overstock

Despite big data investments, retailers struggle with inventory issues

Retailers are collecting more data than ever, but putting that data to good use is apparently proving to be more challenging than many anticipated.

According to a study conducted by IHL Group for DynamicAction, retailers around the world lost well over half a trillion dollars in the past year due to out-of-stock inventory.

That’s a jump of nearly 40% from 2012. At the same time, they lost just under $500bn due to overstocks, an amount nearly a third greater than in 2012.

Is the US affiliate apocalypse upon us?

If you’re an affiliate in the United States, there’s a good chance you’re not sleeping very well these days.

States continue to wage war against major online retailers, leaving some affiliates cut off from the affiliate programs that they depend on for income. And new battles look set to break out in some of the largest, most important states.

Q&A: CEO Patrick Byrne on Overstock’s “Main Street Revolution”

Salt Lake City-based e-commerce retailer Overstock.com  launched a new effort this week to help small and minority-owned businesses sell their goods online. Through the Main Street Revolution Initiative, Overstock plans to provide small companies with new ways to market and distribute their products online.

I caught up with Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne to talk about the initiative and what benefits a digital retailer like Overstock can bring to small businesses across the country.

Affiliate taxes don’t work, states continue to pursue them

Thanks in large part to massive budget shortfalls, a number of state governments in the U.S. have pushed for so-called ‘affiliate taxes‘. The idea is simple: by changing the laws so that online retailers with in-state affiliates are on the hook for collecting state sales tax, lawmakers believe they can increase revenue for their states’ coffers.

For the most part, large online retailers have refused to play ball. Amazon, for instance, has cut off affiliates in states that have adopted, or contemplated adopting, affiliate taxes. Others have followed Amazon’s lead.

LL Bean tops in customer service

The NRF Foundation/American Express Survey just announced the winners of its Customers’ Choice survey, with L.L. Bean coming out on top.

The survey, conducted by BIGresearch which polled 8,167 consumers, named Bean the hand-down winner in online, as well as offline, customer service channels.

Recession collides with “Amazon Tax”

Since the dawn of US ecommerce, the question has been “to sales tax, or not to sales tax?”

Consumers and online retailers are squarely in the don’t-tax camp, while state governments, which stand to reap the tax dollars, are of a differing opinion. New York state has been trying to get out of state sellers, such as Amazon, to collect and pay state sales tax on transactions, which could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for the cash-strapped government (particular now that once-lucrative Wall Street revenues are fading fast).

The rule of thumb has long been that if the online seller has a bricks and mortar local presence in the state, e.g. Apple.com has local Apple stores, state tax is levied on online transactions. Amazon, as well as other online-only retailers such as Overstock.com, challenged New York’s attempt to get them to pony up 8.25 percent on all New York state transactions.

Yesterday, a NY State judge dismissed Amazon’s suit as groundless.

Blame…..the affiliates?