Retail

9 stories
Hey, Look Over Here
Twitter's second VC investment: Indoor beacon ad startup Swirl
Image courtesy Swirl Networks
Some of the biggest names in tech are pouring more money into digital ads that can follow shoppers around the store, ready to light up a smartphone screen when marketers think the time is right for a little nudge. Read More
Sad Robot
Boston MakerBot store shuttered in parent company's cost-cutting
MakerBot 3D printer
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. Read More
Channeling the frustration
Mobile app Shelfie wants to let shoppers cash in on empty shelves
Grocery store shelf
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. Read More
Future Facing
Real Life Analytics will watch your face while you shop
realLife-founders
The trio behind Real Life Analytics is aiming for a Minority Report future. The MassChallenge finalists are building a system that will help retailers watch customers entering their stores and eventually serve them ads based on their age, race, and gender, sort of like the personalized treatment Tom Cruise’s character gets at the GAP. Read More
Just browsing
Mobile commerce powers virtual window-shopping
(courtesy Spreadshirt)
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. Read More
Bumps on the road to an IPO?
As Karmaloop seeks to raise next round, it stretches some vendor payments and shutters underperforming sites
Karmaloop CEO Greg Selkoe.
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. Read More