E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

While Amazon may be best known for its fast delivery and massive product selection, the Seattle-based company has also devoted a great deal of effort to offering one of the best refund and return policies possible. In fact, Amazon currently leads all e-commerce retailers when it comes to cash back for items returned. Where some companies take days, even weeks to reimburse customers for returns, Amazon takes an average of 1.3 days, according to a new study by StellaService Inc.  Continue reading E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

Reserve, Pay and Eat: Tock’s Pre-Order Solution to Dining Out

The current model by which restaurants take reservations is susceptible to problems that can arise from late arrivals, long waits and even no-shows. That is the reason that entrepreneur Nick Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz have joined forces to create Tock, a reservations system built to resolve the issues that often lead to inefficiencies in restaurants. Intrigued by the benefits of pre-paying for meals and being issued tickets for seating, ex-Googler Brian Fitzpatrick now serves as the chief technology officer. Continue reading Reserve, Pay and Eat: Tock’s Pre-Order Solution to Dining Out

Hootsuite Takes Customer Service from Twitter to Phone Calls

Many consumers have found that the fastest way to get a response from a company is to send a tweet, but the 140-character length and the public nature of the social network limit the conversation. Hootsuite Media, the maker of the popular social media management app, is rolling out a solution: a feature that allows businesses to initiate calls with their customers via Twitter. Consumers who send the company tweets will get a reply with a phone number so that they can talk offline. Continue reading Hootsuite Takes Customer Service from Twitter to Phone Calls

Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Following an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the use of customer information for marketing campaigns, Verizon has agreed to pay a settlement to the federal government. The FCC investigated allegations that Verizon used personal information without notifying customers or obtaining their consent. To end the investigation, Verizon will pay $7.4 million to the U.S. Treasury and notify its customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years. Continue reading Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Senators Jay Rockefeller and John Thune have introduced a proposal to let cable and satellite subscribers choose which broadcast TV channels they receive. The proposal intends to limit the blackouts when cable and satellite companies must negotiate retransmission fees with broadcasters. Broadcast advocacy groups have expressed opposition to the proposal. They believe cable and satellite companies need to cut hidden fees, not the broadcast channels, to lower cable bills. Continue reading Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Verizon FiOS Eyes Future with Bump in Bandwidth for Uploads

Verizon’s FiOS TV and broadband service unveiled faster Internet upload speeds yesterday as a next step in competing with the cable industry while attempting to reverse slowing growth. The company is increasing the bandwidth its customers can use for uploading media, at no additional charge. FiOS will provide the same upload speeds as download speeds that subscribers currently have. FiOS plans to complete the rollout by the fall, with 95 percent of customers receiving it automatically. Continue reading Verizon FiOS Eyes Future with Bump in Bandwidth for Uploads

Starbucks Mobile App to Add Feature: Online Orders for Pickup

Starbucks will soon allow its customers to place orders using the company’s mobile app. The service will have a test run before the end of the year and will roll out nationwide shortly after. The idea is to make the order/purchase process more convenient while reducing wait times at locations. The feature should also make it easier for those who place large orders. The move may be a natural next step for some, since a growing number of customers already use the mobile app at checkout. Continue reading Starbucks Mobile App to Add Feature: Online Orders for Pickup

China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

The largest e-commerce company in China, Alibaba Group Holding, has launched a U.S. shopping website as it plans to go public in what is expected to be one of the largest IPOs in history. The new site, 11 Main hosts over 1,000 merchants in categories such as clothing, jewelry and interior goods. The site is currently available to users who sign up and receive an email invitation. Alibaba has invested in a range of U.S. companies over the past year, including e-commere and mobile messaging. Continue reading China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

UPS: Free Shipping Attracts More Online Shopping Customers

UPS’s “Pulse of the Online Shopper” survey shows that 93 percent of customers are willing to take some action in order to qualify for free shipping. Not only will people do more to get free shipping, but 58 percent have also cancelled orders because shipping costs were too much, with 50 percent doing the same because the shipping wasn’t free. Along with attraction to free shipping, there has also been a 12 percent increase in the amount of people that have returned an item.

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AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

With AT&T’s $49 billion planned acquisition of DirecTV, the phone company may offer NFL Sunday Ticket programming to its wireless customers. Sunday Ticket, a premium service that allows DirecTV customers to watch out-of-market NFL games, also allows users to stream to mobile devices at an extra cost. If AT&T is able to extend Sunday Ticket to its customers, it would further compete with Verizon, which already has streaming rights to Sunday, Monday and Thursday night football games. Continue reading AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

Deloitte’s recent study, “The New Digital Divide: Retailers, Shoppers, and the Digital Influence Factor” shows that digital technologies are an integral part of the entire shopping experience since they influence $1.1 trillion of in-store retail sales. By the end of 2014, the percentage of in-store sales that digital technologies influence will increase from the current 36 percent to 50 percent. The retail categories most influenced by digital include electronics, furniture and sporting goods. Continue reading Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

Apple Builds New Networks to Boost its Internet Infrastructure

Apple is quietly building new networks, part of an expanded Internet infrastructure capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers, while providing Apple with more control over distributing its online offerings. It will also lay the groundwork for handling more traffic should the company decide to move deeper into television. Apple has been moving in this direction for a while, since the inception of its iCloud service and in response to rising sales of media via iTunes and the App Store. Continue reading Apple Builds New Networks to Boost its Internet Infrastructure

White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

As more people now browse the Internet on multiple devices, Web cookies are becoming less reliable and are on their way to being phased out. The question of what will replace the technology points to companies like Google and Apple, which will likely have greater control over the technologies behind online tracking. A white paper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau puts forward possible solutions, such as device manufacturers providing data about their customers’ habits to marketers. Continue reading White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

Following a 3 percent drop in market value, Verizon has hinted at plans to get competitive in pricing, which customers will likely appreciate, but investors might not. The telco lost about $4 billion of its value, and some say it’s directly related to the competition among telcos to be the most aggressively priced. T-Mobile has been most notably aggressive in its pricing strategies, attracting new customers and possibly forcing Verizon to lower its fees as well. Continue reading Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

Amazon Intends to Read Your Mind with Anticipatory Shipping

Amazon has acquired a patent for what it calls “anticipatory shipping,” a method the company may use to deliver packages to customers before they’ve even purchased the products. The idea is to predict which products customers want or need and eliminate the usual wait time that occurs between hitting “buy” online and receiving the package in person. The other possible effect of anticipatory shipping, if put into place, is that it might discourage consumers from going to brick-and-mortar stores. Continue reading Amazon Intends to Read Your Mind with Anticipatory Shipping

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