My Parcel Delivery Blog

Marking 20 years of online shopping

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It is hard to believe that only 20 years ago secure online shopping didn’t exist! It was on this day in 1994 that a man called Phil Bradberger went shopping online with a company called "Net Market" and, by buying a CD of Sting’s "Ten Summoner's Tales", made history. The following day The New York Times announced that the "Internet is Open" and a new era in shopping had begun.

Over the past two decades the internet has changed the way many of us shop. No longer are we willing to travel from shop to shop, battling the elements and comparing prices to get the best deal on everything from a new toothbrush to a new bathroom. We are now much happier to sit at home, laptop, tablet or mobile in hand. We can browse in the comfort of our own home before choosing our item and then waiting excitedly for it to be delivered just a few short days later. This is so much so that UK online spending for 2014 is predicted to be a massive £107bn – a long way from 1994 when champagne corks were popped over the first successful secure online purchase of a CD being made.

What made this change so significant to retail? James Roper, Chairman of IMRG, marked 20 years of online shopping by visiting the John Lewis Distribution Centre and commented that "Online shopping has really transformed consumers' expectations in three particular ways"

    1. Range – we now have access to far more than what is available on our local high-street. In fact, we now have tens of millions of products at our fingertips instead of the thousands previously on offer
    2. Convenience – the ability to shop wherever we want and whenever we want means that we can find what we need within the touch of a few buttons
    3. Value – online shopping saves not only money but time too as there is no travel time to take into account, especially when the store has sold out!

But we don’t think this is the end of the story. We are quickly becoming true multi-channel shoppers as 57% of smartphone users report using their phone in store while hunting for more sizes, more information and even better prices. Some stores are even attaching QR codes to their labels, allowing us to go directly to their website to help make that purchase decision. This means that the savviest of shoppers are finding the best of both worlds, being able to see and touch the product they want, but having the technology available to find out even more. Clever shoppers are now in the driving seat and we cannot see that stopping.

As we continue to embrace online shopping, and more and more people supplement their income by becoming eBay sellers, Amazon sellers or creating their own small business, we are selling and sending more and more. So we say thank you to Phil Bradberger for making history and helping to develop the internet into what we know today.