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Target's New App

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Target is debuting a new way to shop.

The popular retail store is introducing an app that lets people buy items after scanning magazine ads with their smartphones. The app called “In a Snap” will recognize images for the store's room essentials products. Those images will be in home decor magazines including “Architecture” and “Real Simple.”

Once a customer scans the image of a product they like that item gets added to a shopping cart for potential purchase. The company says while there are multiple apps capable of scanning codes and symbols it's harder to create one that recognizes an actual product.  read more »

Amazon Elves

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It's the busiest time of year and the internet's version of Santa Claus is hiring some extra helpers.

For cities in Kentucky, Nevada and Kansas the sights and sounds of the season mean camper vans, tents and a crowd of people. Dubbed the camper force they make up the seasonal workers hired by the biggest online retailer; amazon dot com.

In order to keep orders flowing and make sure packages are shipped to the right places amazon hires the campers and assigns them jobs at company warehouses. Each year about 70,000 people are given a little extra work. In exchange their campsites are paid for, they earn 94% of what full time employees make and in some cases are eligible for company benefits.  read more »

Technology Test Labs

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Some of the country's biggest retailers are going after a new customer; technology.

Target, Kohl's and the home shopping network QVC are among the half dozen retailers that are opening up a new type of shop in Silicon Valley. Called technology test labs the idea is to improve a company's website and create mobile shopping apps.

Retailers say these labs will help them stay on top of the latest trends in the technological world and compete with online rivals such as Amazon and eBay. Plus they need to keep up with customers. According to the National Retail Federation people are spending more than half their time online shopping with smartphones, tablets and computers. And what better place to find people in touch with technology than Silicon Valley?  read more »

A Taxing Sale

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Shopping online just got a lot more taxing.

On Saturday amazon.com began collecting sales tax from customers in California. The extra charge comes after a lengthy battle between state lawmakers and the online giant. It ended with Amazon agreeing to charge sales tax with the profit going to help the cash strapped state.

And the one stop shop might not be the only one bailing out the golden state. More than 200 out of state companies with major business in California may have to charge sales tax on items shipped to the state. But it’s expected to pay off.

According to early estimates; revenue generated from this plan will feed $317 million into California each year. Of that number; half is expected to come from Amazon alone.  read more »