April 7, 2016

Ever since e-commerce started rising in prominence, the value of the retail showroom has diminished significantly. After all, consumers no longer need to visit a store to see what types of products are available for purchase. Not only does a quick search on Amazon accomplish this goal within seconds, but the site also provides helpful resources such as customer reviews and recommendations. Nevertheless, the online retail model doesn’t work the same way for all products. Consumers on the whole still Continue reading

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March 25, 2016

Gasoline prices are lower than they’ve been in decades, but this is far from unique. Throughout oil’s volatile history the commodity has experienced several surges and sharp declines in value. This short but informative video tracks some of the biggest petroleum price jumps over the last century.

Questions:

  1. Why does the price of oil change so frequently? 
  1. Should world governments invest more money into alternative energy sources in order to decrease their dependence on the unpredictable oil industry?
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February 15, 2016

billsIn a perfect world, buying cable TV or a smartphone wouldn’t require customers to parse through a mess of different contracts and “special” deals. But unfortunately that’s not how it works in reality. A confusing collection of regional offers, options and add-ons often confronts people who are looking to upgrade their media services. The whole tangled process can leave customers wondering whether they landed on a good price or ended up paying too much. In many cases, the latter is Continue reading

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February 10, 2016

airplaneFor the airline industry, the last few decades have been more like a rollercoaster ride than a smooth flight through calm skies. Enduring consistent losses as well as the occasional bankruptcy, companies began making deep cuts to basic services in order to keep costs down. Meanwhile, airfares continued to skyrocket even as in-air amenities started disappearing. Now it finally seems like all that belt-tightening is paying off: last year the four biggest domestic carriers together earned about $22 billion in Continue reading

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February 1, 2016

For many inventors, creating a machine that’s functional as well as popular can feel like striking gold, even if the actual material reward for their work isn’t exactly golden. That’s the situation Shane Chen found himself in since inventing the “hoverboard,” a two-wheeled, Segway-like vehicle that doesn’t quite float but has nevertheless been flying off the shelves. Unfortunately for Chen, many consumers are buying hoverboards from companies that have not paid him for his patented design. Instead, consumers are taking Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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December 15, 2014

In the world of online advertising, the “click” is king. That’s because nearly every major website bases its ad rates on the number of hits it receives over a specific span of time. The idea is to attract potential clients by emphasizing how much traffic the website receives. But just because clicks act as currency in mobile marketing doesn’t mean that they’re reliable indicators of an ad’s effectiveness. After all, a person could have spent ten seconds or ten minutes Continue reading

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September 17, 2014

Although nothing in business is a sure thing, few industries are more volatile than apparel retail. In this unpredictable world, it can be almost impossible to guarantee success for a brand. For instance, Target and Kmart spent years dueling for dominance until the former won out with its more upscale marketing. However, long-term prosperity grants no safety net. Abercrombie & Fitch ruled the preppy clothing market for more than a decade, but now sales are falling as younger consumers view Continue reading

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September 14, 2014

Last year the retail chain Staples signed a contract to become the State of New York’s official office-supplies vendor, which looked like quite a coup at the time. After all, the agreement put Staples in direct contact with city halls, schools, police departments and charities across the state. In fact, the company was so desperate to tap this lucrative market that it pledged to sell a number of products for just a penny apiece. While this bold promise helped Staples Continue reading

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penniesThere are many today who feel that the time has come to retire the penny even though it has been a mainstay of American currency for centuries. The venerable Abraham Lincoln-emblazoned coin has without a doubt seen better times. In 1913 it possessed 25 times more purchasing power than it does currently. The penny also used to be profitable to produce. In 1990 it cost 0.6¢ to make one of the copper-coated coins, resulting in a yield of 0.4¢ Continue reading

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