Retail

11 stories

Three years ago, sensing that consumers would soon want to pay for things with their smartphones, many of the country’s largest retailers — including Walmart, Southwest Airlines, Bed Bath & Beyond and Dunkin’ Donuts —decided to build their own mobile-payments system.

But the company they built, Needham-based Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, still hasn’t produced the smartphone app at the center of its strategy. And after this week, things aren’t looking very promising. More →

Industrial designers and manufacturers have been using 3-D printers for years to make mockups, models, and prototypes. In the past few years, a gang of startups have tried to cash in on the idea that these physical-object makers were getting cheap enough to get regular consumers interested.

That may not be going according to plan. MakerBot, a leading name in the consumer 3-D printing sector, has laid off staff and closed its three retail stores (including one on Newbury Street in Boston) as part of a strategy change by its parent company.More →

Shelfie is not only an au courant name for an app, but a cool concept for these next few weeks of retail frenzy. Once you have the Android or iPhone apps, whenever there’s a product you’re hunting for that’s out-of-stock, you use it to snap a picture of the empty shelf. The info about what’s not there will be valuable to both retailers and product manufacturers, Shelfie posits. The shopper’s reward? Points that can be converted into gift cards for use at places like Starbucks, Amazon, or Target.More →

By Philip Rooke

The latest trend in shopping is virtual window-shopping as the world of bricks and clicks merges. It is ironic- windows as software can power the browsing experience via tablet or mobile device as contrasted to the traditional meaning of window shopping- glancing at shop windows on street front. This integral phase of the shopping process usually takes place during “down time” cycles like commuting, waiting in line, or while watching television.More →

Hipster apparel merchant Karmaloop has been one of Boston’s rare consumer e-commerce hits: the company, founded in a Jamaica Plain basement in 2000, booked $165 million in sales last year, according to CEO Greg Selkoe. And the company’s headquarters have progressively taken over the inside of what was once the landmark Shreve Crump & Low jewelry store in Back Bay, where it employs almost 200 people.More →