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February 14 2014

The 8 Most Popular Types of Jewelry This Valentine's Day

Diamonds and pearls and charms, oh my! As this Valentine's Day rolls around, lovers are frantically hunting for bejeweled gifts to give their partners

Thanks to Yahoo, we know exactly what everyone has been searching for. The company pulled statistics for the most popular jewelry search terms

While some picks won't surprise you (engagement rings and diamond earrings are as popular as ever), it's a surprise to see certain brands and antiquated items rise in search numbers. Alex and Ani, anyone? How about chocolate diamonds?

Here are eight of the most popular jewelry items you searched for over the past month. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Gifts, Shopping, Features, and Jewelry

February 10 2014

Fingerprint and Eye-Scanning Drones to Make Deliveries in UAE

Amazon drones may make quick deliveries to your house in the future, but the United Arab Emirates government is looking to add similar technology to its skies much sooner — within a year.

The UAE government detailed a prototype of a drone that would deliver official packages and personal documents such as driver's licenses and ID cards right to citizen doorsteps, per a Reuters report on Monday. To keep the cargo secure, the drones would be equipped with fingerprint and retina scanners to make sure they are delivering to the correct recipients.

“The UAE will try to deliver its government services through drones. This is the first project of its kind in the world,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the UAE government, according to Reuters. Read more...

More about Amazon, Shopping, Marketing, Tech, and Gadgets

February 08 2014

10 Things You Didn't Know Amazon Prime Could Do

Amazon made a big splash in the tech world when it announced plans to use drones for insanely fast delivery. While we're many years from Prime Air becoming a reality, there are still plenty of cool features available today for members of Amazon Prime

Most people in the program sign up for the free two-day shipping, which can pay for itself depending on how much you shop. It can also be a great multimedia source, thanks to a large free streaming video library and a Kindle e-book lending library.

But there's more to be had than these three features. Below, check out some of the extra perks that Prime has for you Read more...

More about Amazon, Shopping, Features, Amazon Prime, and Apps Software

January 08 2014

Man Turns Wife's Shopping Trips Into Hilarious Game

Steve Venegas went shopping with his wife one day, just like any other normal day. Maybe they'd buy some cardigans or maybe they'd just chow down on some Auntie Anne's

But while waiting for his wife to try on some clothes, Venegas was suddenly hit with inspiration

"I'm about mannequin size," He thought. And thus, a blog was born

Mashable reached out to Venegas about his hilarious blog, "The Gap Mannequin Project, in which he tries on the exact outfit as one of the mannequins in the store and poses next to them. The resemblance is uncanny. Read more...

More about Blog, Pics, Shopping, Gap, and Humor

January 07 2014

Buy It Like Beckham? H&M Plans Interactive Super Bowl Ad

Clothing retailer H&M will go the extra yard during this year's Super Bowl with an ad that lets viewers not only ogle David Beckham, but also buy his underwear.

Viewers with Samsung Smart TVs will be able to use their remote controls to buy products from Beckham's Bodywear line. The interactivity is made possible by Delivery Agent, an ad tech firm. During the H&M ad, a pop-up menu will appear for viewers with Samsung TVs. The menu will offer links to more information and also the ability to buy some of the items, which are sold via H&M. The Beckham ad is scheduled to run in the second quarter of the game Read more...

More about Advertising, Shopping, Super Bowl Ads, David Beckham, and Business

December 30 2013

Vine Videos Show Why Walmart's Christmas Wasn't So Jolly

At least one Walmart store had so much extra inventory left over after the holidays that it had to use its outdoor center for storage, according to a Vine video shot by a financial analyst.

Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, took two Vine videos at five Walmart stores in the northeast. The first shows an outdoor center used to store surplus items, including big-screen TVs and Campbell's Soup in the wake of the holiday season.

Sozzi says outdoor centers are usually used to sell Christmas trees in November and early December, and then evergreen plants and eventually lawnmowers and garden items as the weather warms up. "This company is over-ordering," Sozzi says. "This is not a stockroom." Read more...

More about Shopping, Walmart, Christmas, Vine, and Business

December 25 2013

How to Optimize Your E-Commerce Website for Holiday Shoppers

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday 2013 have come and gone, but the holiday shopping season has only just begun. Over the next several weeks, U.S. shoppers will be checking off their lists, and according to Shop.org, they'll be spending a projected $82 billion online this holiday season. If you're an e-commerce retailer, it's in your best interest to keep your website in tip-top shape this month.

