Street Fight Happenings

Meet the SF Awards Judges: True Value, Vitamin Shoppe, Denny’s, Chamberlain Group & WPP | The Store

The circle is complete. We’ve rounded out the full panel of judges for Street Fight’s Innovator awards (Pro tip: today is the last day to apply).

Collectively, they represent:

15,350 business locations
150,986 employees
$25+ billion in annual revenues

But who are they? Here’s the rundown.

Letter From the Editor: Local is Everything

Last month, for example, we zeroed in on the theme of retail transformation.

This month, we extend that discussion with a focus on the connected car. As companies like Tesla continue to innovate the digital experiences in our cars, they’re becoming the ultimate “mobile device.” This will have implications for local media companies and brands that have a local presence.

Meanwhile, last week we closed the application period for the Innovator Awards. The next step is to work with our panel of judges to choose the winners. The awards will be a central part of Street Fight’s plan to continue being an authority on innovation and transformation in the location-based media and advertising worlds.

Listen to Podcast: Heard on the Street

Theme of the Month: The Connected Car

How FlashParking Is Turning Isolated Lots Into Connected Hubs

The parking technology company FlashParking wants to reimagine the way parking lots are managed. But rather than pushing “smart” technology on individual operators, the company is taking a decidedly different approach to decreasing traffic congestion in cities.

Operating under the belief that most technology solutions to urban challenges are unnecessarily complicated, the team at FlashParking is working toward solutions that redirect energy away from smart-city technology. Instead, FlashParking is pushing a system that embraces so-called “dumb cities” — cities planned and built with durable approaches to infrastructure.

German Tech Provider Bosch Developing 3D Displays for Cars

In the long run, this technology could pave the way toward an even more connected car. That means local advertising that could collect more data on user habits and lead drivers toward local businesses when they are on the go. As autonomous vehicles grow more common and sophisticated, the 3D displays could also be used for entertainment or other yet unseen purposes to enhance the auto experience of the future.

August Focus: Local’s Next Battleground is Your Car

Why are connected cars 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. That is usually in proximity to one’s home (thus, local).

Could an increasingly digital and connected car influence those purchases when consumers are out and about? This is one extension of the local search that consumers used to do at home but now do on their mobile devices while on the move. The car could become a third point of connection and influence.

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How Retailers Are Reaching Back-to-School Shoppers

It’s that time of the year. As summertime comes to an end, parents around the country have started filling up shopping carts with pencils, notebooks, and binders. Families in the U.S. are expected to spend an average of $696 on back-to-school supplies this year, the highest amount ever recorded by the National Retail Federation.

Back-to-school shopping has become an important event for retailers like Target, Walmart, and Office Depot. While ecommerce is king at other times of the year, parents shopping for their kids’ back-to-school supplies are just as likely to shop in-store as they are online.

LBMA Vidcast: Google Launches Location Groups, Bumble Explores Physical Space

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: PatientPoint’s proximity in healthcare, Boen Wines using NFC with Guala Closures, Bumble gets into physical space, Puma geotargets on Firefly’s DOOH, Google launches “seasonality” and “location groups”, Groupon acquires Presence AI for voice & text.

How FlashParking Is Turning Isolated Lots Into Connected Hubs

The parking technology company FlashParking wants to reimagine the way parking lots are managed. But rather than pushing “smart” technology on individual operators, the company is taking a decidedly different approach to decreasing traffic congestion in cities.

Operating under the belief that most technology solutions to urban challenges are unnecessarily complicated, the team at FlashParking is working toward solutions that redirect energy away from smart-city technology. Instead, FlashParking is pushing a system that embraces so-called “dumb cities” — cities planned and built with durable approaches to infrastructure.

Fake Reviews Are Silicon Valley’s Next Fake News Problem

Local businesses are struggling to adapt to a world where online reputation drives offline sales, and fake reviews are making the transition harder. What’s more, the fake review problem is getting worse. A Harvard study found that fake reviews on Yelp grew from 5% to 20% over several years.

