Decades before HSN launched in 1982 (and QVC in 1986), WWD reported on the first instance of what it called “armchair shopping.” Because of the Atlanta, Georgia, transit strike of 1950, a local retailer brought television cameras into his Rich’s Inc. store “for a three-hour direct-selling broadcast,” explained the paper’s Atlanta correspondent on May 25. “Special displays set up on the fourth floor of the large department store will feature merchandise from the Fashion Store and the Store for Homes for…‘armchair’ shopping during which customers are invited to ask for what they would like to see….The orders for merchandise will be delivered to the door.” Punching up the program were special features, including “the appearance of Miss America to model bathing suits.”
This story first appeared in the November 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
On January 7, 1980, the paper heralded another of today’s major home-shopping platform: the computer. “If the Seventies wrought an electronic evolution in the retail industry, the Eighties will bring computerization that will reach beyond the store and into the customer’s home,” predicted WWD, while cautioning that “the new technology of the decade must not be seen as a ‘security blanket’ by retailers who want the computer to do all the work.”