The History of Online Shopping

The internet is a fantastic and useful tool. With a click of our mouse we can read today’s news, play an online game and if we wish shop to our hearts content. But when did it all start? What is the history of Online Shopping and what does it mean to shop online?

Online shopping is the process a customer takes to purchase a service or product over the internet. In other words a consumer may at his or her leisure buy from the comfort of their own home products from an online store. This concept was first demonstrated before the World Wide Web was in use with real time transaction processed from a domestic television! The technology used was called Videotext and was first demonstrated in 1979 by M. Aldrick who designed and installed systems in the UK. By 1990 T. Berners-Lee created the first WWW server and browser, and by 1995 Amazon expanded its online shopping experiences.

The history of Online Shopping is amazing. Gone are the days of waiting in traffic and working our way through overcrowded stores. All we need is a computer, bank account, debit or credit card and voila freedom! From books, to cosmetics, clothing and accessories to name a few, shopping online is the answer to the 21st century. Simply find the website that offers the objects of your desire, price and delivery terms and in a matter of a few days your purchase is at your door. The advantages and convenience are obviously predictable as we are offered a broader selection, competitive pricing and a greater access to information in regards to our purchase. Online stores are usually available on a 24 hour basis, and permit consumers to shop at their leisure without any traveling and outside regular business hours!

Another point to take into consideration is that when the internet was first conceived it was not with the ideal that it would change the way we shop. On the contrary the web was created as a tool for communicating, which in time let to the convenience of shopping virtually. The history of online shopping by itself symbolizes the change in our society and has by now become a service used by business and regular shopper all over the world.

Shopping online is easy, fun and secure and has for many taken the place of the Saturday afternoon window shopping at the mail. Still considered as a fairly recent phenomenon, online shopping has without a doubt made the life of countless consumers easier and more convenient. May it be for a home loan, buying car or ordering your weekly groceries, the web has forever changed our outlook on shopping.

The history of online shopping shows to all that a good idea, great presentation, and a desire to offer the best to your customers can make a dream come true. Now considered tried and true, it will be interesting in the next 20 years or so to see where the History on online shopping will take us!

Thinking Like An Online Entrepreneur – E-Commerce Tips

So much has been written about entrepreneurial thinking that I won’t try to distil it here. However, there are certain behaviours I have noted about how some web owners approach the development and running of their e-commerce websites which deserve a little discussion.

Let me start with the most important, influencing factor to any web owner’s success: belief.

Belief

Starting your online entrepreneurial activity with the right mindset and beliefs is like winning the match before you’ve stepped out onto the court. It’s what separates the really successful businesses from the average ones.

Ask any sportsperson or sports psychologist and they’ll tell you that your beliefs profoundly affect your performance.

What we believe is possible in our online entrepreneurial life is the limiting factor in our success.

Let’s take an example. Lots of people wish they were millionaires, but of those who want to become millionaires, very few actually believe they will be millionaires. Those that do, however, stand a far greater chance of becoming what they believe. Why? Because at a conscious and subconscious level they are doing everything they can to pursue that one objective. Now I’m not suggesting that being a millionaire should be your life’s goal; I’m just using it as an example. The point is that your underlying beliefs in what you are capable of fundamentally affect the actions you take and the choices you make.

All this may seem more like some New Age incantation rather than hard-edged business-speak, but there is good reason I mention it. Owning and running an e-commerce website is not for the faint-hearted. It is complex and demanding and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Be prepared for long hours, headaches and hard work, but also be prepared for more customers, a growing bank account and a sense of achievement. Your belief that you are doing the right thing is what will see you through and keep you on course for success.

Owning an e-commerce website can be a wild ride but how you handle it is totally dictated by your mindset and your beliefs. For example, many e-commerce websites fail because their owners give up – they lose confidence, interest and commitment, especially in the early days of their website’s life. It’s easy to give up if you’re struggling or faced with outright failure. However, those who believe they will succeed don’t see failure as a setback but as a learning experience – they have the right mindset and they will do well because of it.

I’m telling you this because you know that success isn’t a set of purely mechanical step-by-step processes. (If it were, we’d all be millionaires.) Success comes from your mindset: what you believe you can achieve and the expectations you set yourself. This mindset is as important as knowing how to Search Engine optimize your e-commerce website or write compelling sales copy.

What is SSL (the "little padlock")?

