Before Ecommerce . Mcommerce

Mcommerce.  It all started with Parcel Post.

Private express companies and country retail merchants fought long and hard against parcel post, but rural residents represented 54% of the country’s population, and they were equally vocal. While the question was still being hotly debated in Congress, one of the express companies declared a large dividend to stockholders, and public indignation at so-called exorbitant profits helped decide the issue for Congress.

shutterstock_93921085The new mailing option of parcel post became law in 1912, and service began January 1, 1913. It was an instant success. In all parts of the country, enthusiastic advocates of the service celebrated by mailing thousands of parcels in the first few days. The effect on the national economy was electric. Marketing and merchandising through parcel post gave rise to great mail-order houses.

Montgomery Ward, the first mail-order house, started with a one-page catalog in 1872. After parcel post began, the mail-order catalog became the most important book in the farmhouse next to the Bible; it was, in fact, often called – “The Homesteader’s Bible” or “The Wish Book.”

Screen shot 2014-08-26 at 7.09.48 AMSears, Roebuck and Company followed Montgomery Ward in 1893. In 1897, after one year of rural delivery, Sears boasted it was selling four suits and a watch every minute, a revolver every two minutes, and a buggy every 10 minutes. After five years of parcel post delivery, Sears had tripled its revenues.