Did you know that the first sale made completely online happened in 1994? A man named Dan Kohn sold a CD for $12.48 over an encrypted website he built himself. These days, it's a lot easier to sell things online— whether you're an individual, a small business, or a massive retailer. E-commerce has come a long way since the 90s, growing into a global, multi- billion dollar industry. That's because e-commerce is generally cheaper, more convenient, and more accessible than storefront sales. And, as the online marketplace has grown, also launched entirely new industries, and career paths, like digital marketing. In this video, we'll start exploring e-commerce and digital marketing and how they create value for businesses. Let's start with some definitions. E-commerce is a broad term that refers to the buying and selling of goods and services online. Most e-commerce purchases fall into one of the following four categories: physical products, like books or home goods; digital products, like ebooks or online courses; services, like vacations or doctors' appointments; and software, like word processing or photo editing programs. The ability to buy or sell just about anything, big or small, through computers, tablets, and phones has completely transformed the way we do business. For one thing, you don't need a physical storefront to start an e-commerce business. Many retailers maintain physical stores alongside e-commerce websites, but others are completely online. Without the cost of maintaining a store, it became easier than ever to start a business, which meant more people around the world began entering the online marketplace. But it also meant that the e-commerce market got crowded really quickly. To set themselves apart, and get customers attention, businesses brought their ads online too, which is how we got digital marketing. Digital marketing is the practice of reaching consumers online through digital channels with the aim of turning them into customers. A digital channel is any communication method or platform a business can use to reach their target audience online. They are things like websites, search engines, email, or social media platforms. If the aim of e-commerce is to sell products online, then digital marketing helps businesses make that happen. But there's more to it than that. Digital marketing also helps businesses build trust, inspire loyalty, and better serve their customers. In that way, it's similar to traditional marketing like print advertising, or billboards, but it has a few added advantages for both businesses, and consumers. First, digital marketing is cost- effective. Advertising budgets go a lot further online than they do on television, radio, and print media. That's because digital marketers can be very specific about serving the right ads, to the right audiences, at the right moments. But there's also the potential for customers to spread the word through platforms like social media. At the same time, digital marketing can reach more people than traditional campaigns, which rely on local platforms like newspapers, and radio stations. It creates brand recognition in new— sometimes even global—markets, which can drive sales and make products and services accessible for a variety of different people. Digital marketing can also produce faster results. If a customer encounters a product they want in a print newspaper ad, they may or may not remember to buy that product later on. But digital ads allow customers to take action in the moment, which can increase the chances that'll make a purchase. It also allows businesses to build relationships with customers through direct communication. Channels like email and social media allow a level of personalization that traditional marketing just can't compete with. You'll learn more about the advantages, and challenges of digital marketing, and e-commerce later in this course. For the moment, let's review what we've learned. Over the last few decades, e-commerce and digital marketing have fundamentally changed business. While the goal of e-commerce is to generate sales, digital marketing helps businesses do just that by connecting with customers and building relationships. Up next, we'll find out about some of the major roles and responsibilities in digital marketing and e-commerce.