7 Predictions On The Next Era Of Digital Retail
When Amazon launched in 1995, only 3% of Americans had ever been on the Internet, let alone purchased anything online. Both the concept of the web and e-commerce were startlingly new. Just a year earlier in fact, the New York Times had run a story with the headline: “Attention Shoppers: Internet Is Open,” breathlessly reporting the first online transaction, the sale of a Sting CD.
Also in 1995, Auction Web went live, which was to become eBay. The first sale on the site? A broken laser pointer – to a collector of broken laser pointers no less – for $14.83. The “Long Tail” had begun.
1995 was the dawn of the first era of digital retail. This age was all about the Internet as a research and shopping tool, largely anchored to a desktop PC, accessed via a dial-up connection. (Remember that dial-up sound?) The shift to online commerce, while slow to begin with, shook up a physical retail world, which at the time was dominated by “category killers.”