July 17, 2018

Amazon’s Prime Day has a bit of a misleading name: the e-commerce site’s annual offering of deals actually lasts 36 hours, starting yesterday afternoon and going until midnight tonight. One matter that isn’t up for debate, however, is the promotion’s ability to bring in a lot of money. Analysts expect that this year’s Prime Day will generate about $3.4 billion in sales for Amazon, which would beat 2017’s total by more than $1 billion. But despite this upcoming windfall, so Continue reading

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July 13, 2018

Since its 1997 founding, the Build-a-Bear Workshop has made more than 160 million teddy bears for kids who play a key part in their assembly. The process starts when a child picks an un-stuffed animal from a bin before heading to the stuffing machine to transform their creation into a friend they’ll treasure forever. But customers don’t stop there: they can also purchase a variety of costumes and accessories for their bears. By the time the Build-a-Bear experience is over, Continue reading

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In 1873, Colgate got its start by selling toothpaste stored in glass jars. Then about 20 years later the company began using collapsible tubes for storage, making it the first oral hygiene brand to do so. Colgate didn’t change much in the century that followed this revolutionary packaging decision, even after Palmolive purchased the company in the 1950s. And while it has since introduced new products like electric toothbrushes, Colgate’s central mission remains focused on selling as much toothpaste as Continue reading

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June 26, 2018

The e-commerce site Etsy is almost entirely powered by millions of independent sellers who offer everything from vintage clothes to freshly made slime. A good number of these entrepreneurs make their living by selling stuff on the site, which explains the anger that many of them felt towards a recent policy change at the company. Instead of collecting a transaction fee of 3.5 percent of sales, Etsy now plans to take a 5 percent cut of both sales and Continue reading

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June 22, 2018

In recent years, millions of consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience of online shopping. Along with enjoying wide selections and free home delivery, e-commerce customers often don’t pay sales tax for items purchased online. However, that last fact could soon change thanks to a new Supreme Court ruling.

The decision reverses a previous ruling that prevented companies from collecting sales tax in states where they had no physical presence. Given that online retailers aren’t constrained by borders, though, a Continue reading

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Famous for its sugary Slurpees and Big Gulp soft drinks, 7-Eleven allows people to grab a quick snack and get back on the road without a second thought. Although this business model has served the chain well since the 1940s, recent changes in consumer behavior have executives worried that 7-Eleven could be falling behind its competitors. According to the leading trade association of the convenience industry, the nation’s more than 155,000 convenience stores sold $53.3 billion worth of prepared foods Continue reading

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April 10, 2018

Paying with a credit card is an almost entirely electronic process except for one notable step: the signature. Although this final part of the transaction is meant to provide another layer of security, many consumers quickly squiggle something down on the line just to get the procedure over with. Then there are people like Doug Taylor, who goes the extra mile by signing his receipts with a doodle of a little dog wagging its tail. “It gets a laugh, most Continue reading

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March 30, 2018

As anyone who’s ever worked in retail knows, dealing with unpredictable work hours can be a frustrating experience. At the Gap, for instance, schedules must be posted 10 days in advance but can change quickly if the staff must prepare for big events like sales promotions or visits from executives. Even during standard operating times this system is far from perfect, with employees uncertain if they’ll work the same shifts from one week to the next. “I don’t count on Continue reading

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March 16, 2018

As we saw yesterday with the sad state of Toys ‘R’ Us, the last few years have not been kind to brick-and-mortar retailers. The rise of online commerce has encouraged an increasing number of consumers to do their shopping at home, leaving many companies worried that they could be the next to go under. But while this is a new feeling for some, others like independent bookstore owners have had to deal with such fears for a long time. Continue reading

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March 15, 2018

Last year, we looked at how Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy after struggling for more than a decade with increasing competition and crushing debt. And while its future didn’t seem particularly bright at the time, the retailer at least had a plan in place to stay afloat in the short term. Along with taking out a massive loan to buy stock for the Christmas season, the company also claimed it had no plans to close any stores.

This relatively Continue reading

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