommerce is unthinkable without Amazon and Ebay which were among the first Internet companies to allow electronic transactions. Thanks to their founders we now have a handsome ecommerce sector and enjoy the buying and selling advantages of the Internet. Currently there are 5 largest and most famous worldwide Internet retailers: Amazon, Dell, Staples, Office Depot and Hewlett Packard. According to statistics, the most popular categories of products sold in the World Wide Web are music, books, computers, office supplies and other consumer electronics.
Amazon.com, Inc. is one of the most famous ecommerce companies and is located in Seattle, Washington (USA). It was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and was one of the first American ecommerce companies to sell products over the Internet. After the dot-com collapse Amazon lost its position as a successful business model, however, in 2003 the company made its first annual profit which was the first step to the further development.
At the outset Amazon.com was considered as an online bookstore, but in time it extended a variety of goods by adding electronics, software, DVDs, video games, music CDs, MP3s, apparel, footwear, health products, etc. The original name of the company was Cadabra.com, but shortly after it become popular in the Internet Bezos decided to rename his business “Amazon” after the world’s most voluminous river. In 1999 Jeff Bezos was entitled as the Person of the Year by Time Magazine in recognition of the company’s success. Although the company’s main headquarters is located in the USA, WA, Amazon has set up separate websites in other economically developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and China. The company supports and operates retail web sites for many famous businesses, including Marks & Spencer, Lacoste, the NBA, Bebe Stores, Target, etc.
Amazon is one of the first ecommerce businesses to establish an affiliate marketing program, and nowadays the company gets about 40% of its sales from affiliates and third party sellers who list and sell goods on the web site. In 2008 Amazon penetrated into the cinema and is currently sponsoring the film “The Stolen Child” with 20th Century Fox.
According to the research conducted in 2008, the domain Amazon.com attracted about 615 million customers every year. The most popular feature of the web site is the review system, i.e. the ability for visitors to submit their reviews and rate any product on a rating scale from one to five stars. Amazon.com is also well-known for its clear and user-friendly advanced search facility which enables visitors to search for keywords in the full text of many books in the database.