Small e-commerce businesses, in particular, stand to gain a lot by putting themselves out there and competing with the bigger retailers during this peak selling season. Debbi Lechner, vice president of marketing for Web.com, suggested that small businesses improve their website right away in order to maximize sales. Read more...

More about Holidays, Online Shopping, Shopping, Website, and Holiday Shopping

December 24 2013

'Miserable Men' Instagram Shows the Sad Side of Holiday Shopping

The thought of heading to the mall yet again for some last-minute shopping can make us want to cancel the holidays for good.

But a few brave shoppers continue to persevere. The gridlock traffic, endless lines and crying toddlers won't deter them from finding the perfect gifts before the holiday season comes to a close.

Miserable Men on Instagram documents not the fearless shoppers, but instead their bored-to-death family members.

The account collects photos of folks doing whatever they can to pass the time while stuck shopping. The number one takeaway in all of this: Find somewhere, anywhere to nap Read more...

More about Holidays, Pics, Shopping, Instagram, and Watercooler

December 19 2013

Target's Credit Card Breach Is Bad, But Won't Hurt Business Much

For Target and its customers, this is shaping up to be anything but the most wonderful time of the year.

The retailer confirmed Thursday that millions of customers who shopped in stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the peak shopping period of the year, may have had their credit or debit card information stolen. The news has all the elements of a retail holiday horror story, both for customers and for Target.

"It's an awful time of year for this to come," said Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst with Forrester. "Not only is everyone busy dealing with the holiday season, it's the one time of year where most people are shopping. It's a terrible thing to happen." Read more...

More about Shopping, Target, and Business

December 17 2013

Express Opts for Rich Media Messaging to Boost Sales

Strong sales over the holiday season can make or break a year. Standing out from the crowd becomes even more important in a year like 2013, when Morgan Stanley has projected retail sales to be the weakest since 2008.

Capturing the attention of potential customers is what every marketer strives to do. For their part, customers seem equally adept at tuning out unwanted advertising. But engaging and relevant content is often welcome by discerning consumers. This is the line Express is trying to walk with its rich media messaging campaign around the company’s Passbook of Savings, an annual coupon book to encourage shoppers to return throughout the season. This year, the retail company created a digital version of the offering that centered around rich media messaging. The campaign supported Black Friday efforts and ran from Nov. Read more...

More about Mobile, Shopping, Business, Advertising, and Marketing

December 16 2013

Risky Business: The Dangers of Selling Your Gadgets To Strangers

It was 6:40 pm, and he was late. I tapped my toes against the pavement repeatedly, as though that would magically conjure my buyer. It didn’t. Still, I couldn’t stop tapping. It was winter in New Hampshire and I was freezing, waiting on the street for a stranger to pay me and pick up my package.

This may seem like the beginning of a plot to a drug deal gone bad in some movie. It wasn't. I was just trying to sell my old iPad. 

When I sold my old Apple tablet to help fund a new one a couple of years ago, I got a number of things right, like getting a decent purchase price. But I also did several things wrong. I rewind the scene in my mind now, and I'm horrified by my naiveté. There's no sugar-coating this: I put myself in a situation that could have gone badly. Very badly. 

This season is a prime time for individuals to get top-dollar for new or gently used tech, or pick up some holiday gift bargains. And, possibly to avoid online scam artists, many of those transactions take place via face-to-face meetings. But those types of meetings carry great risk. 

In these circumstances, cash is almost always used, the devices are usually valuable, and despite those facts, people often don’t safeguard themselves enough. 

It all makes for an irresistible opportunity for criminals. 

Stranger Danger

A couple of weeks ago, tragedy struck 22-year-old Ikenna Uwakah, a San Francisco man who was killed by someone who responded to his Instagram ad for a PlayStation 4. They decided to meet near an intersection in the city’s Bayview District. This turned out to be the scene of the murder. The crime was not only violent, but senseless. Uwakah had already handed over the game console when the assailant fired the fatal shots. 

