Is Buying.com the Next Breakthrough in E-Commerce?
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For the last couple of decades, it's been fashionable to say that the Internet is a new stage in the human experience, a revolutionary point as significant as Gutenberg's or the Industrial Revolution. But, unfortunately, while the revolutionary aspect can't be questioned, we can't say that it's a new thing for humanity anymore. It's fair to say that by 1995, when Amazon came online, the Internet was so well established, at least in the developed world, that starting up an online bookstore made sense. That was twenty-six years ago.
Historians and sociologists define a human generation in 25-year spans, so from that perspective, humankind is already into its second generation regarding the Internet and the things that come with it, most notably e-commerce.
And we don't need a sociologist to tell us that. If you have any kids around you, you already know they are online with their tablets or computers as soon as they can talk, earlier than they can read or write. It's not for us to say whether this is wrong or not. It's simply how things have turned out for the current generation, and we can't ignore them any more than we could ignore the sun's heat.
The Internet has brought us many new solutions to old problems. The way we collect and consume music, for instance, changed forever when the mp3 arrived in the world. And even mp3 became redundant as it became apparent that you can hear any song you fancy by just searching it on YouTube without downloading or keeping any files on the device you use. The same happened to mp3 players. Even if the iPod was all the rage for a few years, it was soon rendered obsolete by a new generation of smartphones that are essentially pocket-sized computers.
The e-commerce revolution
But the chances are that nothing has changed more radically by the web than the way we shop. The e-commerce revolution is also in its second human generation, and it's been moving forward rapidly, pushed by the industry's giants such as Amazon or Alibaba.
Unfortunately, while it was undoubtedly moving forward fast enough, the Covid-19 II pandemic that hit the world as 2019 ended put the e-commerce revolution on steroids. The demand for goods and services prompted Amazon to hire new personnel by the hundreds of thousands. In addition, the prevalence of lockdowns in so many countries forced people to shop online.
Many buyers that would have waited months or years to try their hand at Amazon (because of distrust of digital technology or just lack of expertise) found themselves forced to become digital buyers right now. As a result, Amazon exploded. It became worth more than a trillion USD. Jeff Bezos became the world's richest man by a very long way. Amazon's relevance for today's world became more evident than Microsoft or Google as it also leads the world in cloud computing technologies.
So what's next for e-commerce? Sure, Amazon's position looks unassailable right now. But Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, and other corporations also looked invincible in the past only to give way to new, more robust solutions. Take the search engine wars a couple of decades ago. Yahoo looked at the top of the market as the stock market overvalued it wildly. Still, Altavista had better technologies and hardware, AskJeeves seemed more functional, while Excite was just so cool.
These were all first-generation search engines. And they all ultimately failed and lost the war.
Google won the battle, in case you were wondering. The winning strategy included two main ingredients. First, it had a better product in a search engine that knew how to bring relevance into the equation; second, it had a business model that knew how to monetize the search engine in the first place. Thus Yahoo, Excite, AskJeeves, Altavista, and all the other first-generation players either disappeared or became irrelevant.
There's something for e-commerce platforms to learn from the search-engine wars experience. First-generation solutions may be the first wave that creates all the hype, but they are seldom the last man standing in any market. Unfortunately, that could happen to Amazon.
The reason is this: first-generation internet solutions are not truly digital. Instead, they are old analog solutions that use technology to remove some friction from the aging processes but are not designed from the start with the Internet in mind. Thus Altavista was little more than a digital dictionary populated with entries from the web.
On the other hand, Google saw the whole environment to see how links across the network point to those pages that matter most in every subject. One solution was just an old-fashioned index book, though not on paper. The other one was an entirely digital search engine made up with a digital mindset from the very start. One failed, one became the world's standard.
Let's have a look at the current e-commerce situation. The world's big players are Amazon and Alibaba. They are both first-generation platforms in that they are analog stores enhanced by the web, but their processes are designed for the digital world from the beginning. To illustrate the point, both platforms use the traditional post service or delivery services (FedEx, UPS), which are old and centralized.
E-commerce and Buying.com: Is this the second generation?
Is there an alternative? Is there a second-generation e-commerce project that could challenge the current giants? One that can give us the final version of e-commerce by building it on the latest technical advances? Buying.com thinks it can answer this question affirmatively.
The world has changed markedly since 1995 in too many ways to mention here, but if we stick to things that can change the game for e-commerce, it suffices to say that Bitcoin, the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies came into existence. Bitcoin didn't bring only a new speculative asset into the world but also a new set of values that emphasize decentralization and P2P networks as the key to the future.
That doesn't mean that the e-commerce last man standing will have to be Bitcoin-based (though it probably will be), but it does mean for sure that it will have to incorporate those new values into its paradigm somehow. And Buying.com has.
Buying.com's idea is to be the platform that brings in the second generation in e-commerce by bringing together the best possible features in e-commerce by integrating everything according to the new digital canons, thus solving an old problem with new methods, much as Google did for the searches.
So what is this revolutionary new solution for e-commerce? Buying.com's new paradigm combines better technology with creative, more local-based distribution methods, improved operation scale, and adaptation to the new shopping habits. It also includes blockchain technologies as it issues BUY, a utility token that fuels the platform, and a decentralized ledger that guarantees transparency and reliability. In addition, it draws the lessons from the Amazon and Alibaba experience and uses them to create a new platform that embraces decentralization to optimize functionality. The token offering will be launched on July 14th, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST in collaboration with TrustSwap. More information can be found in TrustSwap’s medium post.
Another feature is the platform's focus to offer its users access to the best wholesale prices possible. That's the main goal of the Direct Product App, an app that's been in development for years so that it can guarantee the best possible prices for every buyer.
Change is the world's only constant. On the Internet, things change even faster, and the new paradigms take over the old ones before users have even noticed.
In this context, Buying.com is a project whose leadership has already seen the writing on the wall for Amazon and Alibaba. They're big, strong, and the leading players in the global market, but they're also old-fashioned and rely on analog resources and methods that can only go so far. According to the new digital reality, there has to be a better way, and Buying.com thinks it has figured it out already.
Will Buying.com take over the world's e-commerce in the future? It's too early to tell. However, the competition is fierce, and both Alibaba and Amazon have a vast pool of resources that could help them adapt their strategies to bring about the second generation by themselves.
As a result, they look invincible for the time being. But so did IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo in their way.
One thing is clear: the e-commerce revolution's first generation has done its job and, sooner or later, it will evolve into a new set of solutions that solve the same problems in better ways, using better technologies, logistics, optimizing human resources, being greener, and taking advantage of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This is the very idea that lies at the heart of Buying.com's existence. And that's precisely why it could succeed in the long run.
Buying.com will work with TrustSwap to launch their token offering on July 14th, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST. More information about the launch can be found in Trustwap’s recent Medium post - https://trustswap.medium.com/buying-com-announces-july-14th-token-sale-on-trustswap-launchpad-8e8fc0eddf1b.