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A Tale of Two Revolutions - Ecommerce: A Historical Perspective
The World As It Then Was
The dynamic economic growth of the late 19th century placed greater and greater demand on horses to deliver manufactured goods between train and local destinations. Horses pulled stagecoaches, buggies, omnibuses, cabs and even shipping barges in canals. Hitching posts, mounting blocks, and water troughs were everywhere throughout cities in Europe and America. Beautiful carriage houses catered to the wealthy. Horse doctors were highly respected and treated humans as well. Blacksmiths were prominent members of every community.
On the farms, horses pulled wagons laden with supplies, and carried saddled riders throughout the rough terrains. Stronger and larger horses were bred to pull the new plowing and reaping machines. Carriage makers, harness makers, feed merchants, hardware producers, farm equipment manufacturers and the great livestock industry all thrived on the horse.
The World Changing Invention
In 1885 Karl Benz invented the first gasoline-powered automobile, with a lot of help from his wife Bertha. Other makers followed, but the auto was very expensive and generally considered a recreational vehicle for the elite.
The Transportation Revolution
In 1903, Henry Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in the United States proclaiming, "I will build a car for the great multitude." By 1908, he was offering the Model T for $950 and by 1914; Ford had invented the first conveyor belt assembly line. He was able to produce a Model T every 93 minutes, which was eventually lowered to every 27 seconds! He reduced the workday to three 8-hour shifts and paid his workers five dollars a day; double what other manufacturers were paying!
Can you imagine the joy? People could now explore long distances from home and return easily on the same day! Suburbs were created away from work in the cities. National highways were created. Recreational travel became popular as people experienced the unbelievable freedom of affordable automobiles. It must have been amazing to live in such times watching the complete transformation of society from top to bottom.
What Happened to the Blacksmiths?
The Blacksmiths, carriage makers, horse doctors, and horse driven industries would suffer tremendous change and downsizing; a transportation revolution was underway. Mercifully the changes took place over a couple decades. There would be a messy transition period as horses and gasoline powered vehicles shared the same roads.
Another World Changing Invention
In 1969, The Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Defense Department created a system that could transmit information between military installations through a network of geographically separated computers called the ARPAnet. They invented revolutionary new technology to accomplish this success. As the technology grew, this Internet, as it soon would be called, became the domain of scientists, university researchers, government entities and intellectual elites. But if your work wasn't included in this circle, the Internet was a government mystery.
The Information Revolution
Tim Berners-Lee could be considered, "The Henry Ford of the Internet" because like Ford, he brought a fantastic invention, enjoyed by the elite, to the mainstream customer.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a new project at CERN, a research organization out of Geneva where he worked that would build upon a pet project he built for his own computer in 1980. Modeled after how he saw the human brain organize information, it enabled him to link one piece of information in one file to another file, "to keep track of all the random associations one comes across in real life" but that our brains often forget. He called the program, "Enquire" which was short for "Enquire Within Upon Everything", a British encyclopedia he had used in childhood.
The guiding principle of Tim's new project was unlimited expansion. He would design a system with no central control or index and would therefore be infinite in capacity. If it worked, it could dramatically change the nature of the Internet, which most people still had never heard of, much less ever used. Tim would call his new invention WorldWideWeb.
WWW: Information Without Limits
Tim designed an addressing structure so that each web site, would have a specific location called the "Universal Resource Locator" (URL) He put together an easy to learn coding system called HyperText Mark-Up Language (HTML), so that files could be linked to one another allowing people to "jump" from one page to another, across unlimited amounts of files on unlimited numbers of computers. The rules he designed to facilitate this were called the HyperText Transfer Protocol. (HTTP)
The First Browser
By 1990, he created the first browser-editor to employ the new rules and coding; he called it the "WorldWideWeb". In 1991 the World Wide Web debuted bringing order and clarity immediately to the murky and mysterious Internet. Anyone could use Tim's browser and connect to anyone's computer with a URL (web address) jumping from computer to computer through Tim's updated version of Enquire.
A new and vast information system was now coming to the masses of ordinary people. The terms "Internet" and "World Wide Web" are now used synonymously but as you can see, they were once vastly different. Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web and within five years of his invention, Internet use grew from 60,000 to 40 million.
As of March 24, 2005, there were 888,681,131 Internet users worldwide or 13.9% of total world population. In North America there were 328,387,059 Internet users or 67.4% of the population. Internet usage grew 146.2% last year alone. There was a whole new class of millionaires created by the dot-com expansion of the 1990's and it's now hard to find a major business without a website. This is a revolution like none other in history and it's happening now.
Business Freedom and E-commerce
With corresponding breakthroughs in digital payment systems, including credit cards and electronic checks, Internet sales systems such as the online shopping cart allow anyone to browse and also purchase goods and services from any computer on the Web. Today there are still a few "blacksmiths" who believe the old ways are better, and maybe for those stalwarts of the brick and mortar economy, the old ways are better. But households are becoming more and more comfortable shopping from hundreds of millions of home computers worldwide. Total e-commerce sales in the United States for 2004 is $69.2 billion, as estimated by the Census Bureau, increasing from 23.5 percent over 2003. Anyone can have a website and sell products online to anyone in the world.
"I Was Born On the Internet"
There is now a whole generation who grew up using the Internet and they have no problem buying or selling products and services online. Shopping is convenient, fast and the delivered directly to home or business.
