Teikametrics is one of those behind-the-scenes players that may have been involved in some of your online gift-buying this month. The Boston-based startup offers analytic services to companies that sell goods on Amazon.com — including local firms like Newbury Comics and Aubuchon Hardware. Among the questions Teikametrics can answer: How much inventory should a seller stock at various Amazon fulfillment centers to ensure quick delivery, anywhere in the world.
Read MoreEverything's coming up rosésDrync wine app partners with retailers to offer pickup as option
As the hordes head to the Internet to purchase gifts for the holiday season, there are two things that Google has discovered about them by looking at recent search trends. First, they are shopping much more actively on mobile than ever before (shopping and buying, not just searching for goods). Second, there are more people shopping for holiday gifts online right now than the entire holiday period last year.
Read MoreJust for you99Degrees collects $400,000 in funding to deliver custom clothing faster
Brenna Schneider sees customization as the future: when you order a hoodie or a pair of kicks, you should be able to make the design your own. But one of the big limitations, Schneider says, is the long wait. Since most of the products are made overseas, it can take several weeks to get what you ordered. "And of course, the e-commerce world has no tolerance for weeks," she says. "There's pressure for quicker turnaround on custom orders."
I'm not a big buyer of dangly earrings or silver-and-turquoise cuffs, but I have to admit: the new video "house party" software from Kitsy Lane, a Boston-based e-commerce startup, is a lot of fun. Instead of lining up a babysitter and visiting a friend's house to nibble cheese and crackers and try on costume jewelry, you sign on for a group videochat. The new vParty software is part of a recently-launched site from Kitsy Lane called Chelsea Row that focuses on selling jewelry and accessories online, through in-person "trunk shows" and the new live video events.
Read MoreLatest BlockbusterJessica Alba is General Catalyst's newest billion-dollar entrepreneur
The startup factory Blade is unveiling its first project today: an iPhone app called Classy that wants to supplant Craigslist and Facebook as the dominant way of buying and selling things on college campuses.
Just in time for the mass migration back to Boston this month...
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