The rise of e-commerce has radically transformed the way the world does business at every imaginable level-from the smallest of small businesses taking its first hesitant step into the online marketplace to the cut and thrust of global competition, where the biggest online players vie to dominate the market.
The increasing importance of the global market is driven in part by the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices as well as the ever-growing availability of Wi-Fi access, not only within the home, but also in public areas, such as cafes, shopping malls and bricks and mortar stores. These factors have come together to create an environment which facilitates online purchases at almost any time and in practically any location. The online businesses which have benefited most from this environment are, not surprisingly, those who have invested in an online presence which has been optimized for mobile customers. With providers such as SITE123 offering simple to use website building tools with drag and drop interfaces that can be used to create both traditional and mobile-optimized sites, this option is increasingly available to even the smallest businesses.
As the online market continues to expand, evolve and mature, it looks set to continue to change the global market for many years into the future. While all this change has brought with it many new opportunities for businesses to reach out to new clients and customers as well as to partner with one another it has also uncovered new challenges which the business community will have to address. These include ensuring safe payments with innovative payment solutions such as that developed by PayPal, as well as creating attractive online stores and an integrated shopping experience for their customers.
So what is on the horizon for the global e-commerce? Today, retailers and other businesses of every type and size can glean indications of where the global market is headed by looking at the ways in which some of the big name players, such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Google are developing and the kinds of research and technology those companies are investing in. This is not to forget, of course, the importance of China's online marketplace, which, with heavy hitters such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, looks increasingly set to take its place at the forefront of the global economy. These businesses, too, are important indicators of the ways in which the worldwide online market is developing.
There is much that smaller businesses can learn from the strategies currently being implemented by all these big players. It is telling, for example, that world class e-commerce strategies include considerable investment in groundbreaking payment technologies which are geared to counteract the risk of fraud. Security risks of all kinds continue to be a threat which online businesses of all sizes must be vigilant about because, while secure payment systems become ever more sophisticated, so do the methods of fraudsters and other criminals who would seek to undermine those systems. The big online businesses also continue the quest to enhance the customer's experience of shopping in their online store by putting time and money into the development of next generation search technologies.