25 Years of E-commerce

Technology has been the guiding light of change for the past 25 years. Fred and I have had a front seat. Our kids participated too in how the new tools of today are completely integrated of their everyday lives. That includes certain apps and the ease of commerce.

Twenty-five years ago a small CD shop sold the first item online through a marketplace. Now you can’t exist without an e-commerce platform, web/phone presence. I remember when Net-A-Porter launched. I bought a red handbag. Then they had yet to figure out the pricing so the bag was in euros and when I saw it months later in a store, I realized that I had saved some money buying it from Europe. Now Net-A-Porter is a global business.

Where will the direct to consumer be in 10 years? The ease of global online shopping is incredible and there are too many sites out there that are terrible and probably not secure. People still want to stroll and shop but for toilet paper? How will e-commerce be integrated into the brick and mortar experiences? How will customer acquisition change in crowded spaces?

I grew up when dial changed to touchtone on the phone. Our kids grew up with iPhones. Ease of consumption be it commerce or content is on our phone. Contemplating the passage of time and how society and generations change.  So what’s next?

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    If done right, I’d like to see VR infiltrate e-commerce in a good way.

    1. Gotham Gal

      We will see. I have yet to be sold on VR for anything but architecture projects

      1. William Mougayar

        definitely VR is great for real estate.VR Light for e-commerce.

      2. Mark Gavagan

        VR could be great for helping customers experience and learn how to use (& repair) difficult-to-sample products & services (mining & fire fighting equipment, etc.).

  2. pointsnfigures

    voice….just tell a device what you want and an AI assistant will find the item at the cheapest all in price (delivery and tax) and bring it to you.

  3. awaldstein

    We grew up in parallel paths with some differences of course.I spent a decade putting businesses on line.What we are just beginning to do is learning how to sell online.Most e-commerce sites are amazing at catalogue buying, almost all are terrible at selling.It’s hard. It’s why Amazon has failed 3 times with wine online.I don’t think VR is the answer, its something simpler, more difficult though some brands are coming close, most in the fashion world.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The fashion world has continued to go back to the well time and time again to figure out how to engage with their consumer. Unfortunately the styles and mass skus they are putting out is making it more difficult to have continued success

      1. awaldstein

        True–but I keep watching them as our relationship to our clothes, to how we look and all the complexities around that are the perfect place to focus in on that one thing that can make it work.Brilliant inventory management and logistic successes like TheRealReal honestly amaze me that they pulled it off. Or new women’s brands like Carbon38 are just monsters that justify study.

        1. Gotham Gal


    1. Gotham Gal

      Interesting. Are you invested in this?

      1. Semil Shah

        Yes. i’ve known the founder for a while, so invested a small amount early. He has a real long term vision about reducing consumer goods ownership. But hard model to make work.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Very hard

    2. Mark Gavagan

      Wow! Difficult to profitably manage logistics and delight users every single time they swap-out for another cache of items, especially with such a broad range of categories, but I admire the pursuit of such an ambitious idea. Good luck!

  4. Gaby Fernandes DaSilva

    I can only see VR being meaningfully used as a utility in this space, for instance to help combat high return rates due to sizing/fit (especially in footwear). I think return rates aren’t talked about nearly as much as they should be in this space. Digital clothing is also super interesting and definitely something to watch (https://www.voguebusiness.c…. I personally think the future of ecomm and DTC brands in general will be about honing in on a Glossier type model and mindset; where customers are co-creating with brands (both content and product). Co creation is nothing new but the way Glossier has scaled it is pretty incredible. I think content and storytelling will continue to grow and become increasingly more important. I also think that business models will continue to change (and personally I think need to change ASAP) which is really exciting. I think subscription/service models will continue to grow (seeing Nike launch their sneaker subscription for kids this week was very interesting and I think a very smart move). I hope that these models soon evolve more into circular/closed loop models and eventually regenerative models (what For Days is building is incrediblehttps://fordays.com/ and Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop project). Something else that is rarely discussed in this space which I think should be is the negative environmental impacts of all the shipping. I think Patagonia and Etsy are yet again industry leaders by offering carbon offsets for their shipping. As someone building my own DTC digitally native brand for this new era, I think about all of this constantly!!!

  5. Emedstore App

    Nice Information regarding Blog Commenting very nice helpful post!


    My Name is Dr Aziba you can Contact Me via Email [email protected] For Penis Enlargement Product to help you get as long as 8inches Long with good Erection. Contact Me Via Email : [email protected]

  7. Akpobome Agadaigho

    Great. Please can anyone tell me the best website to sell my e-book?