Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘e-commerce’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving Black Friday

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Well, it’s that time of year here in the U.S.

Time for giving thanks…briefly…before the real fun begins, shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and all points in between.

I’m only partially joking. For many retailers, this several day period can also be a time for giving thanks and making up for other soft periods throughout the year.

The good news, consumer confidence is high, the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and the Walmarts and Targets and Amazons and Apples and all the other retailers are ready to rock n roll for the full stop start of this year’s holiday shopping season.

My predictions for this year: I’ve learned not to get too far out over my skis on predictions, but I will say I believe mobile shopping (via tablets and smartphones) will continue to grow, more omnichannel opportunities will be taken advantage of so consumers don’t have to fight their way through crowded stores (i.e., buy online only to pick up at the store later), and based on my own personal experience these past few days, Roku and Amazon Fire streaming devices are in high demand.

As for my own shopping proclivities, I don’t have anything tech-related that’s trying to burn a hole in my pocket. I bought a used iPhone 7 Plus off Gazelle earlier this year, and a Google Pixelbook earlier in the year which I really, really like (yes, you can consider that an endorsement). And I’ve had my Air Pods for over a year now, and don’t know how I lived without them (another endorsement).

But if YOU are looking for some help with the holiday shopping onslaught, particularly as it relates to tech, I found the Wall Street Journal “Best Tech Gifts 2018” list helpful. I’ve also become a big fan of The New York Times Wirecutter reviews, and they, too, have a helpful shopping list for electronics and a whole host of other retail categories.

But for today, let us give thanks. For good friends, for family, for great food and abundance, and for each other. Sure, all this stuff can bring some joy to our lives, and I’m also thankful for the benefits technology provides.

Yet as we’ve surely witnessed over the past few years, any technology — including digital technology and social media — can be used for both good and ill.

On this day, the day of giving thanks, I’m going to choose to celebrate the good of those technologies and be thankful for how they keep me closer to my friends and family and enrich my life and theirs.

For despite all the negativity and division, we should step back and realize we live in amazing and wondrous times, with great possibilities and promise ahead, technologically and otherwise.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And try not to stampede your fellow shoppers at the Walmart this year!

 

Written by turbotodd

November 22, 2018 at 10:51 am

Hindi Commerce

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Happy Tuesday, and for those of you in these United States I hope you had a very happy and productive Labor Day holiday weekend.

For those of you who were not in these United States, I hope you enjoyed the break away from your peers and colleagues here in these United States.

Now on to some tech news… The New York Times is reporting that Amazon is making it’s local website and apps available in India’s most popular language, Hindi.

According to the article, users of the India site or app will be able to choose Hindi as their preferred language, much as American users can choose Spanish.

The Times writes that Amazon is already the number two player in India’s $33 billion e-commerce market and says it has about 150 million registered users. But with so many Hindi speakers, English simply was not going to get the job done.

The story also suggests that if the Hindi versions of its sites and apps are successful, Amazon plans to quickly at options to shop and other major Indian languages.

Namaste, Jeff Bezos.

Written by turbotodd

September 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

Posted in 2018, amazon, e-commerce, india

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Too Fit To Hack?

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We’ve become aware of two more major cyber security breach events over the past several days.

First, Under Armour went public with the news that in February around 150 million MyFitnessPal user accounts were hacked, stating that “an unauthorized party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts.”

That data included usernames, passwords, and email addresses, but not bank, driving license or social security information.

No word on whether or not how many steps you took on average per day was revealed!

And The New York Times is reporting that a well-known ring of cybercriminals has obtained more than five million credit and debit card numbers from customers of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. 

The company indicated that the data appears to have been stolen using software that was implanted into the cash register systems at the stores and that siphoned card numbers.

Hudson’s Bay, the Canadian company that owns both firms, suggested that its e-commerce platforms appeared to have been unaffected by the breach.

The Times’ story suggests that the Lord & Taylor theft is one of the largest known breaches of a retailer, and demonstrates how difficult it is to secure credit-card transaction systems.

Check out this white paper from IBM Security to learn more how your organization can take a proactive approach to threat detection and prevention.

P.S. Another one that missed my radar…Boeing was hacked by the “WannaCry” virus last week. CBSNews reported Boeing announced that it “detected a limited intrusion of malware” that “infiltrated “a small number of systems.”

An initial report from chief engineer Mike VanderWel at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering that “the virus would affect equipment used in functionality tests of airplanes and potentially ‘spread to airplane software’” and that it was metastasizing rapidly.”

Fasten your seat belts.

Written by turbotodd

April 2, 2018 at 9:20 am

Posted in 2018, cyber security, e-commerce

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Now They’re Bombing FedEx

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Now bombs are going off and being found in FedEx facilities.

