What is e-commerce?

Brief history of the online shopping industry

Buying and selling on the internet, or e-commerce as it is generally known, has rocketed over the last decade. Success stories such as Amazon, and fashion retailer ASOS are just the tip of a

Today the notion of e-commerce covers everything from one-man-bands selling novelty t-shirts out of a spare room, to interntational airlines allowing passengers to buy their tickets and check-in from the comfort of their own livingrooms.

According to online retail group IMRG , the first secure online shopping transaction in the UK was for the sale of a book from WH Smith back in 1995. However, the first actual online sale was in the US during the previous year when a CD by Sting was purchased.

IMRG figures reveal that monthly online spending is now in the billions, and in 2007, internet shopping in the UK topped the £100bn mark.

Since that first recorded web sale took place in 1994, trade between businesses via the net has also grown. More than half of all British firms now buy goods and services online.

It is estimated that by 2011, 70% of the UK shopping population will regularly buy goods online, and web buying will represent 10% of the total retail market value.

It’s little wonder then that many budding entrepreneurs find the prospect of setting up an e-commerce business an appealing one. This section will walk you through everything you need to consider for setting up your online shop.




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