Ecommerce thru the Internet started somewhere back in 1994, at least as far as I was involved.
I have four daughters and in 1994 one of them was twelve years old. She wanted to purchase an item from JC Penny. My wife and her went to the local JC Penny and it was not in stock. For reasons beyond my feeble understanding, she wanted the item that JC Penny had and no other store would do.
When they got back home, empty handed, you could see they were disappointed. “Why don’t you try their website,” I suggested.
Off they went to the only computer we owned, mine. I had hoped to do some work, but as a wise man once said, “Never get in between a woman and her ability to buy stuff.” I learn this years ago.
They searched the JC Penny site for the item my daughter wanted. It was available online. YEAH. However, they had no idea how to buy it. So you know what happened next. Yep – My daughter calls out – “Dad, can you help us please?”
Now, I admit, I had never purchased anything online before. But, being a little bit of a computer and software expert, I scanned the page and found the Add to Cart Button, so I clicked on it and then noticed another icon change showing that I now had one item in my Shopping cart. That was cool and pretty easy. I looked around the page hoping for that next set of instructions. There were lots of instructions for searching for more items and even some suggestions for relevant items. None of these ideas appealed to me.
Then I found in the upper right side of the page the Check out button. So I clicked on it. This brought up another page where I entered in the shipping address and selected the least expensive shipping method, UPS Ground. Pretty cool
Scanning the page for more instructions, the next button I considered was Continue
– So I clicked on it.
This opened up the Credit Card information screen. This was the page my wife worried about the most. She brought up credit card fraud risk – how could we be sure that our credit card info was going to be safe. We pondered on this page for a few minutes before we all felt safe to enter my credit card info. When we all felt good, away I went, account number, expiration, name on card and my address. Interestingly there was no place to enter an email address. (Note – I got a letter in the mail about a week later confirming my order.)
The last button I chose to click on was the Confirm Order Button
– Clicking on this brought up a JCPenny page thanking me for my order and assuring me it would be shipped soon. The message also said if there were any problems with the order they would call me.
All in all, my first experience with ordering online went very well. It took about two weeks for the item to arrive. That was a happy day for my daughter.
I was thrilled that the process worked. I proudly told anyone who asked me, that online purchases worked. Later on I learned more about purchase history and marketing based on your purchases. This worried me a little, but, heck, it’s not like I ordered anything that I am embarrassed about.
My daughter loved it. And, JCPenny never marketed training bras to me. They missed out on that one. I had three other daughters.