Although most merchants have made a concerted effort to fight e-commerce fraud, their methods are largely ineffective against fraudsters and off-putting to consumers, according to a new survey conducted jointly by card-not-present (CNP) industry news source CardNotPresent.com and e-commerce stabilizer SignatureLink. The SignatureLink SecureBuy 2012 CNP Fraud Study, conducted in August and September, polled 379 online and offline merchants of all sizes about their anti-fraud efforts.
J.C. Penney appears to have returned to a practice it once condemned: couponing. At the bottom of the latest of Chief Executive Ron Johnson's increasingly frequent emails to customers, J.C. Penney offers a "gift": a barcoded offer for $10 off customers’ next purchase of at least $10. "We can't wait for you to see the new and improved jcp," the promotion says.
Wal-Mart and American Express are teaming up on a reloadable prepaid card for shoppers. The two companies said Monday that Bluebird, a reloadable prepaid card which began during a pilot program late last year, will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. The companies say the only fees associated with the card will be transparent and within the user's control, such as out-of-network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don't have direct deposit.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course … unless it's a model for American Apparel, in which case it's half a horse. Our friends at Photoshop Disasters spotted this equine error on American Apparel's website. The image, ostensibly advertising the retailer's line of lace apparel, features a blonde girl cradling a horse's head that seems to be leading to nowhere. (Ugh, you're going to have to return that horse back to the horse store now.)
A recent EU General Court ruling has deemed the fees a merchant is forced to pay to its acquiring bank in a transaction unacceptably high due to the interchange fees and the fact that MasterCard has unfairly inflated the service fees paid by retailers for processing payments. As a result, both MasterCard and Visa are being investigated for possible antitrust violations. Already five of the largest U.K. retailers, including Next Retail and Wal-Mart's Asda, have filed lawsuits in London against MasterCard.
Etsy is launching a wholesale marketplace, telling users it can't move forward as a one-size-fits-all platform. The move is hardly a shock. Etsy acquired Trunkt in May and appointed its founder, Dev Tandon, to head its wholesale business. Yet last Thursday's announcement of Etsy Wholesale probably came as a surprise to many Etsy users. Etsy explained that wholesale "means selling larger quantities of your goods at a discount to "members of the trade (e.g., boutique owners, buyers for major retailers like West Elm, museum gift shops, etc.)."
Ikea stores, by design, are a destination shopping experience. The Swedish-based retail stores draw in consumers with modern home furnishings at an affordable price, while their massive store spaces and winding floor plans often keep shoppers inside for an hour or more. Spending that much time picking out a bookcase is one thing; waiting another 20 minutes to pay for it is another. And after a rash of complaints from customers who described just that kind of repeated delay, Ikea stores in the United States are yanking the self-service checkout systems that were causing the backups.
Last week came news that a bevy of big-name retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target, are teaming up to create a company that will give consumers another way to make purchases: with their cellphones. The businesses said that the new company, Merchant Customer Exchange, is developing a mobile application for any smartphone that will integrate a variety of coupons, rebates and loyalty programs.
When a picture of a Wal-Mart self-checkout screen showing the wrong total for a purchase made its way around the web last week, many assumed it had been altered or perhaps the screen had been captured the instant before an update. But Wal-Mart has now confirmed that a software update impacted almost all of the chain's self-checkout units for about two weeks, causing incorrect and confusing displays. The receipts and the amounts charged, however, were reportedly correct.
J.C. Penney is changing its pricing — again. Just six months after the midpriced department store chain got rid of the hundreds of sales it offered each year in favor of everyday lower pricing, it's reversing course. On Feb. 1 J.C. Penney began using a three-tier pricing approach that called for consistently lower daily prices, month-long sales and periodic discounts on merchandise throughout the year. But starting Aug. 1, Penney will eliminate one of the monthly sales and bring back the word "clearance."