Street Fight Spotlight

Mobile Is Always Local: Thoughts on the Future of Online-to-Offline Commerce

The other day, Uber Eats announced a new service that struck me at first as a little surprising but, once I absorbed the idea, seemed strangely inevitable. In select cities like Austin and San Diego, you can now order food ahead of time, monitor your order status, and arrive at the restaurant just in time to begin dining, your table ready and waiting for you. This on-demand dine-in service is meant to remove time and effort from the experience of eating out, and it may also help restaurants fill empty tables during off-peak times by enabling special time-based incentives. 

When I say it seems inevitable that an app would eventually “solve” waiting for your food at restaurants, I have two things in mind. The first is a quote from Twitter co-founder Ev Williams that, to me, strikes at the root of contemporary trends in innovation. The second point I want to observe here is that the highly representative user experience created by Uber Eats is taking place on a mobile phone.

How Long Will Google’s “Calculative PR” Playbook Work in Local Search?

Mihm: The engineering mindset that millions of spammy listings in a corpus of hundreds of millions of legitimate listings worldwide, or a (hundred million?) spam reviews in a corpus of billions of legitimate reviews worldwide, are simply “edge cases” that are beneath Google to prioritize reflects a profound lack of empathy for how their technology impacts fellow human beings — both consumers and especially small business owners and their employees.

Blumenthal: Absolutely agree. And a related problem is that they see customer service in the same context: as an engineering/cost-benefit problem to solve, not as a way to improve their product. As such they see the last 5, 10 or 15% errors in their big data solutions as just a cost of doing business that they have no responsibility to solve. 

July Focus: Retail Transformation in the Amazon Age

Street Fight is rolling into July with the monthly theme Disrupting Retail: a look at how retail continues to transform, driven by competition from Amazon and key trends like “retail-as-a-service.”

But why is this important to Street Fight (and to you)? As we continue to evolve the definition of “local,” one key component of its market opportunity is offline brick-and-mortar shopping. After all, about 90% of all U.S. retail spending, to the tune of about $3.7 trillion, is completed offline in physical stores. And that’s usually in proximity to one’s home (thus, local).

Startups Adapt to Shifting Privacy Standards

Two steps forward, one step back. That’s what it can feel like to be a technology provider in the location marketing space right now, struggling to strike a balance between the demands of brand marketers and growing concerns over consumer privacy and data regulation.

That push and pull is challenging vendors in the location marketing space. At the same time their firms should be seeing exponential growth, data regulations—including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s forthcoming Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—are establishing new rules for innovation.

But some companies are embracing the regulation as a challenge to innovate in its own right.

Latest Posts

Data Trends with the Highest Impact In 2019

At the beginning of the year, we like to take time and speculate on which data science trends will make the biggest splash in the year. Now that we’re entering the second half of 2019, it is a good time to take a look at our initial assumptions regarding these trends and re-evaluate each one’s impact on the industry.

LBMA Vidcast: Zeta Global and PlaceIQ, Amazon’s Delivery Innovation

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: U.S. Army #InOurBoots VR recruiting, Transport for London using WiFi tracking, Havaianas shoppable boardwalk, McDonald’s Sweden’s QR picnic blanket, Zeta Global takes over PlaceIQ’s ad business, Amazon’s employee incentive for creating delivery start-ups.

The Deceptive Arguments Amazon Uses to Shirk Responsibility for AI

In a recent column, Recode founder and New York Times columnist Kara Swisher cut to the core of what would seem to be concessionary calls for regulation from Big Tech firms, summarizing their attitude like this: “We make, we break, you fix.” She’s right, and with Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook doubling their combined lobbying spending from 2016 to $55 million in 2018, it is worth taking a closer look at the kinds of arguments the companies are trotting out to avoid responsibility for the outcomes of the technology they produce and sell. We should be particularly concerned about the arguments tech firms are making about AI, which is already remaking our society, replacing steps in crucial human decision-making processes with machine-generated solutions.

For an example of how tech firms are attempting to get away with peddling potentially dangerous AI-based tech to powerful entities like law enforcement agencies while accepting minimal accountability, consider Amazon’s Rekognition.

