New Year Preview: 2018 Is Likely to Look a Lot Like 2017

2017 to 2018

Here we are again, at the outset of a brand new year that’s full of promise. Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, save money or make improvements in other areas of our lives and, whether… Continue Reading

Happy Holidays (and Many Happy Returns)!

Winter Shoppers

Although the major holiday shopping days—Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday—are now behind us, retail activity is continuing at a healthy pace. Mastercard SpendingPulse reported that holiday sales increased by a healthy 4.9% this year, exceeding most forecasts, and… Continue Reading

“Will that Be Cash, Credit, WeChat Pay or Alipay?”

Mobile commerce

Some 40 years ago, American Express told its credit card holders, “Don’t leave home without it.” If that famous ad campaign were created today, it would likely refer to users’ smartphones, not their credit cards. That is because electronic payment… Continue Reading

Alibaba Shattered Singles’ Day Records Again in 2017—Here’s How

Alibaba’s 11.11 Countdown Gala in Shanghai, China
Source: FGRT

Singles’ Day, November 11, is the biggest online shopping day in the world. The holiday was originally created in the 1990s by Chinese college students who wanted to celebrate their single status. In 2009, Alibaba used the idea to market… Continue Reading

As the World (Re)turns: Returning Stuff Is a Whole Lot Easier than It Used to Be

red mailbox on cartons. 3d illustration

In the ancient days, before e-commerce, when you wanted to return something, you had to go back to the store where you bought it (if you bought it in a store) or wait in line at the post office, if… Continue Reading

The New iPhones Are Here: Should You Buy the 8 Now, or Wait for the X in November?

Iphone 8 Photo

This week, Apple launched not one long-anticipated new iPhone—but two—whose specifications fell generally in line with rumors and industry watchers’ expectations. There is such a large number of partners and suppliers involved in the creation of any new generation of… Continue Reading

Facial Recognition: Coming Soon to a Smartphone Near You


Facial recognition has long been the stuff of science fiction, with books and movies including scenes of facial or retinal scans being used to identify entrants to sensitive military complexes. The technology has also been used for certain niche purposes… Continue Reading

Reviewing WeChat, a Communication, Connection and Commerce Ecosystem with Almost a Billion Users

Shenzhen, China - December 30 2013: Emergence of Chinese Social Media and the rise of WeChat from Tencent in competing with Facebook.

We recently attended the Rise 2017 Conference in Hong Kong, which is one of the largest technology conferences in Asia. The event featured a talk by Stephen Wang from Tencent, which owns the WeChat mobile app. Wang gave an overview… Continue Reading

Amazon Takes a Bite Out of the Grocery Market


Amazon Takes a Bite Out of the Grocery Market Amazon’s planned purchase of Whole Foods Market is one of the most startling retail news stories of this decade, for several reasons: It is Amazon’s largest acquisition by far. The company… Continue Reading

Loyalty Programs Are About More than Just Loyalty (Hint: It Is the Data!)

Taipei, Taiwan - March 7, 2012: starbucks coffee shop in Taipei station front metro mall. It's the most popular coffee shop in Taiwan.

Retail loyalty programs have a long history in the US. According to rewards program solutions company, these programs started in the 18th century, when retailers would give customers copper tokens that could be redeemed for future purchases. Starting in… Continue Reading