SSL ("Secured Socket Layer") is a protocol used to encrypt the communication between the user's browser and the web server. When SSL is active, a "little padlock" appears on the user's browser, usually in the status line at the bottom (at the top for Mac / Safari users.)

This assures the user that sensitive data (such as credit card numbers) can not be viewed by anyone "sniffing" the network connection (which is an increasing risk as more people use wireless networking).

Common web site owner questions about SSL:

How do I get the little padlock on my site?

To get the little padlock, your site must have an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority. Once an SSL Certificate has been purchased and installed, it provides three things:

  1. The ability to show a page in "Secure Mode", which encrypts the traffic between the browser and the server, as indicated by the "little padlock" on the user's browser.
  2. A guarantee by the issuing Certificate Authority that the domain name the certificate was issued for is indeed owned by the specific company or individual named in the certificate (visible if the user clicks on the little padlock).
  3. An assurance that the domain name the certificate was issued for is the domain name the user's browser is now on.

Once obtained, the certificate must be installed on the web server by your web host. Since your web host also has to generate an initial cypher key to obtain the certificate, very often they will offer to handle the process of obtaining the certificate for you.

My web host has a "shared certificate" that I can use. Should I?

It's still fairly common for small sites to use a shared certificate from the host. In this circumstance, when a page needs to be shown in secured mode, the user is actually sent to a domain owned by the web host, and then back to the originating domain afterwards.

A few years ago, when SSL Certificates were quite expensive (around $ 400 per year), this was real attractive for new sites just getting their feet wet in e-commerce. Today, with a number of perfectly functional SSL certificates available for under $ 100 (exclusive of installation, etc.), it is a lot less attractive. Since your user can look at the address line of his or her web browser and see that the site asking for the credit card number is not the site he or she thought they were on, the cost savings is probably not worth the risk of scaring off A sale.

What's the difference between the expensive SSL Certificates and the inexpensive ones?

Typically, mostly price. Some expensive certificates have specific functions, such as securing a number of different subdomains simultaneously (a "wildcard" certificate), but the effective differences between basic single site certificates are very slight, despite the wide range of prices:

The encryption mechanism used by all of them is the same, and most use the same key length (which is an indicator of the strength of the encryption) common to most browsers (128 bit).

Some of them ("chained root" certificates) are slightly more of a pain for your web host to install than others ("single root" certificates), but this is pretty much invisible to the site owner.

The amount of actual checking on the ownership of the domain varies wildly among sellers, with some (usually the more expensive) wanting significant documentation (like a D & B number), and others handling it with an automated phone call ("press # 123 if you 'Ve just ordered a certificate ").

Some of them offer massive monetary guarantees as to their security (we'll pay you oodles of dollars if someone cracks this code), but since it's all the same encryption mechanism, if someone comes up with a crack, all e-commerce sites will Be scrambling, and the odds of that vendor actually having enough cash to pay all of its customers their oodel is probably slim.

The fact is that you are buying the certificate to insure the safety of the user's data, and to make the user confident that his or her data is secure. For the vast majority of users, simply having the little padlock show up is all they are looking for. There are exceptions (I have a client in the bank software business, and they feel that their customers (bank officers) are looking for a specific premier name on the SSL certificate, so are happy to continue using the expensive one), but most e -commerce customers do not pick their sellers based on who issued their SSL Certificates.

My advice is to buy the cheaper one.

I have an SSL certificate – why should not I serve all my pages in "Secured" mode?

Because SSL has an overhead – more data is sent with a page that is encrypted than a page that is not. This translates to your site appearing to run slower, particularly for users who are on dial-up or other slow connections. Since this also increases the total amount of data transferred by your site, if your web host charges by transfer volume (or has an overage fee, as most do), this can increase the size of your monthly hosting bill.

The server should go into secure mode when asking a user for financial or other sensitive data (which may well be "name, address and phone number", with today's risk of identity theft), and operate in normal mode otherwise.

It's The Law

Billboards tell us to wear our seat belts because it's the law. I envision a day when prominent signs and ads say: "Your thoughts create your life," and "Like attractions like." We would have constant reminders of the Law of Cause and Effect everywhere we go. Actually, we do have constant reminders of this law wherever we go. In his classic book, The Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes says: "Everyone joins to himself just what he is, and we may set it down that where we are, however intolerable the situation may be, we are just where we belong." I may add that however joyous a situation may be could also be just where we belong.

