Over the decades, the world economy has improved on the Internet, and for the better part of that time, it has been under a centralized system. While the world has yet to fully transform into Web 3.0 and more decentralized systems, major e-commerce giants, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba, to name a few, have dominated the Internet commerce industry with repetitive web 2.0 repetitions.
Significantly, this set of corporations has had a huge impact across most aspects of the online business experience and has gained a major following over the years. The reason for this, however, is not far-fetched, considering that the existing Internet iteration – Web 2.0 – provides a favorable environment for exclusive development.
However, with the latest Web 3.0 iteration, which is open, untrustworthy, secure and decentralized, this is about to change. Before we look at the future of e-commerce beyond the existing heavyweights, it is important to take a step back to understand the evolution of web technology.
Understanding the evolution of web technology
Each generation-wide innovation has one thing in common: they have gone through a transformational stage that has made them more time-relevant and ultimately suitable for the present world. Common examples of such innovations include the transformation from locomotive trains to electric bullet trains, from monochromatic televisions to smart televisions, even on the Internet.
Speaking of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee coined the term “Web 1.0” to describe the first iteration of the Internet, which appeared in 1989. Since then, two major transformations of the Internet have taken place – first, Web 2.0 and later. Web 3.0.
Significantly, each iteration of the Internet was created to address existing challenges associated with previous or older versions. For example, Web 1.0 was originally a ‘read / text-only’ Internet and lost its appeal after a while.
Web 2.0, on the other hand, has introduced a much more entertaining and interactive way of exploring the Internet. Specifically, this version of the web allows users to send pictures, videos, and other media files, as well as enables seamless interaction between users.
Web 3.0 is the most recent iteration of the Internet, introducing a more decentralized and open Internet where users and developers have equal input into decision-making processes. Similarly, the Web 3.0 iteration eliminates, among other things, the high cost of communicating with central authority and intermediary or gateway services. Now that we understand web repetition, how does online commerce fit in with the relevant web repetition?
How e-commerce is evolving with each web iteration
Each web iteration introduces a unique online trading experience. Web 1.0 comes with Commerce 1.0, where Commerce 2.0 and 3.0 apply to Web 2.0 and 3.0 iterations, respectively.
The first trade experience can be a hybrid of text and physical stores. Then, because of the annoying nature of the Internet, only a few people had access to online commerce, and those who did were limited by the kind of activity they could do online. For example, they may send texts, and save for a product in the physical store, but may not necessarily complete a purchase online.
While big brands like Walmart and Costco were the biggest winners of this era, they were able to use their physical store chain and reach customers instantly living in communities. Finally, the first trade experience can be classified as a centralized retail experience.
Commerce 2.0, on the other hand, ushered in a new era of centralized e-commerce, as well as a more interactive online shopping experience.
According to various industry analysts, this recurrence of trade has evolved into a low-cost, high-scale model, implying a low entry barrier and combined with a non-stop onboarding process.
Sadly, one of the flaws of this era of trade is that it has concentrated power in the hands of some players (Walmart, Alibaba, etc.), making it almost impossible for small companies to thrive.
The main killer of Trade 2.0 is a monopoly, which, on the other hand, relies on centralized authority. This means that this era of trade is largely based on the “first-come, first-served policy.” Those who arrive early are served or treated with a high-level preference before those who arrive later.
Interestingly, the narrative is about to change with Trade 3.0 in the third iteration of Decentralized Internet. In its own right, Commerce 3.0 seeks to re-engineer the overall online trading experience.
In particular, the goal of Commerce 3.0 is to build and ensure an open economy for manufacturers, eliminating central authority, and reducing the additional cost of interfering with intermediaries or gateway services.
Although an open economy thrives on confidence, transparency and unlimited exchange, it creates a favorable environment for buyers and sellers to interface directly with each other without any restrictions or third party interference.
Finally, the future of e-commerce is far from monopolized and the existing commerce model is conducive to little, the future o e-commerce is conducive to all.