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Shop Sears via LaserDisc? Yes, with the Sears Tele-Shop Catalog LaserDisc! (1981)
The Sears catalog held its ground as a significant part of American shopping for a remarkably long stretch of time. Throughout most of its existence, it maintained a consistent appearance. They did introduce some changes along the way, like incorporating color photographs and eventually enabling phone orders. However, the 1980s ushered in a novel prospect that seemed poised to revolutionize the entire shopping experience: the LaserDisc.
Imagine flicking on a screen and being able to leisurely flip through a vast array of products, numbering in the thousands. Picture this: videos that actually demonstrated those products in real-life scenarios. It might sound eerily similar to how we shop these days, but it turns out that Sears was already toying with a comparable notion, albeit with a different technological approach, all the way back in the early 1980s.
This futuristic idea came to life in the form of a disc – the LaserDisc. These discs were dispatched to individuals who had taken the step of submitting their registration cards for the Pioneer VP-1000 laserdisc player. Just to provide some context, this laserdisc player from Pioneer was their maiden entrant into the US market. The concept behind it was truly forward-thinking, aiming to transform the way people engaged in catalog shopping.
However, as fate would have it, this promising innovation fell short of its potential. Despite being an embodiment of catalog shopping's future, this LaserDisc catalog turned out to be a one-shot endeavor. The sole edition of this captivating venture was released, leaving us to contemplate what could have been had the technology and strategy evolved further.