Retailers & Distributors

freenet Acquires Gravis

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The freenet Group expands its portfolio and acquires Apple reseller Gravis for an undisclosed sum-- becoming one of the biggest Apple partners in the process. 

GravisEstablished in 1988, Gravis is the only nationwide Apple retailer in Germany and a leading European Apple reseller. It received the "Worldwide Best Apple Store" award in 2000 and, with following the iPhone and iPad, is also an established mobile device distributor. 

Gravis already established an exclusive collaboration agreement with freenet AG on October 2011 covering the marketing of subsidiary mobilcom-debitel Shop GmbH.

“The systematic expansion of our range of high-quality Apple lifestyle products for mobile communications and the mobile internet across all sales channels ideally complements our strategic development into a true digital lifestyle provider,” freenet AG CEO Christoph Vilanek says. “At the same time we are planning to gradually start selling our existing digital lifestyle products in the energy, mobile services and service products sector through Gravis.” 

Go freenet Group Acquires Gravis

Google to Push Further into Retail?

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9to5Google reports Google is planning stand-alone retail outlets in the US, if not beyond-- with hopes to open the first flagship Google Stores to customers by the holiday season.

ChromezoneAccording to "an extremely reliable source," Google wants to offer hands-on experience to its customers, just as the competition (Apple and Microsoft) already does.

Apparently Google Glass is the reason the company wants to push further into physical retail-- Google leadership believes potential customers will need to try the augmented-reality glasses before purchase. Such stores will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate upcoming Google projects (such as driverless cars), not to mention merchandise sales.

Other clues pointing towards Google take on retail include recent job postings for Point of Sale system developers.

Retail is not exactly a new sector for Google, even beyond online-- the company already has a physical retail presence in the shape of "Chromezone" stores inside 50 PCWorld and Dixons branches in the UK. However such outlets only offer Chromebooks and related accessories, and Google does not handle actual product or monetary transactions.

Go Google Will Open Own Stores by the End of the Year (

Apple Retail VP Resigns

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Apple VP of retail and potential division SVP candidate Jerry McDougal resigns, the company confirms to AllThingsD, as the search for a new head of Apple retail continues.

Jerry McDougalReplacing McDougal is 15-year Apple veteran and VP of finance Jim Bean.

The company gives no reasons for McDougal's resignation, and unnamed sources only say he wants to "spend more time with his family."

“Retail has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level, and they will continue the excellent work they’ve done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services and a focus on the customer that is second to none,” an Apple statement says.

In the meantime the company continues searching for a head of retail following the ousting of former Dixons CEO John Browett, the replacement to "Genius Bar" creator Ron Johnson. Browett reportedly issued a number of unpopular orders in order to create a "leaner" Apple retail operation in the name of boosted profits-- only Apple does not want a cadre of unhappy Geniuses messing up its famed retail "experience."

Go Apple Retail VP Jerry McDougal Resigns (AllThingsD)

Go Just 6 Months: Apple Chops Retail Head

Traxpay: Software That Disrupts Banking

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Finally B2B gets a payments platform that matches the internet age.

TraxpayNo one loves a bank except bankers and bank robbers. And sometimes not even the bankers.

The founder of Traxpay worked for Deutsche Bank for more than 10 years. There, in the Payments Department, in the middle of the profitable B2B payments section, one could make a good bank career churning out bank profits-- if one could suffer the typical complaints and frustrations of customers.

The banks, not just Deutsche Bank for sure, but all banks today give a horribly antiquated service, a service that basically ignores the needs of quickened supply chains. A service that's slow by modern internet-enabled business standards... and yet expensive by any standard.

Think about how long it still takes bank transfers. Our own bank, for example, still charges 24 euro if you would like a 24-hour guaranteed transfer. Another one of our banks takes three days to clear an incoming transfer. All this aggravation and cost still prevails in the age of internet, the era of simultaneous communication.

We are lulled into expecting this low level of service because banks are incumbent in a business designed long before internet. Yet all of our businesses are tied to banks from birth by an invisible umbilical cord.


How Can Retailers Fight Showrooming?

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According to a recent IDC survey the current "showrooming" trend will affect up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales in the US. How can retailers take the upper hand in the fight for customer spending?

ShowroomingShowrooming involves the use of internet-connected mobile devices while shopping, be it for price comparisons or simply checking specs, descriptions and reviews.

The IDC survey is based on 1000 online consumers, and estimates around 48 million US-based shoppers (one can safely assume European shoppers will mirror the trend) will showroom during the holiday season-- a 134% Y-o-Y increase, since 20.5m shoppers showroomed in 2011 according to the analyst.

The showroomer numbers will only grow in the future, reaching 59m in 2013, 29m in 2014 and 78m in 2015.