Online shopping began its steady growth in 1994 after new security measures allowed for safe ecommerce transactions to occur online. Surprisingly, Pizza Hut was one of the first major companies to adopt ecommerce by offering online ordering through their website.
As online shopping grew in popularity, brick-and-mortar stores began to offer their products online, and entire companies were created to facilitate web sales. In 1995 Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.comwhich is now the world's largest online retailer - they brought in $48 billion in 2011 alone. Online auction site eBay also opened shop in 1995. Expedia was founded in 1996 as a small division of Microsoft, and Zappos.com opened its digital doors in 1999.
With today's high-res photos and speedy shopping carts, it's easy to forget how primitive most ecommerce stores used to be. Check out how these big brand-names sites looked before they became popular. Although they seem simplistic, unintuitive, and kind of ugly, at the time they were cutting-edge, and they paved the way for what ecommerce is today.