Everyday, more and more people go online for the very first time. They’ll send email, chat, and, with any luck for e-businesses, shop. Retailers are counting on the number of people who use the Internet to increase with even more rapidity than in the past due to modern technology. Gone are the days of UNIX command-line language, the days of impossibly slow connections and the days of consumer apprehension.

The technology of today plays a large role in how people shop online. DSL and cable connections, as well as ethernet, allow a computer to stay connected all the time. Studies have shown that people with a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) tend to spend more time online, and more time online shopping. For companies, this means increased sales in the Internet market.


New technology has also changed the way companies utilize e-commerce to gain revenue. In the early days, before Mosaic or Netscape, it wasn’t possible to show the market what they were purchasing in a visual form. For retailers, this meant that business was impossible. Since "surfing" was still undeveloped, finding any place on the World Wide Web in which to do business required knowing a supplier’s IP or drudgingly hard work locating it over the vast Internet. The introduction of Netscape in 1994 and Internet Explorer shorty thereafter revolutionized e-commerce.

Each year has seen new capabilities with web browsers that make Interent shopping much easier. Browsers have grown from programs that show graphics and formatted text to complicated systems capable of graphics, audio, interactivity and playing video. All of these characteristics are used by retailers across the market. For instance, Land’s End has a 3-D personal shopper that models clothes based on the users inputs. OldNavy.com has a feature that reminds shoppers of gift-giving occasions, including personal anniversaries and birthdays. Another unique feature available over the Internet is the ability to create your own product, like at www.diamondsareforever.com and MiniWebMall.com. As technology continues to grow, the capabilities of e-commerce will expand exponentially. However, more than technological advancement caused the increase in Internet shopping.

Internet Sales in 2001

After nearly a decade of popular Internet use, the world of e-commerce is expanding to more than just the early adapters. People who were afraid to shop online or buy a computer five years ago are now surfing on a daily basis. The Interenet has been accepted by the population faster than any previous technology. The growing economy of the 1990’s also promoted shopping in all forms. Booming trading online, travelling with tickets purchased at discounts over the Internet and the success of dot.coms all created an atmosphere that gave the average person a sense of security. This lead to e-commerce accounting for 1/3 of the total economic growth of the United States in 1998.

E-Commerce is still one of the leading forces of economic growth today. Many e-businesses, like pets.com, failed and recession hit America, but the popularity of the Internet continues to grow. People are now accustomed to buying tickets over the Internet, shopping for gifts before they even step foot in a store and researching products without leaving the comfort of their home. With the Internet still in its infancy, the future of e-commerce has the ability to evolve and again revolutionize the way people think about shopping.