Today marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web: in March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee drew a diagram for what would become the Web while working at CERN, and the world was never the same again. The Web has changed almost every aspect of life, and according to PEW Research findings, of the 87% of Americans using the Internet, a large majority say it’s been a good thing both for them personally (90%) and for society (76%).
Today, one of the biggest ways the World Wide Web is altering our lives is by changing the way we buy and sell with one another. For example, a recent survey we conducted found that almost half (45%) of respondents’ 2013 holiday shopping—the busiest time of year for retailers—occurred online. That trend will only continue, as developments such as same day delivery, virtual dressing rooms and “click-and-collect” help put eCommerce at the forefront of all retail activity. In other words, online shopping is far beyond what it was when Amazon.com first opened shop in 1995.
But if you can’t see and feel a product online before buying it, can the Web really offer users the same “personal touch” they get in-store? Actually, it could be argued that eCommerce will eventually improve on the traditional shopping experience. For example, you could visit 5 bike stores before finding an employee knowledgeable enough to sell you the right bike. Alternatively, eCommerce technologies like smart sizing calculators can match you with a perfect bike regardless of where it’s purchased—and in the future, a 3D printer could build it right in front of you.
We don’t have to think of in-store shipping and online shopping as in total opposition to one another, either—they can actually complement each other. As Big Data analysis enables retailers to become more and more targeted in their marketing and sales efforts for specific geographies, it will allow them to stock local “brick and mortar” locations with the types of goods they know people will buy in a certain area. This is good news for the retailers, who save on logistics and shipping costs, and consumers, who don’t have to wait long periods of time or travel many miles to find the products they want.
At PEER 1, we know the human potential of the Internet is only just being scratched, including in the realm of eCommerce. We’re thrilled to see what our customers are doing to innovate in this rapidly evolving space, and look forward to the next 25 years of the World Wide Web!
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