October 20, 2013

For the last year or so, many of the articles about retail featured in this newsletter mentioned the perceived scourge of showrooming. This thoroughly modern phenomenon occurs when shoppers visit a brick-and-mortar business solely to browse before they ultimately buy a product for cheaper online. Fear over showrooming has gripped much of the retail world, leading at least one company to start charging people to look around their stores.

According to a recent Harvard study, however, the threat of showrooming Continue reading

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September 19, 2013

For many budding tech entrepreneurs, getting accepted into a prestigious business incubator is almost as important as receiving a diploma from Stanford. The jolt of capital and resources provided by accelerator programs like Y Combinator or Techstars often act as springboards into multimillion-dollar successes. But not all startups want to become the next Google. Some would rather operate more like the Bill Gates Foundation by applying their innovative skills to addressing major world problems. While these aims are certainly noble, Continue reading

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September 2, 2013

When it comes to pulling off a corporate comeback, there’s nobody quite like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He’s had to fend off detractors at every juncture, beginning with those who denied his company’s ability to compete with the traditional video store. After almost singlehandedly ending that era of home video distribution, Hastings nearly lost it after he split Netflix’s streaming and DVD delivery services in two. The schism cost the company millions of subscribers and sent stock tumbling from $298 Continue reading

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July 15, 2013

Throughout Pepsico’s history, one thing has remained constant: the company’s flagship soft drink has always played second fiddle to chief competitor Coca-Cola. Known by name by billions throughout the world, Coke is not only the gold standard of soft drinks, but of branding in general. Although Pepsi and its umbrella of products certainly command a fair market share, Coca-Cola’s continued worldwide dominance is all but assured at this point.

Except in Russia, that is. Pepsi was one of the first Continue reading

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July 10, 2013

In the business world, companies aren’t the only ones who are concerned with attracting top tier talent. Governments, too, have a vested interest in either retaining their most skilled individuals or attracting the best from elsewhere. After all, an innovative and educated workforce can only sustain itself by remaining desirable to other capable candidates. For countries like India, this means keeping doctors and engineers local so they can help a homeland in need rather than travel abroad for greater fortunes. Continue reading

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fastfoodClocking in at 800 calories with 53 grams of fat and 2,430 milligrams of sodium, Burger King’s Suicide Burger certainly lives up to its name. This outrageous creation features four patties, four slices of cheese and loads of bacon all slathered in special sauce. The existence of this burger brings to mind many troubling questions, not least of which is, “Why would Burger King offer such an abomination to their customers?” Well, as strange as it may seem, they technically Continue reading

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forkTechnology has streamlined so many aspects of modern life that it can be difficult to remember a time when little electronic gadgets didn’t rule the world. Although millions of Americans remain inseparable from their smartphones, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the country’s dependence on technology. In fact, a growing number of scholars and cultural observers are worried that today’s latest innovations are becoming too efficient for humanity’s own good.

Take Google’s self-driving car, for instance. One neuroscientist recently laid Continue reading

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April 25, 2013

manniIf you’ve ever walked into a store and instantly had the feeling like you’re being watched, it’s because you usually are. Between all-seeing security cameras and roving secret shoppers, retailers are busy keeping tabs on customers. Granted, brick-and-mortar stores have every right to be suspicious: inventory loss due to stealing takes a big chunk out of every retailer’s profits. But some customer-tracking techniques have nothing to do with shoplifting; it’s the customer’s shopping habits the businesses are interested in.

While Continue reading

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April 19, 2013

 

priceInformation moves so fast in today’s Internet-enabled world that it can be difficult for companies to keep up. In the case of online retail, demand for a product can shift minute-by-minute, making accurate pricing an extremely difficult task. That’s why many businesses are opting to price their goods “dynamically” rather than relying on a single concrete number.

Although new to some retailers, dynamic pricing has been common in the airline industry for years. In order to lessen the likelihood Continue reading

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April 15, 2013

zaraThe years following the start of the recession have not been kind for much of the retail industry. For the clothing company Zara, however, the downturn has been something of a blessing. The Spanish brand came to global prominence in the 1990s as its affordable but fashionable looks started to arrive at stores on foreign shores. Today the company brings in more than $9 billion annually from 1,600 locations as shoppers the world over turn to Zara’s lower price tags Continue reading

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