The Global Economy
The global economy now makes it easy to import and export online worldwide. Flowers are grown in South America, sold in the United States and managed from a company in Holland. Salmon is sold directly from fisherman in Alaska. Prices can be compared to similar products around the world. Merchants no longer need to maintain large stocks of products in buildings. An online store can take an order, process the payment, deposit it into the merchant's bank account, and a different company called a "drop shipper" can fulfill the sale and send out the merchandise.
Encouragement From Uncle Sam
According to the Small Business Administration, "The Internet is proving to be a significant business leveler, allowing small and medium-size companies to compete with the giants on the same global playing field...Whether you are a consumer or a business-to-business resource, some of the most efficient marketing and selling tools are available via the Internet, and the potential of reaching a vast audience is open to you through the World Wide Web."
Conclusion: Are You Part of the Revolution?
In 1905 one might ask, "Are you delivering your products by horse, or have you purchased a Ford motorized delivery wagon? In 2005 people are asking, "Can I buy your products online or do I have to get in my car and come out to your store? What's your web address?" If you haven't jumped in, it's never too late. The Information Revolution has only just begun.
Selling From Your Website
Is ECommerce Right for Our Business?
If your business features products or services for sale, undoubtedly the topic of eCommerce has come up. What is eCommerce? Literally defined as "the conduct of financial transactions by electronic means," it refers to purchases made over the Internet. There are popular slang terms such as ebusiness, click and mortar, dotcom, cyber-mall and multiple spellings (eCommerce, e-commerce, E-Commerce), but they are all basically the same thing. Don't let the different phrases confuse you, it all comes back to the same principle: selling online.
To conduct business on the Internet, whether informal, one-time only transactions between two friends, or a full-fledged business selling products or services, payment arrangements have to be made. Before 1998, this often meant either checks sent through snail-mail, or very expensive, and often hard-to-obtain, merchant accounts for online credit card processing. In 1998, PayPal was introduced to fill the payment processing gap.
Effective Management Of Your Customer Services
With a third party merchant account you will have a dedicated 24/7 support team to handle your credit card payment on your behalf as part of your package. You will also need to provide your own support for issues relating directly to your product.
A Tale of Two Revolutions - Ecommerce: A Historical Perspective
The World As It Then Was
Succeed With Your Own Home Based Business
An internet business is by far the best way to support yourself if you just cannot stand working for others for less money than you need to survive. It's also the best way to get out of a good paying job that just takes up too much of your precious short life working for someone else. Let's face it, you probably know someone who has an internet business. Do they look happy to you? Do they complain as much about work and money as you do? Probably not.
Overcoming Frustration with Technology
For whatever reason, when we get a new boost in productivity, whether that be from a tool, technology or technique...we quickly forget how much more efficient it's made us. It's human nature. It's like the commuter who gets angry about how bad traffic is, but forgets what a pain it was to wait for the bus. Or the cell phone user who complains about a bad connection, and forgets about the days when he had to fish for spare change to make a call from a pay phone.
Intranet Portals ? Collaboration through Team Rooms
Knowledge Management for beginners
Guide To Safe Online Shopping
Online shopping can be a little frightening to people who are new to the internet,but as long as you follow a few easy rules you should have no problem shopping online.
Projecting Your Image
Whether you sell a product or merely sell time to your employer in your labor, your main product is you. You sell yourself with every move you make, every word you speak or write, every attitude you display. How far you go up the ladder depends largely on the image you project to others.
Top Ten Qualities to Look for in an Online Pharmacy
As you may have noted, there are thousands or even hundreds of thousands of websites selling pharmaceutical products or drugs. These are called ONLINE PHARMACIES or PHARMACIES ONLINE.
Complementary-Relational Linking and How It Could Save Your Internet Business
The concept of linking is that sites with common interests should link to drive more traffic to each other's businesses and to increase their "popularity." Search engines, such as Google, give much higher ranking to sites with high popularity. They feel that when many sites are linking to yours, it's a sign of ranking value.
Why Suppliers Should Use B2B Exchanges
Business to business e-commerce is on the rise! Worldwide B2B e-commerce revenues are estimated to reach around US$ 2 trillion in 2004. This is a significant leap from last year's US$ 1.4 trillion. However, according to a recent survey, although, more than 70% of companies have already used Internet as a purchasing channel, a mere ten percent of their overall spending is directed via the Internet! Contrary to popular believe, this means, B2B e-commerce has still large potential to grow.
Developing a Winning e-Commerce Strategy
One bright spot on the economic horizons around the world seems to be continued consumer spending and e-commerce is clearly a part of this, with sales estimated to be in excess of $9.9 billion in the next three months according to ACNielsen. But there is a dark cloud hovering over this sunny e-commerce landscape called poor web site design. Let's explore some of the reasons why consumers are not reaching for their credit cards after perusing an e-commerce web site.
Selecting The Right Shopping Cart For Your Website
Shopping Cart Installation And Setup
Online Merchant Account - Costs and Alternatives
Merchant Account Basics
Expand Your Local Business Through the Internet
To obtain more local customers for your business, consider expanding your local business through the Internet. Here are some ways of doing so.
Leveraging Open Source Technology
Open Source applications can bring unique value to business owners. Since the base application development costs of open source applications is free, small and medium business owners are able to leverage previously unobtainable technolgies against their sales objectives, operational costs and customer satisfaction levels.
Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart
Are you a website owner or a web designer/developer? If either applies, I would venture to say that eventually you'll need an online shopping cart for one of your websites. In fact, almost all new websites today need some sort of ecommerce built-in, for the purpose of selling goods and services in the online marketplace.
Content Ever be Profitable?
THE CURRENT WORRIES
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