Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AZMN) went online in 1995 as a new online bookstore. A site that didn’t even have the backing of local brick-and-mortar stores like Barnes and Noble, so the new website went under the radar of most people, even expert observers. We did not know at the time that this bookstore would be at the center of the next Internet revolution: e-commerce.
Four years later, Amazon made a billion dollars. This is quite an achievement considering that Macy’s (NYSE: M), a household name in department stores, had to wait 134 years to earn this accolade.
There is no doubt that e-commerce has exploded in the last generation. We could even say that we are now in the second human generation with e-commerce because it has been more than 25 years since this ball began to roll.
The industry was already snowballing when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world to put the whole process on steroids. As people across the world have discovered that they cannot go out to shop for groceries and other goods without risking contagion, many have discovered the convenience of shopping online.
Suddenly Amazon had to hire new employees by the hundreds of thousands, and the industry grew at a rate beyond Jeff Bezos’ wildest dreams.
Amazon is not alone at the top. Alibaba is an important player because it connects the Chinese manufacturing powerhouse with the rest of the world. Both platforms seem untouchable as it stands, and other, smaller ecommerce websites are doing well as well. But are these e-commerce giants really too big to fail? Have they become a fact of nature?
Let us remember the history of the Internet a bit. Over the past three decades, we have seen many giants seem invulnerable to competition, new ideas, or environmental changes. IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Yahoo are names that come to mind. Companies that were on top of the world and then lost their dominance in the market or even became irrelevant. Things are changing and the inertia inherent in the size of these giants has prevented the rapid adaptation they needed to keep pace.
It is a question of second generation technology, how it arrives and imposes itself in pushing back the first generation. The search engine war is perhaps the best example we have of this phenomenon. In the beginning there was Yahoo, Excite, AskJeeves, AltaVista and a handful of others that no one remembers.
Excite was the coolest, AskJeeves seemed the most useful, AltaVista had the best hardware and the best database technology, but Yahoo became the leader because although their search engine was not the best it offered to its users of many other valuable services such as email. , web hosting, etc. So Yahoo looked invincible, their inventory was very high, they had a lot of users and things were going well.
They are all first generation search engines. First generation digital or internet technology has the problem of never being so digital. We mean the first generation solutions are basically the exact old analog solutions implemented using computing power.
So, they seem more powerful, but they are not much different from the old options except that some of the friction in the analog process is alleviated by computers. So yeah, AltaVista’s database was huge, but it was no different from a traditional index book except it wasn’t printed on paper. That’s why none of the first generation remained relevant when the dust set in.
Google has won the search engine war, in case you haven’t noticed. Why? Because its founders understood the Internet search problem as a digital Internet problem that required a digital solution built from the Internet itself. So its search engine method does not just collect information available on web pages. He also used the links available on these pages to decide what is the most relevant content on the network.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Searches got better than others because they made it easier for people to find the answers they needed. And there was something else. Google knew from the start how it would monetize its product, which to most other search engines in the market was still a mystery.
So Google, the last man to arrive, also turned out to be the last man standing as it was the first second-generation product to hit the market. Because he had a new solution to an old problem that was inherently digital and not an analog solution on digital steroids. And that’s why the pioneers who open the doors to most digital industries often don’t stay around to tell the story as the best solutions arise.
It can also happen in e-commerce. How? ‘Or’ What? A new ecommerce business that creates a more efficient, digital way to solve the same problem is a second generation ecommerce platform. Something like Buying.com.
One of the new ideas that we have seen popping up on the internet over the last generation is blockchain. Blockchains can secure a database through decentralization, and they are the idea behind Bitcoin and every cryptocurrency.
Many blockchain-based projects have come online since 2008 after the emergence of Bitcoin that attempts to harness the power of decentralization to solve problems other than keeping the ledger. But, unfortunately, most of these projects are almost academic, and they remain too theoretical or too intellectual to work in the real world. This is not the case with Buying.com. This project aims, among other things, to apply blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to e-commerce to create the second generation of industry platforms.
So what’s wrong with Alibaba or Amazon, anyway?
There is nothing wrong with the e-commerce giants or even with other smaller players in the industry. But they are first generation. As such, they always use solutions that are too analog for the new digital reality.
For example, they rely on the traditional postal system or delivery services such as FedEx or UPS to fulfill their orders. This is not wrong, but these are centralized organizations that are too big and too clumsy. You can improve them by adopting a different delivery system based on local and decentralized systems. This is just one example of how Buying.com intends to make ecommerce more efficient for the second generation.
How will the second generation be?
If the second generation of e-commerce platforms is going to revolutionize the industry again, it will have to be innovative, more efficient, greener, faster and cheaper. It will also have to take advantage of the latest technologies available.
Buying.com has a great idea of how this will turn out. It all starts with the adoption of blockchain. The project will maintain a database in a decentralized network that will guarantee its security, integrity and transparency. And where there is a blockchain, there is a cryptocurrency – the $ BUY token, in this case, which will entice both stores and users. The token offering will launch on July 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. PST and more details can be found in the average post from Octoberswap.
Other improvements over current e-commerce systems include a micro-distribution network powered by decentralized, locally-based distribution networks; direct contact with wholesalers and distributors so that buyers can have access to the lowest possible prices; logistics and real-time monitoring; vertical integration of processes; integrated back-office e-commerce processing technology; peer to peer dropping and selecting networks.
The project already includes an application called Direct Protect App, which has been in development for several years and the aim of which is to ensure that every buyer finds the lowest possible price on the market.
Buying.com expects all of these new features to remove some of the friction many relatively small sellers face in coming online and joining the ecommerce industry with a real opportunity to successfully compete with the giants.
Can Buying.com’s innovations become as influential in e-commerce as they level the playing field with global giants? This would be great news for small businesses around the world to find an outlet for their products with global reach without selling their soul to the dominant market forces.
Only time will tell.
Amazon, Ali Baba (NYSE: BABA) and their peers (if they have any) remain the leaders of global e-commerce, and they will remain so until a new, better platform comes to challenge their position. This should come as no surprise to anyone as it has happened in all new digital industries before, as we explained about search engines. This is sure to happen again in the field of e-commerce. And it could be because of Buying.com.
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