The digital transformation of online shopping – Michael Aldrich and the social good – BBC interview

Michael Aldrich developed the first online shopping system, he was an innovator who not only realised digital transformation – but did it in a way that was for a social good. Michael had a long association with the University of Brighton – our library carries his name. He was generous with his time (and archives) as well as his money, and I am very glad I met him.

He is celebrated as a great innovator in a BBC documentary Invented in the South East – airing on Friday 23rd and I was interviewed for that program. Factory Films, the documentary makers kindly gave me access to the out takes – the full interview is here

 

 

I was also recently contacted Antonella Ciancio of Global Finance magazine, she was researching the history of e-commerce and asked me to tell her about Micheal Aldrich. Here is what she made of my thoughts:

#3 E-commerce | Global Finance Magazine

Author: ANTONELLA CIANCIO

Ten years before Jeff Bezos left a New York hedge fund to start selling books over the Internet out of his garage in a Seattle suburb, Jane Snowball, a 72-year-old grandmother in the northeastern English city of Gateshead typed on her television a grocery list to send to a local Tesco supermarket. Snowball had broken her hip and couldn’t walk to the store. One of the most innovative ideas of the last 30 years was born out of a necessity.

This was the world’s first “teleshopping” system, an invention of the late Michael Aldrich, a British entrepreneur and then CEO of Rediffusion Computers. In 1979, Aldrich envisioned a real-time transaction system to order groceries and have them delivered. He connected a domestic television to the store’s computer using Videotex technology via a telephone line.

“I remember [Aldrich] talking about the birth of e-commerce. He was walking his dog in the Sussex woodland and regretting the necessity of driving to the supermarket,” says Asher Rospigliosi, principal lecturer in e-business at the Business School of the University of Brighton, which keeps the Michael Aldrich Archive. “Michael followed his vision of home shopping through a ‘teleputer,’ a way of using the ordinary television as a computer; in the era when almost nobody had computers at home, he turned to the needs of the less able.”

Full article: #3 Ecommerce | Global Finance Magazine

A few years ago, Robert Peston made a documentary series for the BBC about shopping in Britain. As research for the episode on online shopping the BBC interviewed me and Kevin Turner (also from Brighton Business School) which led to this story:

Online shopping: The pensioner who pioneered a home shopping revolution – BBC News

By Denise Winterman and Jon Kelly BBC News Magazine 16 September 2013

People spend billions each year shopping online, but few know it was a grandmother from Gateshead who pioneered it from her living room.It was an order for margarine, cornflakes and eggs that paved the way for an industry now estimated to be worth £117.6bn ($186.1bn) to the UK economy alone.Grandmother Jane Snowball, 72, sat down in an armchair in her Gateshead home in May 1984, picked up a television remote control and used it to order the groceries from her local supermarket.She was part of a council initiative to help the elderly. What she – and everyone else with her at the time – didn’t realise was that her simple shopping list was arguably the world’s first home online shop….

“It’s significant because of its influence rather than its direct impact,” says Asher Rospigliosi, senior lecturer in e-business and management information systems at the Brighton Business School. “If you only have a few customers it’s extra labour for not much extra profit.”

Aldrich went on to become an information technology adviser to Margaret Thatcher. Tesco became one of the first retailers in the UK to offer a home online shopping service. Mrs Snowball was recognised by Gateshead Council for the part she played in the ground-breaking initiative in a ceremony in 2009.

But no-one at the time knew the experiment would actually anticipate a transformation of shopping. Gateshead Council says it has has very few records of the experiment because it didn’t realise how significant it was at the time. It would be another 10 years before retailers would see the potential.

“It really was a momentous landmark,” says Rospigliosi.

