Online shopping continues to soar to in global popularity. From Amazon to eBay- there is nothing like shopping for your favorite items and brands – right from the comfort of the home or office. Did you know, however, that this trend actually started in the 1950s? Yes…the online shopping phenomenon was actually put into fruition at a time where the nation was blanketed by new technological appliances and accessories.
Online shopping was first tested in the small town of Pembroke, Ontario – more than 65 years ago. Local businessman, Lawrence Freiman, was the brainchild behind this new concept, which was showcased at his store called Vis-O-Matic. Customers would plant themselves in comfortable chairs in front of color slide-projection screens. These slides would display all the latest store items, brands, and accessories. Customers could then select the merchandise they wanted for in-store purchases.
This innovative and cutting-edge system featured user-friendly knobs and buttons to control and view the slides. In many ways, this projection system was the first personal desktop computer – which actually would not be created until 1962.
The system also helped curb crowded lines at the checkout counters. In fact, the system ushered in the first modern concept of online shopping – which increased customer patronage and fulfillment across the board. About the only thing customers had to know was how to control the knobs and buttons to see all available merchandise and products.
These units even had built-in ash trays and beverage holders. Customers were able to take as much time as they needed – since there were several projection systems available. While in-store purchases were available, most orders were delivered to the homes of customers. This was courtesy of the Teletype system, which helped customers save a lot of time and money.
The following video shows how technology was streamlined to make the shopping experience easier in the 1950s:
The Vis-O-Matic concept grew in popularity – so much so that consumers expected it to surpass and even replace traditional mail order catalogues. This online shopping system was definitely the predecessor to popular web stores like Amazon.com. Sadly, this unique concept would not catch on as most of the public expected. This was due to a lack of machines to facilitate the growing consumer demands of the public The personal computer would then take the reins a few years later – and the rest was history.
mage via: MessyNessyChic
Screengrab via: Youtube