I think back to my own Craigslist sale, and the similarities put a chill in my veins. We were both selling gadgets worth hundreds of dollars (though my old iPad sold for half the PS4’s $600 asking price). We also decided against conducting the transaction at our homes, for obvious reasons, so we both arranged to meet our prospective buyers on a public street. And we both had someone with us. Uwakah took his girlfriend; I brought my husband. 

But I lived in a small New England town at the time, which is a very different setting than a rough-and-tumble San Francisco neighborhood known for violent crime. So that would have been safer—right? 

A quick scan of recent headlines reveals just how wrong-headed that line of thinking is: Criminal incidents have taken place from Lodi and Bakersfield, Calif. to Chilliwack, B.C., Indianapolis, Ind. and Tonawanda, NY. Environment doesn’t seem to matter either. Criminals seem to be bolder than ever, committing illicit acts in locations ranging from victim’s homes to outdoor locations and coffee shops. 

And it’s not just sellers who need to exercise caution. Some perpetrators take the opposite tack of posting fake online sales to lure unsuspecting people into traps

Buyer (And Seller) Beware

In the past, indie sellers primarily relied on marketplaces like Craigslist to sell their old gear. Many still do, but it’s worth noting that Uwakah took a different route: He used Instagram. Indeed, the photo-sharing service has become a popular place for companies and individuals to peddle gadgets and other goods. And with the swelling ranks of sites and social networks—including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many others—in the mix, the public has an unprecedented number of ways to promote their goods. 

No wonder crimes rooted in online sales are a major concern for the police. Law enforcement officials across the country have been spreading the word to urge people to take the following safety precautions: 

  • Choose a well-trafficked public spot for the meeting, such as a mall.
  • Schedule the meeting during the daytime. Even if the transaction goes well, you could be followed home, and visibility is compromised at night.
  • Bring another person with you. Never conduct transactions with strangers alone.
  • Talk to the buyer/seller a couple of times before the meeting.
  • Confirm the identity of anyone you intend to do business with, including asking for ID when you meet.
  • Verify the other person’s contact information. 

Common sense is the name of the game. This goes for any time you decide to meet someone in the real world that you met online. Be it a date from OKCupid or a gathering of a cool new Dungeons & Dragons club, do your research to determine these people are who they say they are. Protect yourself by not getting into a potentially dangerous situation. Of course, the safest measure of all is to simply avoid in-person transactions. There are several ways to get value from old gadgets, whether from buyback companies and retailer trade-in programs, or by selling online and shipping the items. Though you’ll want to keep a sharp eye out for online scammers, particularly in the latter case, the only threat is losing out on a device or cash. Better that than something far more valuable. 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user Jeff Ruane

Tags: shopping

December 14 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas Sweaters

We've officially hit the holiday season, which means invites to ugly Christmas sweater parties have already crowded your inbox

This year, don't get caught up in the sea of embroidered reindeer and beaded Santas. Instead, we've rounded up sweaters that pay tongue-in-cheek tributes to "The Twelve Days of Christmas," your second favorite holiday song behind Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You."

Be the talk of the holiday party with 12 sweaters celebrating swans-a-swimming, geese-a-laying and a handful of golden rings.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about Holidays, List, Pics, Lists, and Shopping

December 12 2013

Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sales Happen More Often Than You Think

If you caught the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Tuesday night, you've probably decided that your underwear drawer is due for a major overhaul. Luckily, you won't have to wait long for one of the lingerie house's semi-annual sales. In fact, there's probably one going on right now.

A parody video from UCB Comedy pokes fun at Victoria's Secret's ambiguously-timed sales, each of which promises to be the company's "biggest sale yet."

As the voiceover says, "If you miss this, you'll have missed the boat for a few weeks, probably."

The hilarious clip, above, does mention the few times each year when VS deals aren't available, including Australian summer and alternating Mondays. Mark that down on your calendars, ladies. Read more...

More about Youtube, Shopping, Parody, Comedy, and Sales

December 04 2013

8 Great Gadget Gifts for Your Grandparents

Are you looking for the perfect tech gift for your grandparents? While some grandpas and grandmas are consumer electronics ninjas, others may not be as immersed in digital culture as you are.

