Yes indeed, 18 years have passed since eCommerce was ‘born’. Well, that’s according to some rather loose interpretation based on Wikipedia data. If you take the birth of eCommerce to coincide with Pizza Hut offering ordering on its web page then we can agree that 1994 was indeed the year shopping across multiple channels commenced.
From our perspective, however, the reason for 1994 being the arrival of eCommerce isn’t due to the fact that pizzas are now available via an online portal – we consider it the beginning of eCommerce as Netscape developed SSL encryption that made transactions secure.
Just consider the number of transactions made per minute across eCommerce channels. Hard to imagine? Try this example: each year Amazon releases its sales figures for transactions made during the holiday season.
- In 2002 20 items were ordered per second globally.
- In 2010, in comparison, 158 items were ordered per second worldwide.
While it’s fair to say that holiday seasons tend to be among the busiest periods, we know that online transactions are on the rise in the US but also around the world, as predicted by Forrester Research recently.
So, how about that security? Are our millions of transactions safe? Can we be sure that our personal data and bank details aren’t at risk of being stolen or compromised? Banks are already putting measures in place to protect customers, but what about other industry players?
Cybercrime still exists and SSL encryption, while a good start, needs to evolve. According to one security expert, the state of the online world is comparable to ‘living in the Wild West’. Whether you agree with this or not, it cannot be denied that we continually need to develop our security capabilities, particularly as transaction opportunities extend beyond the web and eCommerce into the mobile and social worlds.
So, let’s celebrate the coming of age of eCommerce. Now that it is a mature adult, in Europe at least (still another couple of years before it can raise a celebratory drink in the US), let’s hope we can continue to push the boundaries of security so we don’t get stuck in 1994.