There are lots of reasons for this trend, but this is an area where big data can be used to the benefit of consumers and businesses to increase trust. This means it’s on the tech community—not small businesses—to fix fake reviews. Just as media platforms have a moral obligation to avoid the spread of fake news, review sites have a responsibility to their users and businesses to ensure their content is as accurate as possible.

What Retail Has Learned About AR Since Pokémon Go

Retailers are only beginning to realize the potential of AR. As a new generation of shoppers steeped in AR grows up, their expectations will exceed the novelty acts the industry has put out to date. AR features won’t just be a one-off promo or tied to a game release; they will become the basis of the in-store customer experience, one that looks nothing like the retail of today. 

Heard on the Street, Episode 32: Is Messaging the Next Brand Channel?

Conversational commerce, brands’ ability to interact with customers through messaging, continues to evolve. According to Quiq CEO Mike Myer, our latest guest on Heard on the Street, this is a function of the technology but also cultural factors that deter consumers from traditional channels like email and phone.

“Waiting for email to come back is like watching paint dry,” he told us. “So, if you’re in the purchase process, you’re going to go somewhere else to buy if you’re on a brand’s website and you have to interact with them on email. And making a phone call: There’s a whole generation of people who aren’t very fond of phone calls.”

German Tech Provider Bosch Developing 3D Displays for Cars

In the long run, this technology could pave the way toward an even more connected car. That means local advertising that could collect more data on user habits and lead drivers toward local businesses when they are on the go. As autonomous vehicles grow more common and sophisticated, the 3D displays could also be used for entertainment or other yet unseen purposes to enhance the auto experience of the future.

Brick-And-Mortars Are Taking A Data-Driven Approach To The E-Commerce Challenge

Brick-and-mortar stores have contended with competition from the likes of Amazon and the steady growth of e-commerce, where testing is easily done. Yet brick-and-mortars can also take a data-driven approach to the e-commerce challenge. In-store experimentation based on advanced data science allows them to test everything from the store CX to its operations with relative ease and in a scalable way. 

Real-world, science-based testing isn’t limited to product merchandising. It can be applied across a wide range of brick-and-mortar challenges, new product launches, store remodels, loyalty programs and more. A test-and-learn culture like the one described here can take a company’s research capability to the next level, helping to avoid failed ideas, fuel faster new product rollouts, maximize marketing ROI, and ultimately driving better business results.

GrubHub or GrabHub? Thoughts on the Latest Predatory Industry to Target SMBs

“Growth hacking” along these lines is enough to gag a maggot, but there is the more “benign” approach of Google that says, “Let’s add an order button to every restaurant for the ‘benefit of the customer’” that is equally reprehensible. The business is effectively paying a searcher “head tax” to the food delivery companies on brand searches where the consumer just wanted to get the restaurant phone number, and the searcher was offered a big order button that is so much more convenient to click. 

In Google’s case, it would be a simple matter to provide the local restaurant the option to turn off the Order CTA in the dashboard. Instead, if a business complains to Google, they foist them on the delivery service for resolution. (Or not.) 

Alexa, Draw a Line Between Convenience and Control

It’s that factor, consumer data and Amazon’s vast store of it, that stands out most in Jason Del Rey’s reporting on Recode’s new podcast series, Land of the Giants. Specifically striking is the episode on Alexa, in which Amazon employees openly speculate about a future in which smart microwaves will hook up with Amazon’s growing healthcare ambitions to tell you when it’s time to stop making popcorn and smart countertops will join the intelligent kitchen conversation. As Del Rey notes, Amazon execs talk about this future openly, dropping tidbits about customer obsession along the way and appearing truly unperturbed by the thought that such interventions into our domestic lives may go too far or generate unintended consequences. Optimism for the quality of Amazon products and a fervent belief in the company’s benefit to consumers—without due consideration for products’ risk and would-be limits—seem to pervade the corporate culture.