June 13, 2019

The last few years have not been good for Claire’s, the mall-based retailer known for its adolescent-focused cosmetics and accessories. In early 2018 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it accrued more than $2 billion in debt. Although Claire’s eventually emerged from bankruptcy, the end of the year also brought an unwelcome announcement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the federal agency, Claire’s had been under investigation since 2017 for “high levels of asbestos” Continue reading

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In recent years retailers both large and small have struggled to compete against the low prices and convenience offered by e-commerce outlets. But even as Amazon disrupted all sorts of stores over the last decade, supermarkets such as Kroger managed to survive and thrive. Along with the troubles of delivering fresh produce, online retailers couldn’t convince customers to buy their food sight-unseen.

That is until startups like Instacart made grocery delivery more accessible to the average consumer. Although online purchases Continue reading

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Starting in the late 1990s, Atlanta business owner Frank Reiss struggled to keep his small bookstore in operation. Along with the growing dominance of Amazon, he also lost much of his lucrative rare book business to the online auction house eBay. Reiss considered closing his beloved A Capella Books in the early 2000s until his father suggested that hosting events with authors could turn things around for the better. The plan worked: A Cappella sold more than 500 books Continue reading

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April 18, 2019

The grocery chain Stop & Shop began in 1892 as a small store in Boston’s North End neighborhood. Since then the company has expanded to more than 450 locations throughout the Northeastern United States. Last Thursday, however, operations at many of those stores were thrown off course as more than 31,000 Stop & Shop employees went on strike. After negotiations over a new contract reached a stalemate, members of five local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) unions walked out Continue reading

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April 9, 2019

Last week Microsoft announced that its eBook platform would soon close down. This news didn’t really come as a shock to many in the business world since the company struggled from the start to attract a dedicated audience of readers. First of all, Microsoft tied the platform exclusively to its Edge web browser, which accounts for only 4.4 percent of the total browser market. The company’s e-reader app also launched without key features such as highlighting, sticky notes, and titled Continue reading

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March 19, 2019

For years fashionable firms have depended on Instagram to showcase their goods to the social network’s more than 1 billion monthly users. Along with helping companies develop into stylish brands, the photo-sharing platform also serves as a key source of traffic to online stores. For instance, a designer can post a photo of a new dress and attach a link where customers can go to purchase it.

Now Instagram plans to take that concept to the next level by allowing Continue reading

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March 8, 2019

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, approximately 29 percent of Americans said that they don’t use cash for any purchases during a typical week. Instead, they depend on credit and debit cards as well as mobile payment apps like Apple Pay. These increasingly cashless consumers are becoming so common that some companies have stopped accepting paper and coin money for the sake of efficiency. For instance, in 2016 the salad chain Sweetgreen announced it was going cashless in Continue reading

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January 18, 2019

For many shoppers, a “buy one, get one free” deal is often too good to pass up. As this video shows, though, “BOGO” promotions aren’t as special as many consumers perceive them to be.

Questions:

  1. How do “buy one, get one free” deals sometimes deceive customers?
  2. Why do retailers like Amazon show customers a product’s original list price along with the discounted price?
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January 3, 2019

At the bottom of every product page on Amazon sits a collection of user reviews that serve as a resource for those who need a second opinion before making a purchase. And while regular customers write many of these reviews, there are also plenty of others who receive free products in exchange for their perspective. The following video shows the positives and negatives behind this system and how Amazon tries to filter out the worst offenders.

Questions:

  1. Do you think Continue reading
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December 13, 2018

While airports can be tense places at any time of year, they’re especially stressful during the holiday season. As crowds of travelers rush from security checkpoints to their gates, doing something as simple as buying a magazine or a bite to eat can become nearly impossible. That’s why Amazon is reportedly looking to expand its line of Amazon Go brick and mortar stores into airports. At these cashier-free retail outlets, customers simply grab items they want off the shelves and Continue reading

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