If you’re celebrating the birthday of the World Wide Web today – the anniversary of the day in 1989 that Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper proposing the system that transformed the Internet – then you’re paying homage to 25 years of online inspiration. Thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, Shop.org is reminiscing about the way retail websites looked in years past, compared with their more modern designs today.
Amazon.com (1999) – Like many, this titan started with simple homepage navigation. They had a focus on personalized features like wish lists, email recommendations and purchase circles. The company also touted its ever-expanding product selection by introducing “zShops” merchant partnerships.
Amazon.com (today) – The breadth of product assortment is still on display. Wish lists and personalization continue to be key, and of course there’s Amazon Prime that’s changed the way we think about online shopping and Kindle that’s changed the way we think about reading and publishing. The recent release of the Amazon Seller app could change the way individuals and businesses sell items online and communicate with customers. Other notable additions include six countries to the international site list and more than 30 other sites and stores acquired or developed by Amazon like Zappos, Diapers.com and Vine.com, just to name a few.
Walmart.com (2000) – Walmart took a little more time to launch its online experience and unveiled Walmart.com in 2000, but has done quite a bit to catch up since then. In 2000, the retailer was already the No. 1 store in the United States, with more than 1 million associates and nearly 4,000 stores and clubs worldwide. Since then, the site design has shifted from text-based links to imagery and the store locator feature has moved up in prominence from its original bottom-right placement. But site search – of enduring importance to user experience – remains front and center.
Walmart.com (today) – In-store and online deals take center stage – complete with engaging videos and buttons. The company’s mobile efforts are also turning heads – a Walmart executive said consumers who download the retailer’s app not only spend more, but also shop in-store twice as much as the average shopper.
Apple.com (1998 and today) – Product evolution has driven site design on Apple.com. Site navigation has changed over time to put the Apple Store and a range of devices at the top of the page, supported by much larger, emotive images. Need we say more about this digital revolutionary?
PizzaHut.com (1996) – One of the first known Web purchases took place in 1994: a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese from Pizza Hut, a somewhat appropriate purchase for the early days of the Internet. As much a trailblazer in 1996 as they are today, the company sets the path for digitizing the delicious experience with the brand one experience at a time.
PizzaHut.com (today) – It makes you hungry, doesn’t it? The 2014 online and mobile experiences for Pizza Hut are some of the best out there in the food/restaurant vertical. The company recently reported that they have sold more than $1 million worth of pizzas through Xbox 360 game consoles in the first four months that their delivery app was live. Pizza Hut is even exploring the interactive table concept, making it easier, more digital, and more personalized than ever for those who frequent one of the company’s 4,000 dine-in restaurants in the United States. What’s next for the brand? I can only imagine the possibilities of calorie-free options delivered by drone or beamed in for the ultimate Jetsons experience.
OnlineShoes.com (2000) – Long-time Shop.org member OnlineShoes.com was the country’s first online shoe retailer, bringing their family business online in 1996. The original homepage isn’t archived, but this 2000 version shows the breadth of shopping options by brand and category, and offers a glimpse of promotions like free shipping and online giveaways.
OnlineShoes.com (today) – Nearly 20 years after launching online, Onlineshoes.com continues to optimize their digital experience. With a massive assortment of shoes and some of my favorite product detail pages in the industry, the brand has incorporated customer reviews, product videos, alternate payments, a blog and an online catalog into their shopping experience. I think long-time CEO Dan Gerler has made his father proud.
Our own Shop.org site was archived by the Wayback Machine in 1996. (Fancy!) Whether you’ve been selling online for decades or you’re a digital retail newbie: Thanks for connecting with us online. We can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring.