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Kmart’s 1998 Online Shopping Ad Is a Cry for Days Gone By

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Online shopping. It’s as much a part of our lives today as breathing. But time was it was as novel a concept as Kanye West smiling.

This is a 1998 commercial for Kmart Solutions, a very early method of shopping via the internet. Perhaps the most unusual part of this is that you actually had to go to a Kmart to shop online. Can you imagine — shopping online, but going to a store to do it?

Today, we take for granted the ease with which we can buy just about anything by turning on a phone, tablet or computer. But way, way back in 1998 turning on a computer so you could spend money was as foreign a concept as reconnecting with the kid who sat next you in fifth grade social studies on something called social media. And the thought of doing it in your own home was so far down the line that Kmart actually encouraged people to come into their stores to do it.

Needless to say, Kmart Solutions faded away like Blockbuster and Radio Shack, while internet shopping giant Amazon emerged out of the ruins to become worth more than Walmart.

The bottom line? Kmart could see what the future held, but couldn’t seem to become part of it. If it did, maybe it could compete with Amazon and Walmart.

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