A Timeline of the Internet and E-Retailing: Milestones of Influence and Concurrent Events
About the Timeline
This timeline was created as part of the Center’s ongoing research activities on e-commerce and retailing, and in particular, as a supplement to “A Study of E-Commerce in Multi-Channel Distribution: Strategies for Long-Term Revenue Models and Performance Metrics,” which was commissioned by IBM. We organized the history of U.S. e-retailing as a timeline to illustrate three related dimensions of historical development: the history of the Internet, the history of retailing, and selected political, social, and economic events.
We studied compendiums of news publications, books on the history of the Internet, trade journals, information available on the Internet itself, and selected major events and activities related to each of the three focus areas. The goal was to include sufficient detail to provide an overall historical perspective without attempting to produce an exhaustive, detailed account. Furthermore, it was decided that the timeline should begin in the late 1800s, at the onset of department store retailing, even though e-commerce was not a reality for retailing transactions until the mid-1990s. Our objective was to position e-commerce as the most recent of several major evolutionary changes in the retailing industry.
The timeline will be updated with the latest events on a periodic basis. We hope you will find this a useful resource in retailing education and research.