The last century brought about a sea change in the way that people do business online. From the way in which payments are accepted to the types of businesses that buy and sell goods and services, the internet truly transformed everything. These changes continued into the current century, and as the internet continues to evolve, so have the ways in which we do business online.
Breadth of sectors
Perhaps the most obvious way in which the online business world changed during the previous century is when it comes to the breadth of sectors represented. E-commerce was one of the first sectors to spring up online. Amazon dates back to 1994, for example, while marketplaces like eBay are also long running and go back as far as 1995.
However, online business is now much more all-encompassing. The popularity of Zoom, for example, speaks to the fact that the online business revolution is now business to business as well as business to consumer. Big and small firms alike are finding that cloud-based systems are providing efficiency savings. As a result, it’s now the case that almost every facet of the business world has online representation.
The arrival of online gambling has also changed things. In the previous century there were very few opportunities to pay to access casinos online. That, however, has changed. Now, sites like Nordicbet and many others are on hand to offer a service that would be unrecognizable to an online poker or blackjack player of the 1990s. These online betting sites offer fantastic graphics, a vast array of game choice, and an excellent user experience. The arrival of live video feeds has also been a boon, with many gamblers now able to enjoy a beamed-in video link to a dealer somewhere else in the world – giving that added level of real-world experience with no need to leave the comfort of their own home.
Design and user experience
The experience that users have when going online is becoming increasingly important. Internet users expect to find, at the very minimum, a clean and well-organized website which is easy and intuitive to navigate, has proper categories, and offers a range of useful functions. The exact functions required will vary from sector to sector, but functionality like a clean layout, fast page-loading, and an efficient payment system will more often that not be considered basic requirements.
This wasn’t always the case. Screenshots of the early iterations of sites like Amazon show that online businesses used to be clunky and took a long time to get moving. To an extent, it’s all relative: at the time it was considered cutting edge, whereas today’s most advanced websites will no doubt be considered old fashioned in just a few years’ time. It just goes to show how fast things move these days, and that consumers and businesses alike are constantly looking for fresh experiences.
Another way in which the online business landscape has evolved this century is when it comes to payment processing. For a start, there are simply many more ways to pay for goods and services online compared to a decade or two ago. Cryptocurrency didn’t come into vogue until the last decade, and while many people see it as an investment vehicle, others consider it a way to pay for goods and services. While not every merchant accepts every cryptocurrency, there’s certainly an upward trajectory in favor of using crypto in this way.
Security has also developed and improved in recent decades. In the past, payment systems were vulnerable to all sorts of hacks. These days, much more sophisticated security elements – like two-factor authentication – exist. This is in part a consequence of a parallel increase in sophistication on the part of hackers and online criminals. The fact that security is now better than it ever has been gives most online businesses and consumers the confidence they need to transact.
In short, online business looks very different today from how it looked before the turn of the century. E-commerce sites and online-based service providers looked clunkier in the 1990s, for a start. There was less breadth in terms of what was available online, and payment technologies were worse. But there’s no use getting too hung up on the past when we should be keeping a close eye on the future, and thinking about what amazing improvements might come about for online business in the years to come.