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In the media hullabaloo following Amazon’s announcement this month that it was buying Whole Foods Market, largely overlooked was the same-day news that Walmart was acquiring menswear e-tailer Bonobos. While Amazon did make a bigger splash with its $13.7 billion foray into organic groceries, Walmart beefed up an e-commerce stable that already includes the acquisitions of digital natives Jet.com, Shoebuy, ModCloth and Moosejaw.

Everyone loves a deal. Realizing this, businesses have long used print-based discount offers such as coupons in newspapers to sell products. But, as consumers have increasingly obtained information online, businesses have seen an increase in consumers' demand that these businesses shift all their marketing strategies to digital.

How A.I. is helping retailers

The retail industry is inundated with buzzwords that describe the best way to engage with consumers — such as omnichannel marketing, customer journey, and a 360-degree view — to provide a more personalized and optimized experience. All of these buzzwords point to a common problem most retail marketers are aching to solve: How can they use customer data to create timely insight into what customers are doing in-store and/or online and convert that into strategies and actions that increase sales?

8 Startups Changing How Payments Work

Back in the day, making a payment as a business or a consumer was pretty straight-forward. You could pay by cash or check. Then came credit cards followed by debit cards. While these all worked, they tended to be paper-intensive processes that could take a few days to process -- except for cash, of course.

From cheeses, meats, and seafood to shortbreads, toffee, and maple syrup, the specialty food indus­try has such a wide range of entry points that if you have a food skill and feel passionately about letting others enjoy the fruits of your skill, you should certainly consider taking it to market. And not only is the range of food types broad but you can choose how to participate -- as a producer of a specialty food, you can make your prod­uct and sell it in your own retail store or via mail order or be strictly a producer providing your product to retail stores or mail order catalogs to sell.

As we enter the holiday shopping season, many retail organizations go into a “production freeze” where they halt updates and configuration changes in their payment and order fulfillment systems to limit the risk of interruption and slowdowns to mission critical systems. IT teams and security folks are scrambling to test and lock in configurations, verify controls, and plead to their respective deities that systems perform exactly as intended during the shopping rush.

At some Macy’s outlets this holiday season, shoppers who download the retailer’s app will be able to use their smart phones to guide them through the store to products they’re seeking.

Earlier this year, I (Stewart Rogers) announced that there are up to 289 million unanswered complaints peppering Twitter annually. Worse still, since Twitter and Google kissed and made up, many of those disgruntled messages are being served within page one search results.

Small U.S. food manufacturers once toiled for decades to develop a critical mass of fans for their products. Now, an increasing number of privately-held players are going from garage to grocery store in fewer than five years thanks to an erosion of barriers to entry within the food industry.

The digital age has taught us all to live in a patientless, insta-world. Twenty years of clicking, texting, and now swiping, has led consumers to demand even more simplicity and speed online — demands that keep on growing, especially when it comes to online shopping.