E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act — legislation designed to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes — made it past its first procedural obstacle Monday evening when the Senate voted 74-20 to consider the proposal for debate and amendment. Some anti-tax activists have described the bill as a tax grab, potential bureaucratic nightmare and infringement on states’ rights, while others view it as a necessary step to save brick-and-mortar retailers. Continue reading E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

U.S. Senate Votes in Favor of Levying Internet Sales Taxes

Some senators argued that implementing an Internet sales tax would be harmful to taxpayers, would be anti-business and would create a “bureaucratic nightmare.” Nonetheless, endorsement of Internet sales taxes onto a Democratic budget bill passed easily in the Senate last week by a 75 to 24 margin. The adopted amendment allows states to “collect taxes on remote sales,” ushering in the first national Internet sales tax. Continue reading U.S. Senate Votes in Favor of Levying Internet Sales Taxes

Google Quietly Tests Car-Shopping Service in California

Google is getting closer to becoming a jack-of-all-trades as the company takes on another role: car-shopping service. With its new approach (being tested in Northern California), search pages related to vehicles will include a Google link that offers details on local car dealerships by vehicle I.D. and sticker prices. However, by current law, Google is not allowed to make any profit on the car dealership transactions. Continue reading Google Quietly Tests Car-Shopping Service in California

Are We Closer to a Marketplace for Used Digital Content?

Amazon and Apple, today’s biggest forces in electronic goods, are separately pursuing a digital marketplace, where items such as e-books, music, movies and software can be bought, sold and exchanged. The Apple system would enable this to happen through file transfers. However, the system would limit the digital copy to one user at any given time. Will content producers eventually see their work devalued in such a marketplace? Continue reading Are We Closer to a Marketplace for Used Digital Content?

Will Google Shopping Express Compete with Amazon Prime?

Google has begun testing its own e-commerce site called “Google Shopping Express,” with same-day delivery from stores like Target, Walgreens and Walmart. The site is expected to offer a $64 annual deal, compared to competitor Amazon Prime’s $79 service. Google’s Tom Fallows, an e-commerce product manager, is reportedly running the project, and the company is currently working with personal delivery and online services. Continue reading Will Google Shopping Express Compete with Amazon Prime?

3D Virtual Try-On: iPad App Helps You Shop for New Glasses

A new augmented reality e-commerce application for Glasses.com may not only revolutionize how consumers shop for eyeglasses, but could also have a significant impact on online shopping. The iOS app scans multiple angles of your face and uses a QR code (held up to your head) to determine the scale of your face. Then the app can superimpose glasses on images of your face to offer a virtual fitting room experience. Continue reading 3D Virtual Try-On: iPad App Helps You Shop for New Glasses

Google Takes Next Step to Dominate Retail with Acquisition

Google’s purchase this month of Channel Intelligence, a data management platform for retailer inventory, suggests that Google has plans to become the dominant player in global e-commerce. In the U.S. alone, that market is already worth $186 billion. The $125 million deal will not only impact Google’s ad business, but underscores the company’s strategy to work its way into the retail market, starting with e-commerce websites. Continue reading Google Takes Next Step to Dominate Retail with Acquisition

Amazon Growing, But Will Need to Fend Off Google in Retail

Back in 1990, Walmart suprassed Kmart in sales. In 1992, it passed up Sears. By 2011, it had higher worldwide sales than the combined total sales of the next six biggest retailers: Kroger, Target, Walgreens, Costco, Home Depot and CVS. That same year, Amazon was 15th on the list of top retailers. This year, it’ll likely end up in the 7th spot, just a few billion behind Target. But is Google stealing online retail from Amazon? Continue reading Amazon Growing, But Will Need to Fend Off Google in Retail

Digital Future Report: Mobile Will Lead the Charge in 2013

Technology predictions for 2013 are in and it’s all about mobile this year. According to comScore, the movement toward mobile is taking place everywhere from shopping to media to search — all of which combined could lead to a difficult economic transition for some companies as they struggle to stay ahead of rapidly changing consumer behavior. Continue reading Digital Future Report: Mobile Will Lead the Charge in 2013

Is the Airline Industry a Model for the Future of Retail?

