Jane and Ned Snowball shopping online in 1984. Photo courtesy Aldrich Archive
A 72-year-old grandmother with a broken hip started the revolution with a television remote in her hand. She pointed it at the screen in her living room in 1984 and bought eggs, cornflakes and margarine.
Jane Snowball of Gateshead, England, spent a few pounds and became the first online shopper. In 2013, online shopping generated more than $1.2 trillion worldwide (with the promise of higher figures when 2014 numbers are reported).
Snowball did not use the computer as we know it. She used a device called Videotex, which merged media and business information systems and made them available to “outside correspondents.” She pressed a button on the remote with a phone icon and was able to connect to her local Tesco supermarket with a telephone number. The store received her list and delivered the items to her door.
Apple’s decision to hire John Browett as its Senior Vice President of Retail has come under fire from a small but vocal minority of Apple fans who believe he may not be the right man for the job. Brits in particular, who are familiar with the Dixons stores in the U.K. that Browett used to control, are concerned he is not a suitable replacement for Ron Johnson.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook has no doubts about the company’s decision, and has labeled Browett the best man for the role “by far.”
Replacing retail genius Ron Johnson wasn’t an easy task for Apple. The company has been seeking a replacement since he announced he was leaving to become CEO of JC Penney back in June. But it seems it has now found its man, after announcing that John Browett, who has been CEO of Dixons Retail in the U.K. since 2007, is the new Senior Vice President of Retail.