History of eCommerce: from the origins to Dropshipping

History of eCommerce: from the origins to Dropshipping

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In recent years we are witnessing a real eCommerce explosion Thanks to different services that they offer us, from how to assemble one, to a complete dropshipping guide (being an intermediary in a sale so as not to keep stock).

But, leaving the marketing topic although based on its history as we already did with email marketing, ¿what is the history of eCommerce? When was it born and how did it get to the current situation?

To know in depth the history of electronic commerce, we will delve into its past, from the very origins of "non-physical" sales to the present.

History of eCommerce

The origins of the "non-physical" purchase

Before talking about eCommerce, we have to go back to 1920, when in the United States the catalog sale, a revolutionary form of sales in which the customer bought products without physically seeing them, but through catalogs with illustrative photos.

This method arose from the need to get the products to rural areas and hard-to-reach locations throughout the country.

1960 - Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The historical review continues until 1960 when the Electronic Data Interchange, often taken as the beginning of eCommerce, which allowed companies to electronically share information that was traditionally communicated on paper, such as purchase orders or invoices.

Currently there are so-called EDI technical standards to facilitate this transaction for the parties.

1979 - Michael Aldrich and the "Teleshopping"

In 1979, Michael Aldrich created the concept of Teleshopping, which consisted of modernizing the concept of catalog sales and giving it a greater reach through television, which by the 1980s would gain more strength as a marketing channel.

This allowed users to see the products and, if they were interested, buy them by phone with a credit card.

1982 - France Telecom and Minitel

With this small time jump, we come to 1982 when France Telecom invented Minitel, which is considered the most successful online service in the world pre World Wide Web (WWW).

1987 - Swreg - Sale of the first online software

This year, the company Swreg creates the first e-seller account to sell your software completely online.

1989 - Online shopping

In 1989, the company Peapod was the pioneer in offering the possibility of shopping for groceries through a home computer, connecting directly to its page.

1990 - The rise of WWW

In 1990 one of the most important milestones in the history of computing takes place. Tim Berners-Lee creates the first World Wide Web server and a search engine, being responsible for one of the greatest technological revolutions by completely modifying the form of communication and marketing through this new protocol.

Other milestones of the 1990s

The 1990s is a time of deepening of changes, emergence of large companies, and major modifications, which will lay the foundations for everything we know today.

Some of the most important milestones were:

1991 - The NSF (National Science Foundation) decides to lift the restrictions that fell on commerce in the NET, thus clarifying the path for eCommerce.


  • Netscape reveals the first SSL encrypted certificate.
  • The first third-party payment services begin to appear to process sales made with online credit cards.
  • Open the first online bank: Security First National Bank

1995 - This year marks the start of two of the most important companies in the world in the digital environment: Amazon and eBay. In addition, the Verisign company begins to develop digital IDs.

1998 - Three major new players appear in the world of eCommerce: Yahoo Stores, Google and the launch of PayPal.

The turn of the century: the explosion of eCommerce

The turn of the century brings us to eCommerce explosion due to a series of events that led to its expansion. Namely:

  • 2001, Amazon.com launches its mobile eCommerce.
  • 2002, eBay buys PayPal
  • 2003, Apple launches its own store: iTunes.
  • 2004, credit card companies create data security standards (PCI).
  • 2005, Web 2.0 appears, which makes sites more interactive.
  • 2007, Prestashop, the world's leading eCommerce software company, is founded.
  • 2008, Magento is launched, the great competitor of Prestashop

From 2010 onwards

From this moment it begins to emerge the Web 3.0, with social networks at the forefront and the massification of web pages to any user thanks to free software companies.

But in addition, services such as Shopify, which allow you to create an online store without the need for technical knowledge or, most importantly, stock storage by operating through dropshipping. If you want to know how it works, we recommend the following guide to learn more.

And so, after this review of the history of ecommerceThis is how we get to the present day, where thousands are the users who own their own online stores and millions are the users who day by day carry out transactions in them, from the largest and most well-known to those aimed at a specific audience.

Image: William Potter in Stock Photo at Shutterstock

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news about archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.

Video: MY STORY - From $0 TO $224KMONTH - Shopify Dropshipping Success Story