(This post is published @ Forbes.com I am just excerpting the first couple paragraphs on the blog)
It has taken a long time for the dust to settle from the battle for first generation e-commerce supremacy (Amazon.com and select smart brick and mortar guys won). Fifteen years later, a confluence of macro trends on and off the Web have created a tidal wave finally strong enough to birth a whole new generation of new e-commerce companies. Comparatively, in the same 15 years, the online photo market went through almost 4 generations of battles won and lost: Photobucket -> Flickr -> Facebook (->?) Instagram.
It took so long in e-commerce for several reasons:
- It took many years for offline retailers to bifurcate between those who embraced Web technologies and thrived and those who failed at doing so – thus opening up new verticals for disruption.
- New paid and social customer acquisition channels – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, celebrity endorsements.
- Amazon’s gigantic foot print has finally matured and slowed (transformation into a marketplace, SKU focused, free/fast shipping.)
- Skills sets that used to exist in very different fields but necessary to win in retail and e-tail has finally converged into the same “entrepreneur,” including online acquisition, merchandizing, user interface and supply chain management.