Charles Fillmore said in his book: Prosperity, "All true action is governed by law. Nothing just happens. There are no miracles. There is no such thing as luck. Nothing comes by chance. Explained under the law of cause and effect. " A Course In Miracles says: "Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. There is no exception to this fact." The Bible tells us that we will reap whatever we sow.

Most of us understand this law academically. The difficulty is in living it consciously. It is a law that you can not break. It is working whether or not you believe in it. You are reaping what you are sowing. Your thoughts, assumptions, beliefs, attitudes and feelings are mirrored back to you in your experiences of life. Why is it that we can pray, affirm, and think positive thoughts and still not experience changes in life that we desire?

The love of God continuously flows through us without our asking. When our thoughts and emotions are in tune with this Divine vibration, we experience joy, peace, and a sense of well being. When we are appreciating, loving, and creating harmony we are in the flow of Divine energy. When we look upon our world critically, fearfully, angrily, or with disappointment we are cutting off the flow. We label something as bad and our being begin to vibrate at the same frequency. I worry about not having enough money and my life experience becomes as one great magnetic field appealing to myself more money problems.

In Science, fields are invisible structures that occupy space and exert influence within that space. My thought forms occupation space creating a field around me. My thought and emotion create energy. My energy flows inward and outward. It flows inward, coloring my interpretation of people and events. It flows outward, looking for that which is in harmony with it, drawing it to me.

We do not merely respond to the stimuli around us; We create the stimuli. I decide what I am seeing, hearing and feeling. Your words to me are an attack, a call for help, or nothing at all depending on the choice I make. This is how my energy flows inward, influencing my responses at the mental, emotional, and physical levels.

Energy flows outward affecting external events. Years ago I was struggling to increase my consulting business. I was having trouble finding new clients. At the same time, I was spending time and energy looking for a full time job. I was afraid that my consulting practice would not increase. I was stuck, unable to increase business and unable to get a job.

My energy was flowing in two opposing directions. I really did not want a job. Conflict and fear in my thinking and emotions created a field of confusion. Finally, I made a decision to stop looking for a job and to commit to my consulting practice. I focused my energy on what I really wanted. I thought about how wonderful it would be to be successfully self-employed. Within two weeks I received a call from a client who offered me a large, well paying project. They happened to find a piece of paper with my name and number on it in an old file cabinet.

Fear is a focus on what is not desired. A focus on what is not desired puts us in vibrational harmony with what is not desired. We fill our field with thoughts and emotions that serve as attractors for exactly what we do not want. At the same time, the love of God is flowing to us. It is not appealing our heart's desires to us because we are cutting off the energy with our fearful thoughts and beliefs.

I may think: "Would not it be wonderful to have a successful business? Would not it be great to have more friends? Would not it feel fantastic to be more healthy? These thoughts and emotions begin to build a field for me As I lovingly hold my vision, the love of God flows into my field ever creating the desired effects. My appreciative energies serve as attractors, structuring my field of experience.

Often we follow up our loving thoughts with thoughts of doubt or fear. Old emotional tendencies kick in and take over. Let's say you want a new relationship and you create both the partnership and the loving feelings in your mind. Soon old fears take over. Your tendencies to feel lonely and to feel bad about past failures cut you off from the love you felt a few moments ago. You want to get rid of these tendencies but you have trouble letting go of the payoffs you're receiving for staying right where you are. It's safer to be alone. It's easier to not try than to fail again.

There may not be an exact formula to change our fields in order to experience greater well being. This is what I use:

1. I identify what I do not want.

2. I identify, specifically, what I do want.

3. I identify the feeling of well being that comes to mind when I think about what I want.

4. I choose which feeling I wish to create (the feeling that comes from living with what I do not want or the feeling that comes with experiencing what I do want?)

5. I make a commitment to what I want, and become what I want. If I want a loving relationship I need to become one who relates lovingly. I need to think, visualize, walk, talk, and feel as if my vision were already here.

6. I trust Spirit to deliver that which is highest and best for me. I am unattached to specific results trusting Spirit to decide.

Ultimately, the specific things and situations we desire are not what is important. It is the creation of an enhanced state of well being that matters. As we create this state we create a field of well being around us. This field influences all who intersect it, assisting them to create greater well being, too. The love of God, as true cause, flows through us, creating conditions that enhance joy. This is the only way to positively change ourselves and the world. It's the law.