Someday soon, buying items online may require you to smile before paying, no matter how high the price. At least, this is where Alibaba Group Holdings Inc.'s new technology seeks to lead us. Earlier this week, Alibaba Founder and Chairman Jack Ma unveiled the company's "Smile to Pay" system, which will allow users to confirm their identity by face-recognition technology rather than with passwords or other digital tokens. Ma showed off the new system in a presentation at the opening of the CeBit technology conference in Hanover, Germany.

Hanover Direct, Inc., a New Jersey based mail-order catalog business, is planning to close its Hanover facility at 340 Poplar Street, according to company filings with the state. The closure will impact 35 employees, Lindsay Bracale, a spokeswoman for...

Reported by Donna Loyle, editor in chief, Catalog Success magazine In a precedent-setting case for catalogers, a California Appellate court recently clarified rules concerning fees listed on order forms. In short, the fees were allowable because the order forms created shipment contracts, not sale-on-approval contracts. The case is an important one for direct marketers. The case, Wilson vs. Brawn of California, was brought by a customer of International Male catalog, owned by Hanover Direct. The plaintiff, Jacq Wilson, argued that the insurance fee he paid for his shipment was deceptive, even though he knew of the fee before ordering and did not want to return the

Farley Nachemin, chief merchandising officer of The Company Store Group, Hanover Direct, sheds some light on why it’s worthwhile to cultivate good vendor relationships. Nachemin most recently was president of Hanover’s Domestications catalog. He recently spoke with Alicia Orr Suman, contributing editor. Catalog Success: Why are vendor relations so important? Nachemin: Along with paper and postage, merchandise is a major expense for a cataloger. You can achieve price opportunities, flexibility and other benefits from good vendor relations. For private-label merchandise, vendor relationships are vital for ensuring that you get the quality and good service you expect. CS: Why is flexibility crucial? Nachemin: It

Putting aside for a moment the criticisms about its overall business model, Amazon.com offers numerous lessons for Web retailers—namely, the inherent beauty of Internet partnerships. Indeed, Amazon set the standard for this mainstay in the e-commerce world, and numerous catalogers have adopted these principles to great success. In fact, 10 percent of all Internet sales and 3 to 5 percent of all online catalog Web sales come through affiliate sites—and these numbers are rising rapidly, noted two consultants at the recent Direct Marketing Association Annual conference in Chicago. In their seminar entitled “Internet Partnerships: Understanding the Key to Catalog Growth,” John Deneen, president of

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