On Our 23rd Birthday, Sophelle Looks Back

Sophelle celebrates its 23rd birthday today, August 22nd, and while we have made dramatic strides since our founding, the world around us has changed quite a lot, too. At the time of our founding in 1995, the President was Bill Clinton, the quarterback of the New England Patriots was not Tom Brady, and Amazon was still just a fledgling online bookstore. Retail, in particular, has evolved dramatically over our 23-year run, so to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go, let’s take a look at some of the retail realities from 1995 and see how they compare to today.

#4: Spot occupied by Wal-Mart Stores in 1995’s Fortune 500 list.

#1: Spot occupied by Walmart in 2018’s Fortune 500 list.

Other leaders on this list have come and gone, but Walmart has remained steady at the top for over two decades now. By offering consumers an affordable one-stop-shop for nearly any item, Walmart’s position as a retail giant has proven virtually unassailable.

<16 million: Estimated internet users in 1995

>4 billion: Estimated internet users in 2018

The growth of the internet has been perhaps the single greatest factor in the evolution of retail over the past 23 years but surprisingly only about 9% of retail purchases were conducted online last year.

The AuctionWeb: Name of Pierre Omidyar’s ecommerce company in 1995

eBay: Name of Pierre Omidyar’s ecommerce company in 2018

One of the largest digitally native retailers, eBay has grown from a passion project selling broken laser pointers to an ecommerce titan selling previously undiscovered species, military fighter jets, and even entire towns.

Michael Spindler: CEO of Apple Computer Inc. in 1995

Tim Cook: CEO of Apple Inc. in 2018

The 1990s were a tumultuous time for Apple, as the company underwent numerous CEO changes and failed projects. Today Apple has roughly 500 retail locations and has become the first public American company to be valued at over $1 trillion.

The changes that have occurred since 1995 may seem dramatic when laid out on the page like this, but instead of highlighting the degree of the change, consider instead the direction. Walmart, eBay, and Apple have grown into dominant retail forces because they have expanded their reach and consistently innovated ahead of their competitors. 23 years from now we will likely see at least one of these companies still dominating the retail landscape. To see how you can learn from innovative retailers like these, contact us at Sophelle today.