The History and Future of Ecommerce: Integration is Key

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E-commerce: 35 Years in the Making !

Has it really been 35 years since E-commerce was invented? Well, to be specific, the proto-online shopping cart came to be in 1979 paving the path to other technologies now in use to sell online. As you can see from the infographic timeline below [Source: Visual.ly] it wasn’t until 1991 when the National Science Foundation lifted the commercial ban on the Internet paving the way for Ecommerce.

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Unless you live under a rock or in a cave it’s pretty safe to predict that E-commerce will continue to be a key revenue channel for many companies in the years to come. Mobile phones, tablets and social networks are contributing to the always on, always connected way of life. Emerging technologies in social and mobile commerce will further solidify E-commerce as a key channel for sales for both B2C and B2B companies.

In fact here are some facts and predictions on B2B and B2C Ecommerce sales:

  • ● Global E-commerce sales will exceed $1.8 Trillion by 2016 with North America accounting for over $580 Billion. [Source: B2C E-commerce Climbs Worldwide, as Emerging Markets Drive Sales Higher | eMarketer]
  • ● U.S. B2B E-commerce sales in 2012 were over $550 billion. [Source: eCommerce a la Carte | e2b teknolgies]
  • ● Over 80% of customers from B2B companies demand online ordering. Companies are aiming to use Ecommerce to increase bottom line and average order size. [Source: 2013 E-commerce Report | Intershop]

Related: VL’s Data Integration Predictions for 2014

So What’s Next for Ecommerce?

B2B and B2C Ecommerce systems, processes, transactions, workflow and data have to integrate in today’s always on, always connected markets. Just in time manufacturing is now being implemented in other areas of the supply chain. If you’re a manufacturer you’ll find yourself drop shipping products for retailers direct to the consumers home. You’ll be selling online direct to your commercial buyers who in turn will be selling those orders directly off of their own E-commerce sites. Welcome to the world of “Omni-channel”.

As Robin Smith points out in his post: Improving Business Performance with Data Integration, key systems are in play when a consumer or organization places an order. Your business doesn’t control what systems are being used by trading partners, suppliers and retailers but that doesn’t excuse/exclude your organization from seamlessly integrating with them!

Data integration using EDI and now more and more APIs (via connectors) are now possible for various systems including those for: Point of Sale; Accounting Packages/ERP; Marketing Automation; eCommerce shopping carts; Warehouse Management. These systems are integral to the fulfillment of products to the end consumer/buyer. Whether you make, warehouse, distribute, ship or sell products the systems you and your trading partners use need to speak to each other via data integration.  

Where do we go from here?

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