Online Shopping Started in the UK 20 Years Ago Today – at WHSmith – WHSmith BlogBy
Twenty years ago this week, on April 27, book seller and nascent e-retailer WHSmith made the first online sale, of anything. No, the first sale was not made by Amazon. This article was just brought to our attention by our friends at IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) and tells the story of the folks who pioneered WHSmith’s launch.
And thus began the migration of retail to online, and an unfortunately slow growth in appreciation of the value of an address.
The article identifies the first book sold on line, indeed the first item sold online, as Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. This was a best seller at the time. This seems to us so appropriate for a British company, for Britain has always been an international trader, and the story is placed in India. And the book was mailed through Royal Mail, to an address which is not identified.
And we are reminded by the locale of the book, India, that hundreds of millions of people in India do not have a postal address, a problem our non-profit member Addressing the Addressed is committed to solving. Contact them at http://www.addressingtheunaddressed.org/.