Early this morning, a bomb that was bound for Austin exploded at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas.  One person was injured by the “concussive” impact of the blast.

It happened just after midnight, according to a report from the Washington Post, but authorities provided few other details.

Then, later this morning, authorities responded to a call about a suspicious package at a FedEx facility near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Southeast Austin.

That is a developing story, and we Austinites are still waiting to hear what the Austin FedEx situation brings.

FedEx: When it positively, absolutely has to blow up near Austin overnight.

Hey, I can joke about this, I live here.

What is no joke is that authorities are being very tightlipped so as not to tip their hands re: the signature of the bomber, but because of this, and despite their being 500+ federal agents on the ground, the public knows jack and is getting antsy.

It’s one thing to pick up a strange package on your porch and have it blow up.  It’s another thing for it to be a package from FedEx.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Could this, in fact, be a Unabomber, Jr., one out to demonstrate how vulnerable our 21st century retail, e-commerce, and delivery chain really is?!

Written by turbotodd

March 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

Posted in 2018, austin, e-commerce, terrorism

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Cyber Monday Record Breaker

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TechCrunch is reporting that Cyber Monday was the largest-ever single day of online sales in the U.S., coming in at $6.59 billion purchased online.

Purchases made by smartphone also broke a new record, coming in at $1.59 billion in sales.

The figures come from Adobe, which has been tracking shopping online in the last few days as retailers officially kick-off of holiday shopping season, the most important time of the year for their businesses. These early days are seen by many as a bellwether for how the next six weeks will play out.
– via TechCrunch

Overall, Adobe said traffic was up 11.9 percent for the day (season average: 5.7 percent). As with other days in the long weekend, mobile has been very much a part of the story: 47.4 percent of visits (39.9 percent smartphones, the rest tablets), and 33.1 percent of revenues. Notable in the mobile story is that of smartphone-based browsing and purchases. The record-high of $1.59 billion in sales made via smartphones was a whopping 39.2 percent year-on-year increase: an outsized number compared to the rest of the increases across the board that ran between 10 and 20 percent.
– via TechCrunch

And Amazon accounted for the most sales of any single platform:

According to Hitwise, the e-commerce giant accounted for 45.1 percent and 54.9 percent of all transactions respectively on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Hitwise puts the actual numbers at 5.6 million and 7.1 million transactions.
– via TechCrunch

Written by turbotodd

November 28, 2017 at 8:57 am

Amazon Eats The Whole Food

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Since when did Fridays become M&A days? Did I miss a memo?

The big elephant deal in the room is Amazon’s acquisition of Austin’s own Whole Foods Market for a whopping $13.7 billion in an all cash transaction (what, no PayPal??).

Here’s what the two companies’ respective founders had to say:

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.” “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO.
– via phx.corporate-ir.net

Also according to the press release, Whole Foods Market will continue to operate under the Whole Foods Market brand, and John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market. And their HQ will stay here in Austin.

The other deal was Walmart’s announcement that it had acquired Bonobos, a 10-year-old mens clothing brand that started as an online mens pants sales operation but later expanded into brick-and-mortar.

According to Recode, in that deal Walmart is paying $310 million in cash, and is offering $20M golden handcuffs to Bonobos co-founder and CEO Andy, along with other top executives.

Recode speculates that Walmat may end up selling Bonobos apparel less through Walmart stores or Walmart.com, and more through Jet.com, another shopping site it acquired for $3B that is aimed at an upmarket shopper.

At last count, Amazon’s stock was up 3.41 percent on the announcement of the Whole Foods acquisition, while Walmart’s stock was down 4.95 percent.

Written by turbotodd

June 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

The Easy System

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The Staples’ “Easy button” is getting an upgrade with IBM Watson.

In a piece by The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Castellanos, she outlines how Staples and IBM are partnering to make Staples’ iconic red “easy” button act as “an artificially-intelligent assistant for all office business needs.”

Castellanos writes that the company will later this month launch a pilot program where office assistants at 100 medium and large undisclosed businesses will test the AI-powered Easy System to order office supplies by voice and text.

The Easy System, which includes the physical easy button as well as a mobile app, email and text message capability, has been in development since last year. It’s powered by International Business Machine Corp.’s Watson artificial intelligence system. The cognitive computing scheme behind Watson lets Staples’ algorithms learn the habits of individual customers.
– via WSJ

Staples uses APIS to connect its inventory and ordering systems to Watson via IBM Cloud technology, explains Castellanos.

Staple’s CTO, Faisal Masud, on the new system:

“Our goal would be to make their lives more efficient and be able to serve them beyond just office supplies,” said Mr. Masud, who became the company’s CTO in December 2016 in a promotion that combined e-commerce with his previous chief information officer responsibilities. “We want to be able to solve any request that our customers have.”
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

May 9, 2017 at 10:44 am

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