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Supreme Court Ignores Amazon's Appeals in State Sales Tax Fight

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2013 12:42 PM

Amazon may think its on its way to world domination with the announcement of its under-development drone-delivery service and its ability to get the United States Postal Service to actually work on Sundays, but one entity—the Supreme Court—has managed to put the kibosh on one of the company's most important efforts. 

On Cyber Monday, while online shoppers across the globe took advantage of mega deals all over the internet, the Supreme Court was giving Amazon and Overstock.com some bad news about a fight that other online retailers, such as eBay, were watching closely. The Court said it won’t stop New York State from forcing online retailers to charge sales tax to those who buy products in their state. The Court rejected the appeals of the retailers.

Amazon and Overstock had been arguing that since there were no facilities owned by either company in the state of New York, there should be no sales tax paid by those who purchase items from the online retailers while in the borders of the Empire State. According to Bloomberg, “states lose an estimated $23 billion a year in uncollected sales taxes from web retailers.”Continue reading...


Amazon Debuts Drone Delivery Concept

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 02:11 PM

Amazon, the granddaddy of big-box e-tail has taken a giant leap forward in the same-day delivery race with the debut of its Prime Air delivery drones. 

Making its debut on 60 Minutes Sunday night, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the “octocopter” drones could be operating in four or five years. “It will work, it will happen, and it’s going to be alot of fun,” he said. 

The drones, which have been a special project of the company's R&D lab, will need FAA approval before they can deliver any packages—primarily within a 10-mile radius of distribution centers for packages five pound or less in under 30 minutes.

“Safety will be our top priority, and our vehicles will be built with multiple redundancies and designed to commercial aviation standards,” the company noted. Bezos also noted that the environmentally sensitive motors are "very green."Continue reading...


HSN Tunes In to Hispanic Consumers with Univision-Branded Boutique

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 14, 2013 07:02 PM

HSN, the world’s oldest home shopping network at 36, is targeting Hispanic consumers in a three-year e-commerce partnership inked with Univision Communications for a curated shopping portal, "Boutique Univision, una tienda de HSN."

“This is the fastest-growing consumer group and they will be driving the US economy over the next few decades,” Bill Brand, CMO and business development officer at HSN, told the New York Times.

The boutique will offer products from a range of categories including electronics, fashion, beauty, home décor and cookware from brands that, at launch, include Coca-Cola, Lancôme, Benefit, OPI, G by Giuliana, Iman, Vince Camuto, HP, Samsung, Apple, Curtis Stone and Wolfgang Puck. 

HSN broadcasts live to 95 million households and HSN.com features more than 50,000 product videos, but the media unit, like many others, is looking to lend further focus to the growing Latino community that openly embraces social and mobile activity—both influential in the ways consumers shop.Continue reading...


eBay Takes Cue from Pinterest, Etsy to Enhance Shopping Experience

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 23, 2013 03:32 PM

eBay is cleaning up its act and making the site a more personal space to shop with new features focused on curation of collections, and lending a more personal feel with user profiles and seller "storefronts." 

Borrowing from Etsy and Pinterest, users can now create product boards attached to eBay listings to follow those with like-minded tastes.

"We've got 500 million active listings at any given time. It's an amazing amount of inventory, but the fact is you've got to find the stuff you want," Richelle Parham, eBay CMO, told Advertising Age. "What's phenomenal about eBay is we make those moments of inspiration instantly shoppable."

A campaign geared toward informing consumers about the new features through online videos features curators including blogger Joy Cho.Continue reading...


Twitter Hires Head of Commerce as it Looks Toward In-Tweet Retail Partnerships

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 28, 2013 11:51 AM

In its latest bid to spread its wings, Twitter has hired Nathan Hubbard, former CEO of Ticketmaster, as its first head of commerce as the microblogger readies to launch an in-tweet e-commerce effort.

Looking to tap into a market that is projected to hit $370 billion by 2017—one currently dominated by the likes of Amazon and eBay—the social site has plans to incorporate tools for retailers to sell goods and services inside tweets, Hubbard told Bloomberg. “We’re going to go to people who have stuff to sell and help them use Twitter to sell it more effectively."Continue reading...


Facebook Drops Physical Gifts, Hones in on Users' E-Commerce Habits

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 26, 2013 07:17 PM

Facebook's brief foray into physical gift-giving has come to an unceremonious end. Users will no longer (that's if they ever did) send teddy bears, flowers, mugs and other items to friends via the site, settling with a Facebook-branded gift card. 

"Since launching Gifts in December last year, roughly 80 percent of gifts have been gift cards,” according to a company spokesperson, CNET reports, with Facebook gift credits to Starbucks and iTunes the hottest items. “We're now adding more digital codes and making the Facebook Card redeemable at more merchants.”

The digital-only gift shop experience rolls out this week to all users and enables the social giant to continue to explore revenue streams without the costs associated with the fulfillment of physical goods. The Facebook gift shop will now offer more choices from more brands, all of whose gift balances live on the same, generic Facebook Card—a reusable gift card capable of holding mutiple balances from different retailers.Continue reading...


eBay Taps Online Personal Shopper Startup to Boost Fashion Sales

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 13, 2013 06:12 PM

Ever adapting, the retail world is the first to field consumer wants and needs. Now, with the latest fashion trends only a swipe away on mobile devices, retailers are scrambling to adopt the latest practices, particularly personalization.

eBay, which has recently expanded far beyond its roots in online auctions into e-commerce and on-the-go shopping with eBay Now is currently testing a six-month trial with London-based fashion startup Dressipi for its users in the UK. The service provides personalized clothing and accessory recommendations based on shape, size and brand preferences. 

Once users create their Fashion Fingerprint, Dressipi scours eBay for items that fit the users fashion profile, assembling a range of outfits fit for purchase from the site. eBay is also featuring a curated collection of clothes and accessories from Dressipi's team in its Fashion Gallery.Continue reading...


H&M Makes Fashionably Late Online Debut in US

Posted by Brittany Waterson on August 7, 2013 08:03 PM

At last, Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M has launched an e-commerce site for eager American shoppers. After much anticipation and several delays, the site launched on August 1, while there are already online shops set up in Sweden, the UK and other global markets.

With 269 stores in the US, the addition of online shopping will only bolster the popularity and success of the world's second largest fashion retailer, which has a presence in 48 countries. 

"We are thrilled to launch online shopping in the U.S.," Daniel Kulle, US President for H&M said in a press release. "This significant milestone fully rounds out H&M's multichannel offering. Along with close to 300 stores, our US customers will now have twenty-four hour access to the best of our fashion and home collections via their computers, smartphones, and tablets from anywhere in the US."Continue reading...

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