Twitter is experimenting with online shopping: "American Express card holders who connect their card numbers to their Twitter accounts can post on Twitter to trigger a purchase of select products, including discounted American Express gift cards, Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon.com Inc. and jewelry from designer Donna Karan. The program will roll out over the next few days." [more inside]
Better World Books - Recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the best for-profit social enterprises of 2008, they offer a wide selection of new and used books with free shipping in the US and less than $3 shipping elsewhere. A portion of the profits go to fund literacy organizations such as Room to Read and WorldFund, and their shipping is carbon-neutral. The only thing missing is the ability to import Amazon wishlists.
Whole Foods takes London. This South Kensington flagship store is the "quasi-messianic" company's biggest ever, comprising 80,000 square feet spread out over three floors offering 10,000 grocery items. In true American style, shoppers can choose from 1,000 different wines, 425 cheeses, 40 types of sausage, 55 in-store chefs, a pub called The Bramley, a sushi bar, a champagne and oyster bar and a DJ-booth to play music for late-night shoppers. The locals seem overwhelmed by it all.
The Father of the Shopping Mall "His most remarkable innovation--unveiled in Edina, Minn., in 1956--was the first enclosed shopping mall, a climate-controlled community of retailing under a single vast canopy. But it was intended to be more than just a place to shop. It was to provide a center to otherwise centerless developments, offering community, entertainment and even enlightenment. Gruen lamented that Americans, at the time, were living 'detached lives in detached houses.' With his shopping-center designs, Mr. Hardwick writes, 'Gruen hoped to offer a corrective to this grim and soulless American environment.' "
I buy a lot of stuff online: books, music, stereo stuff, clothes, camping equipment, watches, and computers, but I can never find shoes online. Yeah, I know it's pretty hard to try on shoes over the web, but I have big feet (size 13 or 14 depending on shoe manufacturer) and finding shoes in a store is usually a problem. So I found some skate shoes at Fogdog the night before last, and I noticed the package is going to be here tomorrow. They only charged me $2.99 for shipping, but they sent it 2nd day air. Does Amazon share their records with anyone? Does Fogdog have access to my VISA records? I'm happy to get my stuff quicker and cheaper than I thought, but it seems a bit weird. I keep thinking I'm flagged somewhere in a database as the gullible impluse buying type...
Wow, never pay more than necessary for anything! This is a nutty little app, it automatically queries dozens of ecommerce sites while you surf. The downside is someone might be convinced to buy a book after reading several reviews at Amazon, but their RUSure app would tell them that it's 2 bucks cheaper at Buy.com, so they'd get it there. Before a shopper had to do this deliberately, now it's done automatically. This app could be as big as ICQ, since the founders of both companies are family.