A long time ago, well, it seems like that anyway, the internet was invented. It was great, and people could email each other and watch funny cat videos.
Then, someone had the great idea of making an auction website. This auction website became very popular. Ordinary people could sell things that they owned to other people around the world. Pretty soon ways of handling payment were streamlined and the whole process became easy and fun.
It was the first time that a global market became available to ordinary individuals in their homes.
Things were never going to be the same again. Online shopping was born.
Sites like eBay and services like PayPal changed the consumer environment forever. Although it didn’t seem like it back in 2000, the consumer landscape was going to experience a lot of changes in the very near future.
Whilst only a few of the original dot com bubble businesses made it through to today, these notable examples give us an indication of the foundation of today’s global market. This was the first time that money had moved so fluidly around the world, and although it caused problems at first, once the genie was out of the bottle, there was no way of getting it back in.
The Next Generation Of Shops
Once eBay and other similar sites had gained enough attention, there was a growing expectation that services could be moved online.
Very slowly, larger companies began offering online ways of payment, but they didn’t do anything new or achieve anything different. Buying online from a supermarket is not much different from going in-store and buying from a supermarket.
What really changed things was when individuals began moving away from places like online auction sites and creating their own online real estate. This was a real game-changer.
Now, rather than relying on the corporate offerings of big business, anyone, from anywhere in the world could go online and purchase pretty much anything they wanted from someone on the other side of the globe.
Consumers no longer had to content themselves with the ordinary. Now the out of the ordinary, rare, weird, wonderful, individual and interesting was all a click away.
The Asian Tiger
At the same time, the economies of China, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong were undergoing huge growth.
It was a perfect storm.
Pretty soon, ‘Made In China’ began to sound like an opportunity rather than a problem.
A new market began to open up. Individual shop owners could now easily communicate with manufacturers who could provide them with cheap goods, and lots of it.
White label goods could be bought by individuals and re-branded to suit their own business requirements.
Dropshipping brought a whole new spin to the notion of selling online. It was now perfectly possible to run a business selling physical products to buyers across the globe without ever having to handle a piece of inventory at any stage of the process.
Now, the market is dominated by one big player, and ‘Fulfilled By Amazon’ is synonymous with the re-branding of mass-produced goods from the east.
Artists And Makers
In other areas, those selling things that they made themselves, often with a close connection to the place that they were made in could open up to global audiences.
Where previously an artist may have not been able to make a living selling their creations locally, they could now sell to a global audience.
Passions became businesses.
Artists, makers and creators could turn hobbies into businesses that reached around the globe.
...And individuals changed shopping.