Operations, Logistics, and E-Commerce


The future of shopping is now.


Did you know that once upon a time, if you wanted something—say, a book, a video game, or even a new set of dishes—you had to go to a store? Like, in person? Oh, sure, there were mail-order things you could get out of magazines and catalogues, but for the most part, going to the store was essential.

It was so important, in fact, that giant buildings filled with stores were built. Yes, we're talking about malls. Not too long ago, the mall was pretty much your only option if you wanted to buy music, pants, and a new chair all in the same day.

Then the Internet happened, and everything changed—as you probably know, since you're currently using it to read Shmoop. Thanks, by the way. We appreciate it. It's nice to have you here.

Once the Internet arrived on the scene, it didn't take long for retailers to realize its shopping potential. Having a physical location—a.k.a. a store someone can actually walk into—means overhead. You're paying rent to whoever owns the land or building, you're refurbishing your storefront, you're stocking it, you're making it look nice, you're making sure it's not absolutely stuffed with badgers—unless you're a badger retailer, that is. In other words, a whole lot of money goes into operating a physical store.

Not only that, but there are also limitations. In particular, your only sales are going to be to people who can get to your store physically. This might sound obvious, but it's a pretty big deal. Compare this to a website that literally anyone with an Internet connection can conceivably find and purchase from. Assuming they're willing to shell out the cash for shipping and handling, anyone anywhere can buy anything you have for sale.

This was such a game changer that a whole new college major emerged in response. Operations, logistics, and e-commerce majors learn how to be masters of online retail by learning how the heck to run a store without a physical location than someone walks into. We're talking warehouse stocking, product obtainment, inventory tracking, shipment, and more. In the age of the Internet, e-commerce majors are key players in the online marketplace.

It's nice to be in the future, huh?

Famous People who majored in Operations, Logistics, and E-Commerce

  • Trish Piedmont, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  • Lorin M. Hitt, Dean's Chair Professor of Operations and Information Management at UPenn
  • David Bell, also from UPenn

Percentage of US students who major in Operations, Logistics, and E-Commerce:


Stats obtained from this source.