The vast continental scale of the economy meant, perhaps foremost, a dependence on the railroad. The first transcontinental railway link, completed in 1869, allowed goods to be moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific without having to sail around the southern tip of South America. This was obviously a major boon economically. It shaped the way products were produced and marketed. Livestock, for example, was shipped by rail from the grazing lands of the Great West to slaughterhouses in cities like Chicago and Cincinnati. Manufactured goods would be shipped out west in the other direction.
Marketing was also affected by this continental economy. Rather than pander to the rich and focus on luxury goods, the late-nineteenth-century American economy was increasingly one of scale. Mass-marketed goods were emphasized and created a motivation for mass production. By the 1870s, one also began to see the first mail-order catalogs with full-color pictures (Montgomery Ward in Chicago was one of the first companies to do this on a wide scale) which were designed to market goods to the widest possible audience of consumers. And through the railroad, every small town in the American West would come to be connected to the cosmopolitan centers in this way.