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. Read MorePlay Ball!Parking apps help Fenway fans get a leg up on Opening Day
Jason Heard got to Fenway Park at noon for Monday’s Red Sox home opener, but he wasn’t there to watch the game. Instead, Heard was working for a parking lot tucked behind the ballpark, waving cars into an alley with a bright orange flag.
Fifty dollars per carload for the prime spots. If that seems steep, the market didn’t think so — an hour and a half before the first pitch, Heard was using his flag to tell people there were no more spots to be had. Read MoreFresh approach to selling underwearWaltham startup Peach building a new lingerie brand around better fit
A lingerie startup in Waltham has been keeping a low profile, even after raising more than $3 million in venture capital. Peach is quietly assembling a network of commissioned sales agents around the country — the company calls them "stylists" — who will help market the company's line of bras, underwear, and hosiery. Peach's emphasis is on better-fitting lingerie, and the stylists will do measurements in customers' homes and their own, CEO Janet Kraus said.
Read MorePeddling pumpsNew site from Rue La La's founder will sell Italian-made shoes, in limited runs
Think of Boston-based footwear brands — Converse, New Balance, Reebok — and what comes to mind are shoes you'd wear to a pick-up basketball game or a weekend 10K. Ben Fischman, a serial entrepreneur who started the cap retailer Lids and the "flash sale" site Rue La La, wants to change that. His latest venture, M. Gemi, will sell Italian-made women's shoes apropos for gallery openings and charity galas.
Teikametrics is one of those behind-the-scenes players that may have been involved in some of your online gift-buying this month. The Boston-based startup offers analytic services to companies that sell goods on Amazon.com — including local firms like Newbury Comics and Aubuchon Hardware. Among the questions Teikametrics can answer: How much inventory should a seller stock at various Amazon fulfillment centers to ensure quick delivery, anywhere in the world.
Read MoreEverything's coming up rosésDrync wine app partners with retailers to offer pickup as option
As the hordes head to the Internet to purchase gifts for the holiday season, there are two things that Google has discovered about them by looking at recent search trends. First, they are shopping much more actively on mobile than ever before (shopping and buying, not just searching for goods). Second, there are more people shopping for holiday gifts online right now than the entire holiday period last year.
Read MoreJust for you99Degrees collects $400,000 in funding to deliver custom clothing faster
Brenna Schneider sees customization as the future: when you order a hoodie or a pair of kicks, you should be able to make the design your own. But one of the big limitations, Schneider says, is the long wait. Since most of the products are made overseas, it can take several weeks to get what you ordered. "And of course, the e-commerce world has no tolerance for weeks," she says. "There's pressure for quicker turnaround on custom orders."