Google ad patent would offer e-shoppers a free taxi to stores

At Google they try to think of everything.

The principle behind this is that if they think of everything, there's a chance they can then own everything and make money out of everything.

The latest attempt is a patent for an ad service that would offer a free taxi to take you to the door of the retailer whose fine wares you've just seen advertised online.

I am grateful to TechCrunch for noticing this patent. It has the moving title of "Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions."… Read more

Best Buy holiday sales fall; shares on the downswing

Best Buy shareholders woke up to some sobering news on Thursday.

The retailer on Thursday announced its holiday sales for the nine-week period ended January 4, and the results weren't necessarily heartwarming. Best Buy generated $11.5 billion in revenue during the period, down from the $11.8 billion it generated during the same period last year. The company's comparable store sales were down 0.8 percent worldwide year over year; its US-based comparable store sales declined by 0.9 percent.

In the US, Best Buy mustered $9.8 billion in sales compared with the $9.9 billion … Read more

Yikes! Target's data breach now could affect 110M people

Target's data breach is much broader than once believed.

The nationwide retailer on Friday announced that personal information on as many as 70 million additional customers was stolen as part of the company's payment card data breach. The information stolen includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses, the company said.

While Target spokesperson Molly Snyder said that there could be some overlap with the approximately 40 million people first said to be affected by the breach in December, the new total of people impacted by the breach could be as high as 110 million.

"I … Read more

The Apple store of pot

Let's say you were going to get into pot.

No, not for medicinal reasons. For money, for business, to secure your family's future and all that.

Suddenly, the state where you live decides that pot is quite an acceptable business proposition. So you decide to create a dispensary to attract the troubled, the monied and the naturally pot-headed.

What should your dispensary look like? Should it have large leaves on the walls and be called Pot Jungle? How about placing random beige towels and armchairs about the place and calling it Pot Barn?

Andy Williams, a 45-year-old former … Read more

Amazon braces for strike outside Seattle headquarters

Amazon may soon have a demonstration on its hands at its Seattle headquarters, according to a new report.

Employees who have been on strike and demonstrating at two fulfillment centers in Germany plan to host a rally outside the company's headquarters in Seattle at 10 a.m. PT today, The New York Times reported, citing people involved in the rally.

The rally will be an offshoot of the ongoing dispute between Amazon and employees in Germany, where workers at two fulfillment centers have demonstrated against the company, arguing that they're not being treated properly.

"The workers are … Read more

Apple stores to host free coding workshops for kids

Apple wants to "demystify code" by offering free programming classes for kids and teens.

Announced on Sunday, the 1-hour sessions will take place at Apple's US retail stores on Wednesday. The free classes are designed as an introduction to computer science for the younger crowd, promising to teach them the basics of programming.

Kids can sign up for the tutorials by making a reservation at their nearest Apple retail store. The training is part of Apple's contribution to Computer Science Education Week's Hour of Code, a global initiative aimed at teaching code to people of … Read more

Save some cash with RetailMeNot's iOS app

There's no shortage of deals and special offers during the holiday season. But what about after the holidays? Of course deals are still out there, they're just a bit harder to find. Turn to RetailMeNot for help.

RetaiMeNot is not a new service by any means. We originally covered its Web service back in 2008, and the Android app in 2012.

With the iOS app, all bases are covered, and shoppers, no matter the platform, are ready to save- money year around.

You can sign into the app, or go it without an account and add stores to … Read more

EU inspectors raid offices of Philips, Samsung

Samsung, Philips, and Europe's largest electronics retailer Media-Saturn were raided by European Union competition officials earlier this week, the companies have confirmed.

All three companies told Reuters that their offices were hit by Europe's competition watchdogs on Tuesday. The companies didn't say what officials were looking for during the unannounced inspections, but in a statement on Thursday, the European Commission said that it's investigating several consumer electronics companies on suspicious of collusion to drive prices higher.

For its part, the competition watchdogs said that no formal charges have been filed and it's possible no charges … Read more

Black Friday: It's not just America

This week, America's retailers have put on their finest makeup and highest heels in order to make themselves supremely attractive.

My inbox has been full of enticements, all to celebrate the Feast of the Black Eye Friday.

One seductive missive caught my eye, though. It promised: "Black Friday, sólo 3 días con ofertas irrepetibles?."

Well, I suppose my name does look a little Spanish after a few sangrias.

The offers were, of course, very special. A Lenovo Intel Core i7, for example. A mere 579. A Bosch washing machine for just 289.

It was then that my brain intercepted my eyes and whispered: "Hey, those prices are in euros."… Read more

Facebookers: Thanksgiving is not the new Black Friday

Rather than being strictly about spending time with family and gorging on turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving has turned into a major deals day in the shopping world this year.

But, some people don't like it.

Thousands of Facebook users have taken to the social network to display their disgust and threaten to boycott stores staying open on what is now being deemed "Black Thursday."

A badge has made its way around Facebook, which says "Because I believe in family...I pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving. If I'm shopping, someone else is … Read more