Recent advances in drone technology are a clear harbinger of growth for online retailers, even as traditional brick and mortar stores scramble to introduce self-checkout counters to stay ahead in the game. The most technologically unsavvy consumer can now avoid having to get behind the wheel of her car and expend time, gas and energy to hunt for that left-handed mouse she needs by yesterday. She can now compare prices and securely order the best and cheapest online, then sit back and sip her coffee while waiting for her front doorbell to announce the delivery of her purchase.
Without further ado then, here are the five leaders of the shopping cyberspace vying to change the way we spend money today.
Formed in 1995, Amazon pioneered the e-commerce phenomenon by first selling books only and causing the decline of traditional bookstore chains. It gradually branched out into a large variety of goods and services including software, electronics, clothing, household goods and everything else imaginable. It has also overtly embraced affiliate marketing to encourage customers to earn money through referrals.
Started in 1962 by Sam Walton as a single discount store, Wal-Mart Stores became the quintessential symbol of American consumerism, growing to a behemoth encompassing more than 11,000 stores in over two dozen countries with the largest revenue in the world. Its online presence just cannot be ignored due to the sheer scale of its operations worldwide.
eBay is remarkable for successfully pioneering the concept of a portal where savvy buyers and sellers can auction all kinds of goods and services. Founded in 1995, it has almost 125 million users worldwide today and boasts half a billion listings.
China, the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of merchandise of all kinds, was always a logical choice for the establishment of an online shopping portal and Jack Ma capitalized on it by starting Alibaba in 1999 as a B2B facilitator for the entire world to import merchandise from China. Wikipedia reports that it has overtaken Walmart in 2016 as the world's largest retailer.
Starting with just one store in 1962, Target is now America's second largest retailer and has gained a reputation as the source for the trendiest merchandise that appeals most to young shoppers. It partnered initially with Amazon for online marketing but started its own online presence in 2011 and now has almost 40 distribution centers in the U.S. to fulfill online orders.