This year, we’re celebrating what was apparently the first physical product sold online. What was it? A large pepperoni, mushroom, and extra cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. Who knew?
There’s no way to verify that, but that pizza sale went down 20 years ago in 1994, which wasn’t too long after the World Wide Web went public, so it’s entirely possible that Pizza Hut has it right. That also makes ’90s Pizza Hut executives incredibly prescient in the realm of sales.
20 years has given Pizza Hut’s online ordering hub, PizzaNet, a long time to evolve. In 2001, Pizza Hut tied it to a few select restaurants, followed by nationwide application over the next few years. They launched their iOS app in 2009, and just last year released an Xbox 360 app, making Pizza Hut pizzas the first physical good available directly through the Xbox Marketplace, and I can’t think of anything more appropriate to hold that title.
Thanks to their monumental head start on the online pizza ordering game, Pizza Hut has amassed $6 billion in digital sales since 1994. They’re hoping to add to that early in 2014, with a pretty sweet online deal for those in their Hut Lovers customer loyalty program. Specifically, 50 percent off pizzas. So, you need to be eating pizza from now until January 10 (when the deal ends). A lot of it.