The (R)evolution
of B2C

Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial or TV shopping channel? I never have, but when I was a new mother up at all hours, I remember watching a pitch for a compilation CD of funk music and I was such a sleep-deprived zombie that I seriously considered the need for said collection. I can’t recall if the act of retrieving my wallet and phone would’ve waken the baby asleep on me or if I, too, fell asleep before I could place my order (or really, if I dreamt the whole thing in the first place). At any rate, I don’t mean to imply that people who respond to those types of ads are zombies, just that I do understand the allure of shopping from your couch.

The Home Shopping Club started humbly enough in 1982 on a local cable channel in Pinellas County, Florida. Within three short years, it had grown into the first national shopping network, changing its name to the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to reflect its evolution. What’s truly interesting to me about this is the story behind the story: in 1977, HSN co-founder Lowell “Bud” Paxson, a radio station manager, was paid by an advertiser in can openers! Paxson used his on-air talent to sell the can openers on the radio for $9.95, which quickly sold out. That radio personality, Bob Circosta, went on to become HSN’s first home shopping host, eventually selling over 75,000 different products in his TV career.

As successful as TV sales were (and continue to be), the real game changer was a little thing called the Internet. No longer do consumers need to wait to be “sold to” at a certain time or with a specific product offering…shopping has been revolutionized from something you can do from the comfort of your Barcalounger to something you can do from the comfort of your Barcalounger 24/7! Need a ski jacket in June? No problem! Wanna order something at 2 am? Piece of cake! Add to the mix shopping apps that compare costs, coupon apps like Retail Me Not, and affiliate programs like Swagbucks that reward your online searches and shopping, and you could conceivably never leave your house (well, assuming you were independently wealthy and didn’t have a pesky job to get to).

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