We found eight great gifts that will improve your grandparents' tech lives in various ways, but are crucially easy to use with features to suit any lifestyle

Whether your grandparents might enjoy a new camera, high-tech speakers or a digital weather station, you'll find something worth giving from our selection in the gallery above.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about Mobile, Gadgets, Shopping, Features, and Tech

November 26 2013

6 Hot Sites to Find Sweet Shopping Deals

It's the time of year when you should be shopping for other people, but with all the shiny department store displays and sale signs, you can't help but think of yourself

After all, what other time of year can you give your winter wardrobe the oomph it needs to carry you through March without completely breaking the bank? Your cold January self will thank you later

Lucky for you, some of the latest apps on your smartphone and on the web aim to help you snag deep discounts without needing to walk by the store every day to check on the price of those jeans. Instead of doing complex Google searches in hopes of finding a deal, some of these sites bring the deals to you — after you've indicated your favorite brands, stores and size information. Other apps allow you to buy in bulk or organize the promotional emails you're already getting. No matter your discount of choice, you can now find shopping deals from the comfort of your couch; no shopping 'til you drop required Read more...

More about Apps, Shopping, Ecommerce, Lifestyle, and Work Play

November 25 2013

eBay Makes Same-Day Delivery Service Free for Holidays

eBay announced Monday in a blog post that it will waive the $5 fee on its same-day delivery service from now through Christmas Eve as part of its fight to win the holiday shopping season

eBay Now first launched in San Francisco last year and has since expanded to New York, Chicago and San Jose, Calif., with plans to be available in 25 markets by the end of next year. Customers can place orders online or through eBay's iPhone and Android apps, and are told to expect deliveries within one hour

“With six less shopping days this year, timing is everything," the company told Mashable in a statement. "We are offering free delivery for eBay Now to help holiday shoppers who are looking for a convenient way to get whatever they need and love this holiday season, delivered anywhere in about an hour." Read more...

More about Ebay, Shopping, Business, Travel Leisure, and Work Play
11 Black Friday Survival Tips From 'Game of Thrones'

Mass markdowns are coming.

Hordes of people willing to knock you unconscious for the last Xbox are coming. Lines around the block for a good deal on headphones are coming.

If you want to make it out alive, look no further than the men and women of Game of Thrones. They've gotten through worse than Black Friday checkout lines.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO

More about Lists, Shopping, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Game Of Thrones
How to Shop Discreetly at Work

Cyber Monday is the best thing to happen to holiday shopping since Black Friday — same deals, but you don't have to wear pants to get 'em. We call that a win

That is, unless you're stuck at work. While more and more offices are becoming OK with Cyber Monday shopping, it's still a no-no for many jobs

If you're determined to get those deals without missing a day of work, we have some tips to keep your shopping on the DL. But remember, your company may legally peek at your Internet history on company computers, so shop at your own risk Read more...

1. Go Incognito

More about Gifts, Deals, Online Shopping, Shopping, and Features

November 23 2013

20 Secret Santa Gifts Under $20

Finding the perfect Secret Santa present is a true challenge

The item has to show you know a little something about what makes your giftee an individual and ideally inject a little good-natured humor into the gift-giving process. It's not always an easy ask, especially when you're working with a set budget

Inspired by the world of social media, popular Internet culture and plain old-fashioned geekery, we have found 20 items that we're sure will be perfect for whoever you pulled out of the fluffy Secret Santa hat

Best of all, our choices come in under the $20 mark, so you should ace any budgetary limitations too. You're so welcome! Read more...

More about Lists, Shopping, Home, Humor, and Christmas

November 16 2013

13 Gift Ideas for the Woman in Your Life

As the holiday season approaches, we know you're a bit stumped about what to get the woman in your life (who, seemingly, already has one — or two — of everything)

Luckily, there are a slew of gadgets and gizmos on the market this year for every walk of life, from the fashion-savvy to fitness-obsessed. Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity.

For the Hobbyist

1. Molecular Mixology Kit
MMkitImage: Uncommongoods

Sometimes, simply drinking a margarita isn't enough. In true Breaking Bad style, this fun mixology kit — a perfect gift for the adventurous palate — combines liquor, chemistry and art for in-depth experimentation with your favorite cocktails. The kit features three types of drink (margaritas, mojitos and cosmopolitans) and includes simple molecular recipes that make it easy to impress dinner guests. A great idea for a slightly geeky girls' night inPrice: $85. Read more...

More about Gadgets, Holidays, Shopping, Gift Guide, and Lifestyle
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