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Debit cards first choice as way to pay for gifts

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Once again debit/check cards will be the payment of choice this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
The survey shows that 39.1 percent of consumers will use their debit/check cards most often when making holiday purchases, up from 34.3 percent in 2005. Nearly one in three people (30.5 percent) will rely on their credit cards for holiday shopping and, for the first time in two years, the number of people using cash at the register will drop. Continue Reading Debit cards first choice as way to pay for gifts

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Safeway changes to help ease shopping for blind

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New devices are being installed in Safeway stores to make it easier for visually impaired shoppers to purchase items.
Shoppers who struggle with reading the touchscreen on point of sale payment machines will now be able to use a standard telephone keypad, which plugs into existing POS payment machines allowing them to enter their PIN, telephone number and other information privately and independently. Continue Reading Safeway changes to help ease shopping for blind

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Advertisers now want their online clicks accounted for.
In reaction to advertiser questions, companies such as Google, Yahoo and LookSmart are working with industry groups to answer basic questions about how click-based advertising works. Continue Reading Advertisers want auditors to check online ad counts

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User-generated reviews bring in new customers

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Retailers are saying that online reviews might be boosting business.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about products, and now consumers can peruse the opinions of other buyers before making a purchase.
The trend is catching on, and stores are racing to include review features on their Web sites before the holiday season shopping begins. Continue Reading User-generated reviews bring in new customers

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Target Corp. is offering extended electronics service plans – just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The plans offer three years of coverage on all consumer electronics, except for contract cell phones.
Consumers can buy a service plan when they purchase an item or up to 90 days after a purchase. The three-year period starts on the date the item was purchased.
The plans range in price from $19 for products priced under $200 to $79 for products that sell for $1,000 or more.
Consumers appear to be seeking not only low prices, but better service for complex gadgets. Continue Reading Retailer boosts extended electronics service plans

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Pink ribbons show power of color as brand symbol

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Pale pink is catching on in a big way.
Pink ribbons were first given out in 1992 to raise awareness about breast cancer, a disease that the American Cancer Society estimates will kill 40,970 women in 2006.
Now the number of companies and items supporting breast cancer awareness seems limitless, showing just how successful using “color as a brand symbol” can be. Continue Reading Pink ribbons show power of color as brand symbol

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Increased Internet shopping convenience means bringing the sales clerk to you — using technology, of course.
“Click to chat,” uses instant messaging to enable the online customer to ask a sales clerk questions. Another service, “click to call back,” lets customers click an icon that prompts them for their telephone number so a company representative can call them. Continue Reading Internet shopping: sales clerks available online

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The wave of the future: vending for cell phones

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Motorola Inc. has unveiled “Instantmoto,” a “robotic store” stocked with phones and phone accessories. Not exactly a stuffed animal or a bag of chips, but a similar format.
The giant vending machines have a robotic arm that picks up an item and places it at the customer’s disposal.
Beginning as a pilot program in 20 locations nationwide, Instantmoto will be targeted at airports and malls. A Macy’s store in Chicago and the San Francisco International Airport will be the first to test the machine. Continue Reading The wave of the future: vending for cell phones

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Coffee, chiropractic care, therapy all in one place

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Can you think of a better way to relax while waiting for a massage or chiropractic appointment than sipping on a coffee or an espresso?
Jamie Chaffin and Tamara Steinbach hope the answer is no.
The pair opened Brew Me Coffee Lounge last weekend in a quaint downtown house at 22 E. Monument St. Steinbach’s Peak Health Chiropractic office occupies one room, Saline Peters, owner of Key Therapeutics, has another room and the coffee lounge is in the main room. Continue Reading Coffee, chiropractic care, therapy all in one place

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You want Wi-Fi access with that burger and fries?

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The Golden Arches are leading the way in the wireless fast-food revolution.
Patrons of McDonald’s can now check their e-mail for $2.95 (for two hours of service) as part of a partnership between the fast-food giant and Wayport, a supplier of wireless Internet access. Those with Wayport and AT&T Wi-Fi memberships also have access.
McDonald’s hosts about 17 percent of the nearly 41,000 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, and two of the five McDonald’s restaurants in Colorado Springs offer Wi-Fi, according to mcdonalds.com. Continue Reading You want Wi-Fi access with that burger and fries?

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