A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.
GrubHub Seamless Joins the Tech IPO Crush (Wall Street Journal)
GrubHub Seamless, the online restaurant-menu and takeout-ordering service, has made a confidential filing for an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. Company officials have met with investment banks and could launch the IPO as soon as the first half of the year, one of the people said. It is unclear how much the sale would raise or value the company.
Groupon Revenues Up, But Even Growth Disappoints the Market (Street Fight)
Groupon reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the holiday quarter, but shares of the daily deal giant tanked in after hours trading due in part to poor first quarter guidance and concerns over declining margins. The company grew revenue by 18% from a year earlier, but it also saw double digit declines in margins decreased by as its less profitable ecommerce business continued to account for a larger portion of the wider revenue mix.
Sales at Nordstrom’s Department Stores Continue to Shrink (Wall Street Journal)
Nordstrom’s full-line stores finished the year with their third straight quarter of shrinking sales, highlighting the deep change in shopper habits that may have even luxury retailers at a tipping point. Meanwhile, the company’s online sales jumped 30%. The results follow a string of weak reports by U.S. retailers over a holiday season that has some analysts wondering if traffic has fallen off permanently amid a broad shift to online shopping.
Mobile App GoSpotCheck Helps Brands Track Effectiveness of In-Store Marketing (Street Fight)
In-store marketing is a big business for retailers, but traditionally brands have had no way of knowing the effectiveness of the strategy until the display is packed away, and the campaign is finished. Enter GoSpotCheck, a Denver-based startup that has developed a mobile app that helps retail companies collect and share inventory and sales information in real time, and check with the promotion they paid for is up and running.
Are Companies Tracking Us, or Merely “Observing” Us? (Pando)
At a Federal Trade Commission panel Wednesday morning to discuss issues around mobile device tracking, Vice President of the National Retail Federation Mallory Duncan said something both totally dismissive of privacy concerns and potentially incendiary to privacy hawks, while cutting to the heart of mounting concerns on both sides. “You can easily replace the word ‘tracking’ with the word ‘observing,’” he said.
Patch Hiring Editorial Staff In Wake Of Mass Layoffs (MediaPost)
Patch is growing again. A top editorial executive with the New York company says the firm is hiring four or five editors to join the company over the next 10 days. Some will be rehires, he says, and some will be new to Patch. Currently, the company has about 125 employees, he says, and most of them work on the news side of the business.
Invasion of the Taxi Snatchers: Uber Leads an Industry’s Disruption (Businessweek)
Brad Stone: There’s a battle for the future of transportation being waged outside our offices and homes. Uber and a growing collection of well-funded startups, such as the ride-sharing service Lyft, are trying to make getting a taxi as easy as booking a reservation on OpenTable or checking a price on Amazon.com—just another thing you do with your smartphone.
Mexico Delivers for Wal-Mart (Wall Street Journal)
Wal-Mart Stores says it has cracked the code for speedy, same-day grocery delivery—in Mexico. As retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon.com rush to expand home delivery in the U.S. to groceries, the Bentonville, Ark., giant is looking across the border for help: Its high-end Mexican grocery chain, Superama, already delivers groceries in as little as three hours.
Google Announces Project Tango, a Smartphone that Can Map the World Around it (Verge)
Google has built a prototype Android smartphone that can learn and map the world around it. Google says that the phone will learn the dimension of rooms and spaces just by being moved around inside of them — walking around your bedroom, for example, would help the phone learn the shape of your home.
LBMA Podcast: Mobile Mixed Founder Talks SMS Marketing (Street Fight)
Welcome to This Week in Location Based Marketing, a weekly video podcast from the Location Based Marketing Association. Top stories of the week include Sears offering curbside pickup; Virgin America’s new in-air social network; augmented reality on the bus; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago’s interactive billboard; Localytics brings in $17M in funding; and Yahoo! partners with Yelp.