Online shopping is the process whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller in real-time, without an intermediary service, over the internet. It is a form of electronic commerce. An online shop, eshop, e-store, Internet shop, webshop, webstore, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks and mortar retailer or in a shopping centre . The process is called business-to-consumer (B2C) online shopping. When a business buys from another business, it is called business-to-business (B2B) online shopping.
Online shopping was invented and pioneered in 1979 by Michael Aldrich in the United Kingdom. He connected a modified domestic television via a telephone line to a real-time multi-user transaction processing computer. The system was marketed beginning in 1980 and offered mainly business-to-business systems that were sold in the UK, Ireland, and Spain. One the earliest consumer shopping experiences was Book Stacks Unlimited, an online bookstore created by Charles M. Stack in 1992. Stack’s store began as a dial-up bulletin board two years before Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos. In 1994, Book Stacks Unlimited moved to the Internet as Books.com7 and was eventually acquired by Barnes & Noble.