Connecting the Customer Journey from Online to Offline

The blurring lines among search, social, and e-commerce only muddy the water when it comes to determining the customer’s journey to conversion. So, how can advertisers accurately attribute their marketing dollars to customer wins? Increasingly, marketers are turning to a multi-touch attribution strategy that includes both online and offline conversions, thereby moving away from simplistic last-touch attribution models.

Mobile Is Always Local: Thoughts on the Future of Online-to-Offline Commerce

The other day, Uber Eats announced a new service that struck me at first as a little surprising but, once I absorbed the idea, seemed strangely inevitable. In select cities like Austin and San Diego, you can now order food ahead of time, monitor your order status, and arrive at the restaurant just in time to begin dining, your table ready and waiting for you. This on-demand dine-in service is meant to remove time and effort from the experience of eating out, and it may also help restaurants fill empty tables during off-peak times by enabling special time-based incentives. 

When I say it seems inevitable that an app would eventually “solve” waiting for your food at restaurants, I have two things in mind. The first is a quote from Twitter co-founder Ev Williams that, to me, strikes at the root of contemporary trends in innovation. The second point I want to observe here is that the highly representative user experience created by Uber Eats is taking place on a mobile phone.

Heard on the Street, Episode 30: The Art of Digital Persuasion, with Jeff Hasen, Part II

Amid accelerated disruption in digital media, consumer touch points continue to fragment. That includes a growing list of interfaces and delivery channels for content—everything from smartphones to watches to headphones and speakers. So what’s a marketer to do?

This is the topic of Jeff Hasen’s third and most recent book, The Art of Digital Persuasion, which we discuss with the author on the latest episode of the Heard on the Street Podcast. In addition to marketing tactics, Hasen brings other sorts of savoir-faire to the table as a journalist and ad agency exec.

With Shoelace, Its Latest Foray into (Local) Social, Google Aims to Do for Friends What Tinder Did for Dating

Perhaps Shoelace is less ambitious than Google+. But is finding friends, or others with whom to socialize, not the most central and yet unachieved aim of social networking? One that hinges on location and would be a gold mine for advertising, as it captures users far down the sales funnel, all the way at the point where they are ready to get together to spend some time at a local business? What if, in the same way online dating has gone from disreputable to de rigueur over the course of 10 years, finding friends online is something young people all do in 10 years, an engineering problem that Tinder rival Bumble is already trying to crack?

That would be a pretty big social network. The ambitions may not be so modest.

Retailers Are Using AI for Onboarding, Associate Retention

The retail landscape is going through an evolution, with mom-and-pop stores on Main Street being replaced by e-commerce outlets that rely on sophisticated algorithms to manage virtually every aspect of business operations.

While most headlines about the transformation of retail focus on the consumer-side of the equation, there’s even more change going on behind the scenes. Competition between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar is forcing innovation in the way retailers approach the challenges that come with onboarding and retaining in-store associates.

Publishers (And Everyone Else), Beware Amazon

Amazon’s success comes at a cost for publishers. Its growth means that retail and CPG brands are shifting digital spend away from publishers, siphoning off a key source of revenue. How can publishers compete? Their survival may come down to better ways of monetizing existing channels like email, as well as more effective use of their greatest asset: first-party data.

The hope for publishers lies in email and the power of the email address. With email, publishers have a logged-in channel that’s virtually fraud-free. Email represents a direct relationship with the consumer and one that is detached from platform intermediaries that have unfairly claimed revenue and attribution from the rightful influencer: the publisher. And contrary to popular belief, email is still a channel where people spend over five hours a day. What’s more, email is impervious to subtle shifts of an algorithm that force a publisher to buy the right to reach people, as opposed to owning the relationship with those who have requested a publisher’s content in the first place. 

Teaching An Old Brand New Tricks

An agile brand strategy allows organizations to update traditional brand messages in the moment as events happen, while still remaining true to their core values and identity. Agile branding is not about changing things all the time; it’s about responding and iterating in order to stay relevant.

Technology is the driving force behind agile branding. Modern consumers expect more from their favorite brands, and through a variety of tech platforms, they interact with them on a daily basis. Connecting to consumers through digital and largely interactive channels (like social media) gives brands access to a valuable supply of consumer data. In this “always-on” culture, knowing what consumer audiences are saying, thinking, and feeling about your brand in real time is at the core of an agile brand.