Poor Sears. They are shutting down another 100 stores as their businesses continue to fail. Sears was perfectly positioned to monopolize computer-based sales since they had a 100-year head start with their mail order business.
Before almost anyone had Internet, CBS, IBM and Sears joined forces to create an online service called “Prodigy” in 1984. This actually allowed people to purchase things from Sears on their home computer some 10 years before Amazon was founded. Unfortunately, their vision was just too early as most people had to pay long distance phone charges to connect in addition to the monthly subscription.
In the mid to late 90s when Internet became more popular, Sears was gunshy about investing more money into the same idea. Unfortunately, this would be the beginning of the end since Sears never really did innovate again.
Enjoy this commercial for the Prodigy online service from 1990.