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Best of the Blogs, Consumer: Square Hits the Mainstream, Joins Starbucks


Plus, Best Buy founder Richard Schulze wants his company back.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on the consumer sector from around the Web.

Link: Starbucks Signs Up With Square to Process Credit, Debit Payments
Mobile payments startup Square is taking a giant leap into the mainstream as the new processor of credit- and debit-card payments for Starbucks.

"The Seattle coffee giant says it's also investing $25 million in the San Francisco company launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz will join Square's board."

The Consumerist
Link: Can Best Buy Be Saved?
"Best Buy (BBY) founder Richard Schulze shook things up the other day when he mentioned that he'd very much like to have his company back and out of the hands of shareholders. Since then, a few details of how Schulze plans to keep the ship afloat have surfaced, but will it be enough to remain competitive or is he just making matters worse for the company?"

The New York Times: Bits
Link: Craigslist's Challenger Could Be an App, or Several
"A few days ago an incoming alert caught my eye. Someone had posted a public message through Highlight, an iPhone (AAPL) app that shows people who else is nearby whom they might want to meet.

"The note simply read: 'Selling 2 face value wilco tix for tonight – share pls. Thanks!'

"It was enough to raise my eyebrows. Highlight is a type of application that tries to extend the social graph from the people you know to the people you might know. I've seen it used for networking and dating, and as a travel guide in new cities - but never as a targeted, location-based classified ad service."

Link: Endorse Aims to Take the Pain Out of Couponing by Offering Discounts Through Mobile Apps
"The couponing industry is 125 years old, and in that time it hasn't changed that much. Users are forced to go through a laborious process to save just a bit of money on groceries and other products. Well, Endorse is coming to consumers with a simpler way to get discounts on everyday products, with a set of mobile apps that will allow them to get money back on everyday items like soft drinks, snacks, and toilet paper."

Link: Amazon's Lockers Move Front Line of Retail War to Back of 7-Eleven
"In the 21st century, having to waste half your day waiting at home for the cable guy or UPS because they can't tell you exactly when they're coming seems absurd. Where's the app for that? It's also a major deterrent from ordering anything of value online. I don't want to worry about a box left out on the sidewalk, and I don't want to have to drive all the way to the airport to pick up my invariably missed delivery.

"Now Amazon (AMZN) has taken a small step toward eliminating the UPS wait with a service inspired less by the internet and more by the Port Authority. Amazon Locker allows you to have your packages sent to the equivalent of single-use PO boxes housed in 24-hour convenience stores, grocery stores and drug stores. Amazon sends you an email with a pickup code, which you enter on a touchscreen to open the door of the locker containing your package. You have three days from the delivery date to pick it up."
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