Full article:  Online shopping: The pensioner who pioneered a home shopping revolution – BBC News

A growing relationship between the Business School Digital Transformation Research Group and Jellyfish Digital Marketing: workshops, guest lectures and research

Meeting at Jellyfish to planOn Thursday members of the Business School Digital Transformation Research Group travelled to the iconic Shard building in London Bridge to plan the growing ways that the group can work with Jellyfish Digital Marketing. In wide ranging discussions an exciting plan of collaboration was formulated to include

 

Jellyfish Visits to Brighton Business School

Jellyfish to Brighton: We discussed how we would arrange a date for Jellyfish to come into the Brighton Business School to deliver expert guest lectures. This lecture would be promoted and planned for Digital Marketing students and also made available across all courses. These are likely to happened for both undergraduate and post graduate cohorts of Digital marketing in autumn 2017 and spring 2018.

Digital Marketing and Digital Employability Workshop for Business School recent graduates

Jellyfish offered a half day workshop for 30 recent graduates from the Business School. The workshop will provide industry insights by key Jellyfish speakers, skills activities and coaching into seeking work in the digital marketing sector for attendees.

Research

We discussed how Jellyfish could provide support for some current research projects for the Digital Marketing Research Group. Specifically an opportunity to conduct in depth interviews with practitioner experts from Jellyfish, drawing on their experiences and knowledge. Areas of interest include research into:

  • The relationship between use of social media, identity and finding work
  • Best practise and innovation in digital marketing
  • Digital convergence and the entertainment industry

The Digital Transformation Research Group

A Brighton Business School research group with interest in a range of ways that the Internet is transforming Business and Society. We do research into:

  • Digital Marketing

  • Internet Business / e-commerce

  • Big Data and Society

  • Digital marketing research with a focus on the entertainment industry

  • Graduate employability and the new-vocationalism

  • Digital self presentation and social media

The Digital Transformation Research Group are visible in a range of outputs, besides academic (listed below)

These include working with industry to provide a platform for industry speakers (listed below), hosting conferences, generating online guides for small and medium enterprises to digital marketing, writing guest blog posts (such as for the British Library, below) and speaking at Industry and Academic events

Industry Engagement 2017 – guest speakers at Brighton Business School:

  • Zoe Ashford, UK & Ireland Marketing Manager at John Lewis, The role of mobile in marketing and retail at John Lewis and beyond.

  • Ben Hackett from Brandwatch: Understanding online conversations – a whistle-stop tour of the ever changing world of social listening technologies

  • Philip Wynn Jones – Head of Global Marketing Sapphire Technology : Building a community – a case study of Sapphire Nation

Industry Visits 2016:

  • Jellyfish digital marketing agency

  • Facebook, London HQ

Conferences

  • European Conference on Social Media 2014, hosted at University of Brighton (Asher Rospigliosi conference chair)

  • Enterprise Data and BI Conference Europe 2014 Invited talk: Big Data: Social Media Analytics by Asher Rospigliosi

Blogging

Invited blog for the British Library: BSA: Big Data Challenge at the British Library

http://blogs.bl.uk/socialscience/2013/11/bsa-big-data-challenge-at-the-british-library.html

Digital Marketing Business Portal

http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/ar17/tag/bbsdigmarket/

Recent academic publications

Rospigliosi, A., Jiménez-Zarco, A.I., Martínez-Ruiz, M.P. and Izquierdo-Yusta, A., 2017. Marketing 4.0: Enhancing Consumer-Brand Engagement. Socio-Economic Perspectives on Consumer Engagement and Buying Behavior, p.94. [Book chapter]

Rospigliosi, A., Francis, S. (2017) The Digital Marketing Power of Transmedia: Applying Keller’s Brand Resonance Pyramid to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, International Journal Advances in Social Science and Humanities. In review

Rospigliosi, A. (2016) Learning from each other, Interactive Learning Environments, 24 (1). pp. 1-2. ISSN 1049-4820

Rospigliosi, A.,, Bourner, T. and Heath, L. (2016) Universities engagement with vocationalism: historical perspective Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 3 (3). pp. 185-211.

Rospigliosi, A. (2016) Teaching in the second machine age, Interactive Learning Environments, 24 (8). pp. 1741-1743.

Rospigliosi, A., and Greener, S. (2016) Leading issues in social media research [Edited Book]