The move adds convenience for urban customers -- and aims to trim the billions of dollars the e-commerce giant spends on packing and shipping each year.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 2, 2014 9:04AM

A box from is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colo. in this July 23, 2008, file photo. © REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files By Greg Bensinger, The Wall Street Journal (AMZN) has quietly rolled out a new service to let customers return unwanted merchandise using large metal lockers it has installed for deliveries in garages, convenience and grocery stores in major metropolitan areas.

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyThe service will help address a problem that has plagued Amazon and other e-commerce retailers. As much as a third of all online purchases are eventually returned, by some estimates, making it costly for merchants that in some cases pay for shipping in both directions.

Packaging and shipping orders is a major expense for Amazon. The company has been on a warehouse building frenzy in recent years, constructing facilities close to urban centers to speed delivery times. Amazon spent $8.59 billion on order fulfillment in 2013, up from $6.42 billion a year earlier.


The social media company shouldn't be changing its core product in its quest for growth.

By Forbes Digital Mar 31, 2014 10:44AM
TwitterBy Eric Jackson, Forbes Contributor

In case you missed it, Twitter (TWTR) is having big problems as a public company.

They don't have a problem with their core product. Its users seem to adore it. And it's not a problem with making ad money from it. All indications are that that's going swimmingly.

Forbes on MSN MoneyThe problem is that its executives are worried that not enough people use it. And, because of this, they feel external pressure – from Wall Street – to increase the number of users it has and how often people use the service.

The developer behind one of the most successful video games in the world nixed plans to work with Oculus after the virtual reality company was acquired by the social media giant.

By Forbes Digital Mar 26, 2014 4:09PM

When Facebook (FB) announced a $2 billion dollar deal to buy virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg promised the new technology would help "change the way we work, play and communicate," and critics hailed the acquisition as a huge win for Facebook.

But at least one video game industry notable isn't happy about the deal. Markus "Notch" Persson, the video game designer who created the smash hit sandbox construction game Minecraft, says he has no intentions of doing business with Zuckerberg's social media giant.

"We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus," Persson said on Twitter shortly after the news broke. "I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out."

Less than two years ago, the fledgling virtual reality company was soliciting $10 to $300 contributions on the crowdfunding site.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2014 12:13PM

Peter Mason tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco, March 19, 2014. © AP Photo/Jeff ChiuThe Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBy Tom Gara and Lora Kolodny, The Wall Street Journal

On Aug. 1, 2012, a fledgling company called Oculus took to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise money to get its virtual reality headset off the ground.

What did you get in return for an investment? Everybody who funded the company with $10 was promised "a sincere thank you from the Oculus team" and regular updates on the project.

When the funding period closed at the beginning of September, 1,009 people had kicked in ten bucks each. A $25 investment got you a t-shirt as well as a thank you.

The real action was the $300 investment: For that, you we promised an early "developer kit" including a prototype headset and access to the software development tools needed to build games for the headset. 5,642 people signed up for that. In total, the campaign raised $2.4 million from 9,500 contributors.

About 18 months after accepting $10 investments repaid with thanks (and with some venture capital investments along the way) the company Tuesday sold itself for $2 billion to Facebook (FB).


Signing up new members is the easy part -- getting them to stay active proves more difficult, according to a new report.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 24, 2014 11:30AM

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyThe Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device © Bethany Clarke/Getty ImagesBy Yoree Koh, The Wall Street Journal

To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter (TWTR) released a nifty tool that allows users to travel back in their timelines to find the first tweet they ever sent.

But here's the thing: The first tweet is the easiest. Getting users to send follow up tweets is the hard part.

According to a forthcoming report from Twopcharts, a website that monitors Twitter account activity, about 40 percent of the 20 million accounts that are registered on Twitter each month send at least one tweet the month they sign up. This excludes accounts that were suspended or deleted.

By the time Twitter celebrates its ninth birthday next year, Twopcharts estimates only a quarter of those accounts will still be tweeting.



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