Ten years from now, how different will the retail experience be? Fast Company takes a look at “the recent history of how we purchase and consume air travel” as a potential model for the future. While customers used to be able to buy all-in-one sort of deals, the airline industry is now “pressured by skyrocketing fuel prices and roiling global competition,” leading to added fees and decreased services. Continue reading Is the Airline Industry a Model for the Future of Retail?

Netscape Founder Predicts the Death of Traditional Retail

Netscape creator Marc Andreessen, who has invested in successful ventures such as Pinterest and Foursquare, recently discussed his views on the future of commerce. The tech investor believes traditional retail stores will die off, while e-commerce stores will be the only way people shop in the future. He expects a big shift in the next three to four years, a different view from those who suggest innovation in e-commerce is slowing. Continue reading Netscape Founder Predicts the Death of Traditional Retail

Shoppers Use Tools to Keep Track of Online Price Changes

Research from Dynamite Data shows that retailers such as Amazon, Sears, Walmart and Best Buy changed their daily Internet prices on various holiday products during 2012 much more frequently than in previous years. Since too many changes can prove overwhelming to shoppers, new tools have been developed, some of which automatically scan for changes and alert consumers when prices drop. Continue reading Shoppers Use Tools to Keep Track of Online Price Changes

Mobile E-Commerce Continues Growth, Especially Via Tablets

Last year, consumers spent a total of $25 billion on purchases made from mobile devices, representing an enormous 81 percent increase from the year before, according to stats from eMarketer. Even so, that total is only 11 percent of all e-commerce sales. So it seems this is only the beginning. Forecasts anticipate continued growth, with mobile sales accounting for 15 percent of all e-commerce sales by the end of 2013. Continue reading Mobile E-Commerce Continues Growth, Especially Via Tablets

Digital Music Study: Is Spotify Detrimental to Music Purchasing?

  • A recent survey of dedicated music demographics indicates access to music from services like Spotify, YouTube, Grooveshark and others significantly decreases the interest in purchasing across all groups except the least dedicated.
  • “Services like Spotify increase access, but also decrease spending in many situations.  Which means less money from higher-returning formats like iTunes downloads, CDs, and LPs,” according to Digital Music News. “But free access also includes a range of other services, including YouTube, Grooveshark, and various freebie competitors.  And all of these are sapping the juice out of higher-end impulse buying, once a music industry lifeblood.”
  • The recently released findings from NPD Group and NARM have already had an impact. “Following a study that claims that streaming music is damaging to record sales, a distributor representing more than 200 labels has withdrawn its entire catalogue from Spotify, Napster, Simfy and Rdio,” reports Huffington Post.
  • “As a distributor we have to do what is best for our labels,” STHoldings explained in a statement. “The majority of which do not want their music on such services because of the poor revenues and the detrimental affect on sales. Add to that the feeling that their music loses its specialness by its exploitation as a low value/free commodity.”
  • In a related All Things D story, Spotify announced it has new things on the horizon, but has yet to provide details. “In New York on November 30th, we are holding our first press conference to unveil the latest major development from Spotify — and a new direction for the company. The press event will be hosted by CEO and Founder Daniel Ek, along with special guests,” wrote the company’s PR unit.
  • All Things D speculates Spotify may be releasing a U.S. service to buy songs (already available in Europe) or an iPad app, but “it is courting the risk of overpromising” if these are the only developments to be announced.

Shopping Trend: Retailers Find that Consumers Prefer Apps to Websites

  • New iPad apps are rolling out this holiday season to entice the eight percent of online shoppers that own tablets.
  • That percentage may seem small, but Forrester Research found that 60 percent of tablet owners use their devices to shop and many prefer them to smartphones or computers for shopping. For clothing company Anthropologie, iPad shopping accounted for six percent of sales this year and is expected to rise to 20 percent with the introduction of their new app.
  • These new apps aim to provide a more interactive experience and capture some of the in-store essence by revamping their electronic catalogs and adding new features to their shopping pages.
  • Revel Touch has built apps for multiple companies including functions like a “virtual dressing room,” that allows users to create outfits and the ability to share choices on social networks. Apps allow tablet shoppers to zoom in, see videos and find the sizes they want with ease.
  • “You can bring the objects to life on an iPad and you can’t do that on paper — and you don’t have to chop down a tree,” the CEO of Catalog Spree told The New York Times. The company also reported that, on weekends, its users spend almost eight times as long on the retailers’ app as they do on the retailers’ Web sites.