Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Four years ago, Google and Canon founded the non-profit LOT (License on Transfer) Network to combat litigation by trolls — companies that don’t make products, but seek profits from challenging patents. Now, Red Hat and Lenovo Group, two of LOT’s 224 members, are offering free patents to any startup that joins the group. When the dotcom bubble burst 20 years ago, bankrupt firms sold their patents, which were bought by speculators. Patent suits are declining, but are still an issue for companies of all sizes. Continue reading Red Hat and Lenovo Entice Startups to Join Anti-Troll Network

Mall Owners Reinvent Their Properties in Online Shopping Era

As a number of retailers go bankrupt due to the consumer migration to online shopping, mall owners are adjusting strategies to make their real estate and facilities more appealing. These changes have included turning malls into destinations, with everything from rock-climbing gyms and mini-golf courses to restaurants and bars. The major remodels will mean higher rents for new tenants but, even so, say the experts, it’s uncertain that the mall owners are taking into account the increased expenses of running large customized spaces. Continue reading Mall Owners Reinvent Their Properties in Online Shopping Era

With Nine Retail Bankruptcies in 2017, Levels Approach 2008

So far this year, nine major U.S. retailers have declared bankruptcy, a rate disturbingly close to recessionary levels. Bankrupt retailers include Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gordmans, Eastern Outfitters and Gander Mountain. Another trend shows retailers that are hanging on to their businesses closing down stores in record numbers, with more than 3,500 stores expected to close in the next several months. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears alone will close more than 100 stores each. Continue reading With Nine Retail Bankruptcies in 2017, Levels Approach 2008

Survey Shows Growth in Online Shopping, Impacting Retailers

According to an annual survey of online shoppers conducted by UPS and comScore (now in its fifth year), consumers indicate for the first time that they made more purchases via the Web than in physical stores. Shoppers say they made 51 percent of purchases online this year, compared to 48 percent last year and 47 percent in 2014. Respondents also indicated an increase in mobile shopping; 44 percent of smartphone users used their device for purchases, compared to 41 percent the previous year. As a result, some department stores are experiencing sales slumps. Continue reading Survey Shows Growth in Online Shopping, Impacting Retailers

GoEnjoy.com: Startup Brings a Personal Touch to Online Retail

Ron Johnson, a former retail exec with Apple and J.C. Penney, has launched a Web-only startup to offer a new twist on online retail. Menlo Park-based Enjoy Technology will begin offering high-end consumer electronics in select locations today via its website, GoEnjoy.com. The site will sell smartphones, laptops, tablets, drones, and more — in addition to offering free delivery and in-home setup service. Johnson expects that the in-home service will give Enjoy an advantage over established rivals such as Amazon and eBay. Continue reading GoEnjoy.com: Startup Brings a Personal Touch to Online Retail

Brands, Media Companies Try Out Tumblr Autoplay Video Ads

Tumblr is following in the footsteps of Facebook with its new autoplay video ads that will appear in users’ feeds. Yahoo, which owns Tumblr, launched the service with ads from Universal, CW, Hulu, and others. The video ads will be mute by default and play in a continuous loop. They will only play automatically when a mobile user has a Wi-Fi connection. Yahoo is hoping that the new ads will help the $1.1 billion Tumblr deal lead to generating significant revenue. Continue reading Brands, Media Companies Try Out Tumblr Autoplay Video Ads

Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers

Ron Johnson, a former executive at J.C. Penney and Target and the man behind Apple’s successful retail stores, is now leading a new company into the future of shopping. The startup is called Enjoy, and most of its plans are still under lock, but Johnson suggests the company is trying to change the way online shoppers connect with new products. Enjoy’s service, which may bring a little more human touch to the process of choosing products, is scheduled to launch next year. Continue reading Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers