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

After a Decade, iTunes Continues its Market Dominance

According to fourth quarter estimates released this week by the NPD Group, Apple’s iTunes continues its stronghold with a 63 percent unit share of the U.S. market for digital music downloads. Amazon.com’s MP3 store held second place at 22 percent. Notably, the NPD “Annual Music Study 2012” indicates that eight out of 10 consumers downloaded digital albums or tracks during the fourth quarter from iTunes. Continue reading After a Decade, iTunes Continues its Market Dominance

General Electric Licenses Patents to Quirky Community

On Wednesday, General Electric announced a partnership with Quirky, a New York-based startup that acts as a kind of social network for inventors. This makes sense for GE as it continues making its push into the so-called Internet of Things, which encompasses various types of devices connected to the Internet – all of which combine to create a constant stream of data regarding how they operate together. Continue reading General Electric Licenses Patents to Quirky Community

Marketing Exec Defends the Crucial Role of Social Media

Yesterday we posted findings of a Coca-Cola study, which concluded that online buzz did not have a measurable impact on short-term product sales. Response to the story, first published by Advertising Age and others, was met with a significant amount of online debate, which prompted a Coca-Cola exec to post that the finding can be viewed as accurate in isolation, but should not diminish the crucial role of social media across multiple screens. Continue reading Marketing Exec Defends the Crucial Role of Social Media

Online Buzz Has No Measurable Impact on Short-Term Sales

According to a new study from Coca-Cola, online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term product sales. However, online display ads are about effective as TV ads, noted company exec Eric Schmidt during this week’s Advertising Research Foundation Re:think conference in New York. As a point of clarification, a top marketing exec for the company, Wendy Clark, was quick to note that social media still plays a crucial role. Continue reading Online Buzz Has No Measurable Impact on Short-Term Sales

Microsoft Pays Startups to Create Software Using Kinect

Microsoft is introducing a company-funded incubator program in China for outside developers to build projects based on its popular Kinect technology, hoping to fuel innovation beyond gaming and into industries like healthcare and retail. Last year in Seattle, Microsoft gave select startups $20,000 each to create software, of which it requires no ownership stakes or intellectual property rights and has no veto power. Continue reading Microsoft Pays Startups to Create Software Using Kinect

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

Will Google Look to Compete with its Own Retail Stores?

According to 9to5Google, an “extremely reliable source” has confirmed that Google plans to build standalone retail stores in the U.S., with major metropolitan area flagship outlets opening in time for the holidays by the end of this year. The goal is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome and other upcoming products into the hands of customers, similar to the approach taken by competitors Apple and Microsoft. Continue reading Will Google Look to Compete with its Own Retail Stores?

Best Buy Hopes Low Price Guarantee Will End Showrooming

Best Buy announced it will institute a new policy change starting on March 3 that the company says will kill “showrooming” in its stores for good. The change is a permanent version of the temporary price-matching initiative Best Buy announced during the 2012 holiday rush. Whenever a customer asks for it, the retailer plans to match prices offered by local retail stores and major online competitors. Continue reading Best Buy Hopes Low Price Guarantee Will End Showrooming

Tim Cook on Expansion of Retail and the Apple Ecosystem

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the keynote address at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference on Tuesday and indicated that the Apple ecosystem is still growing. He explained that Apple has now paid out $8 billion to developers, up $1 billion from earlier this year. Cook also discussed the company’s continued focus on retail, competition in the smartphone sector, the need for tablets of varied sizes and the importance of software and services. Continue reading Tim Cook on Expansion of Retail and the Apple Ecosystem

Sales of Physical Toys Impacted by Rise of Tablets and Apps

Jim Silver, editor in chief of timetoplaymag.com, estimates that more than 90 percent of the “so-called app toys that were trotted out last year sold poorly,” reports the Wall Street Journal. But toy companies are still trying to make it work, begging the question: “why have a hybrid, combining some aspect of a tablet with an actual physical toy or game, when a tablet alone will do?” Continue reading Sales of Physical Toys Impacted by Rise of Tablets and Apps

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

Legal: Amazon Granted Patent Regarding Used Digital Content

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted Amazon a broad patent that covers a “secondary market for digital objects,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. “According to the text of the patent, which Amazon first applied for in May 2009, digital objects not only include e-books, but also ‘audio, video, computer applications, etc.’ that are purchased from an original vendor.” Will a new market for used digital content have legal implications? Continue reading Legal: Amazon Granted Patent Regarding Used Digital Content

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