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Andrea Chang
Los Angeles Times|latimes.com

By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times/MCT

After years of rumors, Amazon.com Inc. might finally be getting into the smartphone business.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Seattle e-commerce giant will release a smartphone in the second half of the year, citing people briefed on the company’s plans.

Those people said Amazon plans to announce the phone by the end of June and begin shipping units by the end of September. read more »

 

Nordstrom is famously forgiving when shoppers change their minds about purchases.

Customers love it — especially those whose motives may be questionable. The Seattle retailer has been known to take back well-worn clothing, shoes bought years earlier and jars of half-used moisturizer.

When Elana Pruitt was a Nordstrom sales employee years ago, she recalled, shoppers would make purchases with gift cards and then quickly return the items for cash. Technically it’s allowed, said Pruitt, 33, now a social media coordinator and fashion blogger in Eagle Rock. But she considers it “a bit tacky.”

“We had a lot of really great, loyal customers,” Pruitt said, “but because the store was so generous with its policies, it was totally taken advantage of.” read more »

 

Consumers often turn to the Internet to research a product before buying. Fake reviews are always a concern, and the problem may be bigger than previously thought.

There have long been reports and rumors of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors’ products, or companies that pay or reward users to write glowing reviews, a practice known as cyber-shilling.

But new research shows that loyal customers are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.

Marketing professors Duncan Simester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Eric Anderson of Northwestern University did a study based on reviews posted on the website of a major private-label apparel company. read more »

 
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