E-commerce Website Development and Advertising – The Past and the Future

e-commerce website development

Welcome to Halcyon Media, the best web design and SEO agency in Cheshire, and today, we’re here to delve into the fascinating history, of e-commerce website development.

In today’s digital age, the realm of e-commerce has taken the world by storm. From small businesses to multinational corporations, online retailing has become an indispensable part of our lives. If you’re seeking to establish a successful e-commerce presence, you’re in the right place.

The Fascinating History of E-commerce

In the 1970s the world saw the advent of electronic data interchange (EDI) systems. These systems enabled businesses to exchange invoices and purchase orders electronically. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the World Wide Web unlocked a new world of possibilities. During this era, giants like Amazon and eBay emerged as pioneers, forever transforming the landscape of online shopping.

Over the past three decades, we’ve witnessed remarkable shifts in the e-commerce landscape. From the era of telephones to the rise of television and the subsequent Marketing Department Era, and ultimately, the transformative Marketing Company Era when personal computers became commercially available.

The Arrival of the Internet into our Daily Lives

The turning point came in 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee and his team launched the World Wide Web project. However, it wasn’t until the release of the first successful mass-market browser, Netscape, in 1994, that the World Wide Web truly took off. From an average of approximately 1 million hits per day in February 1995, traffic rose to more than 125 million hits per day by November 1997.1

This surge in users ushered in a new era. From email to search engines like Yahoo! and Google, and e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, the landscape evolved rapidly. Email became a potent outbound marketing tool, joining the traditional arsenal of TV, radio, and print advertisements, as well as telephone sales.

The emergence of search engines allowed users to access the information, products, and services they desired from the comfort of their own homes. Marketers employed early SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, excessive tagging, and backlinks to gain higher rankings.

In the late nineties and early two-thousands, keyword stuffing was a staple of most SEO strategies. Search engines used to rely heavily on term frequency and keyword density to judge relevance and there were only a small number of other ranking factors in use at the time.2

The Age of Big Data:

The term “big data” is more than just a buzzword; it accurately describes the massive volume of digital information generated and collected in the digital age. In the year 2000, a groundbreaking study shed light on the significance of this data revolution. It revealed that digital information was not only on the rise but also the fastest-growing type of unique information produced. The majority of this burgeoning data landscape is comprised of text-based information.

So, what makes this data “big”? The answer lies in the sheer magnitude of it. This deluge of data began to overshadow its physical counterparts like film, CDs and paper. Innovations in data recording and storage technology have played a pivotal role in this transformation, making big data an indispensable resource for marketing departments and e-commerce website development companies.

In essence, big data isn’t merely a byproduct of the digital age; it’s a defining force that’s redefining how marketers and e-commerce website development companies operate, make decisions, and connect with their audiences. This wealth of data provides a treasure trove of insights, enabling marketers to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, preferences, and trends.

As we navigate this data-driven marketing landscape, the potential is limitless, and the opportunities are boundless. The era of big data has arrived, and it’s here to stay, shaping the future of marketing in ways we’re only beginning to fathom.

The Rise of Smartphones:

Smartphones and tablets have set off a digital revolution that marketing departments are still catching up with. Today, smartphones have not only become ubiquitous but have also surpassed personal computers as the primary digital device for going online.

To appreciate the significance of this shift, it’s worth taking a closer look at the evolution of these smart devices. In the 1970s and 1980s, early mobile phones were primarily designed for use in cars, and the attempts at hand-held computers during the late 1990s and early 2000s never truly gained traction.

It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that BlackBerry introduced the first modern smartphone, equipped with features like email, text messaging, phone calls, and web browsing. Initially, they were mainly used by business professionals. However, it wasn’t until the groundbreaking release of the iPhone in 2007 that smartphones entered the mass market.

The Future of E-commerce Website Development

The big question that looms ahead is, what do these developments mean for the future of e-commerce? Many e-commerce professionals find themselves in a state of uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, the digital skill that 28% of respondents (employees and employers together) said was the most crucial is social media and the second most crucial digital skill overall is digital marketing (27%).3

As the world migrates online and into our pockets, where do we go from here in the ever-evolving marketing landscape? The answer lies in a future marked by user sharing and straight-forwardness.

User Sharing:

Sharing is at the heart of the new internet landscape, and the upcoming generation of digital natives, known as Gen Zers, are redefining how information is viewed and shared. Being the first truly mobile-first generation, Gen Zers place great emphasis on personalization and relevance. This is why mobile-responsiveness is crucial. We delve into more details on mobile-responsiveness here if you would like to find out more

Gen Z juggles up to 5 screens at a time and has a shorter attention span – but ironically, they have a higher ad recall rate.4


In today’s digital age, information is at your fingertips. Customers have evolved into astute researchers, capable of making quick product comparisons and reading reviews. They effortlessly answer and questions along the way.

The demand for straight-forwardness is evident when examining customer perceptions of brands, and users sometimes are unable to decipher the difference between ads and commerical, organic content. Of the 803 respondents from an independent survey, 57.5% don’t recognise Google ads. 34.8% recognise them but don’t click on them, and 7.7% recognise paid ads but do click them.5

Tradition and Innovation in E-commerce Website Development

While the internet has indeed reshaped the marketing landscape, it’s important to remember that traditional marketing methods still carry weight. Despite the digital advertising boom, television advertising continues to command a significant slice of the advertising budget in the United States. It may be growing a bit more slowly, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

The secret to success in this ever-evolving marketing world? Embrace transparency, personalisation, and agile strategies. The future looks bright for those who combine these elements into their marketing. It’s not about choosing between the old and the new; it’s about using both to create a harmonious marketing strategy for your e-commerce website development.

In the age of digital transformation, it’s vital to remember that traditional forms of e-commerce still hold significant influence. Despite the exponential growth in digital advertising, television advertising continues to command a considerable share of ad spend. This enduring presence in the marketing landscape reflects its long-standing impact, even though its growth rate has moderated.

Embracing digital trends in e-commerce doesn’t necessitate the abandonment of traditional marketing methods. In fact, successful e-commerce and marketing often involves integrating new trends while retaining the strengths of established practices. By striking a balance between innovation and tradition, marketers can achieve enduring success in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

If you liked this article, read more about e-commerce website design here. Or if you are interested in Halycon’s services and want to read a little more, check out our blog page, we have lots of interesting articles which are updated regularly.


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Daniel Holmes

I'm a digital designer and marketer and after working in various agencies, I am now working for myself and traveling around the world while building websites for myself and my lovely clients.

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