RESEARCH BASED INSIGHTS INTO E-COMMERCE WITH A SPOTLIGHT ON THE ADVENT AND INTEGRATION OF THE ALGORAND BLOCK CHAIN TECHNOLOGY INTO THE SECTOR

E-COMMERCE

In the global financial world today, a very popular trend is the shift from the use of traditional brick and mortar stores to the use of e-commerce platforms for wholesale and retail transactions. According to Wikipedia, e-commerce (also known as electronic commerce) is the act of buying or selling products electronically on online services or over the internet. In a nutshell, it entails the use of technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic data interchange, and automated data collection systems to facilitate transactions electronically.

The changes in trend from the use of the traditional onsite stores to the use of e-commerce platforms are due to the increased availability of goods, ease and speed of access, lower costs, and international reach of the e-commerce sector. The sector focuses on three major areas namely; online retailing, electronic market, and online auction.


MARKET ANALYSIS OF THE E-COMMERCE SECTOR

The e-commerce markets are growing at a very fast rate. The global e-commerce market size was valued at US$9.09 trillion in 2019 and this is expected to grow at an annual rate of over 14.7% from 2020 to 2027. Within this same period, the traditional brick and mortar market is expected to grow at a rate of just 2%. 

Studies have shown that the increasing penetration of the internet, access to smartphones, and technological awareness in the world are partly responsible for this rapid growth. The fact that the e-commerce sector offers lower prices, greater product selection, and high-efficiency rates to customers also contribute to the speedy growth of the sector. 
Although the traditional brick and mortar stores offer consumers the unique experience of physical customer service, the rising customers' inclination towards online shopping especially during this lockdown of major traditional stores due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows that consumers value availability over physical presence. 

An illustration can be made with data provided by Emersys and Gooddata which show that the revenue earned by the e-commerce platforms within the US is up by 37% and orders are up by 54% since January. This is due to the fact that the ongoing lockdown has forced most market players into focusing on changing their business model uniquely to enable customers to carry out transactions online.


THE ADVENT AND INTEGRATION OF THE ALGORAND BLOCKCHAIN INTO E-COMMERCE

The advent of the Algorand blockchain technology which enables the use of decentralized currencies such as stable coins and cryptocurrencies has created more opportunities in which e-commerce markets can operate. Over the years, there has been a rapid growth of the e-commerce sector due to the insatiable desire for availability, instantaneousness, convenience, and high access speed which online traders enjoy on global, digital markets. However, the e-commerce sector presented some unique challenges at its early stage that needed to be addressed. 
The major challenge faced by the e-commerce sector was the increased breach of the data used by online shopping customers. Studies have shown that 80-90 percent of login attempts by the early online retailers were derived from hackers attempting to use "credential stuffing" tactics to take advantage of users' compromised log in info. 
To address these challenges, the Algorand blockchain technology was developed as a barrier, to provide a superior alternative to the traditional username-password system that was long outdated and highly vulnerable. The replacement of the archaic easily exploited facets of e-commerce with the Algorand blockchain linked systems including decentralized currencies have provided the e-commerce sector with greater efficiency and boosted users' confidence in e-commerce. 
The use of the Algorand blockchain technology as a driving force for the e-commerce sector has protected businesses from chargeback fraud and restored the control of purchasing data to the consumers by providing the necessary security, scalability, and decentralization required by today’s economy. Also, it has helped to boost a thriving B2B (Business-to-Business) transaction ecosystem by facilitating decentralized cross border trade with accelerated, simplified, pure proof-of-stake, and permissionless payment systems. Another key thing to take cognizance of is the fact that the Algorand blockchain technology helps to restore ownership of marketing data to the retailers by cutting out the use of middlemen in all aspects of e-commerce thereby providing lower costs to both retailers and consumers.



CONCLUSION


The use of e-commerce platforms for financial transactions is on the rise. In 2017 alone, e-commerce was the most preferred method of transactions, accounting for over US$10trillion in sales. This growth of the e-commerce sector would not have happened without the advent of technologies that enable frictionless finance such as the Algorand blockchain technology.


The integration of the Algorand blockchain technology into the e-commerce sector is still ongoing with studies showing that there is still quite a lot of groundwork to do. This blockchain technology already affords users several benefits such as accessibility to accounts, lower costs, 24/7 transferability, instantaneous settlement, and broad international access that traditional money exchange services do not. For outstanding market players, this integration especially the use of cryptocurrencies underpinned by the Algorand blockchain technology would be a superb feature to gain a competitive advantage.




REFERENCES


1. E-commerce on Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-commerce


2. E-commerce Market Size, Share & Trend Analysis Report by Model Type: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/e-commerce-market


3. Centralized Market: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/centralizedmarket.asp


4. Decentralized Market: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/decentralizedmarket.asp


5. Decentralized Finance, Explained:  https://www.google.com/amp/s/cointelegraph.com/explained/decentralized-finance-explained/amp


6. Decentralized versus Centralized Financial Systems: is there a case for local capital markets: https://academic.oup.com/joeg/article/5/4/387/923088


7.  Block chain For E-commerce: https://www.disruptordaily.com/blockchain-use-cases-ecommerce/


8. ALGORAND 2.0:  https://www.algorand.com /what-we-do/technology/