Street Fight Daily: Google Taps Local Inventory, Microsoft Tests Card-Linked Offers

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology

Google_Shopper_150x150Google Introduces Local (Inventory) Product Listing Ads (Search Engine Land)
Google is making public what several speakers at SMX East alluded to last week: local availability for Product Listing Ads. When users click on a Local PLA, they are taken to a local storefront — yet another new feature — which includes product detail and availability, related items available in that location, store hours and directions and other typical Google Places for business functionality.

How Brands Can Localize Social to Boost Relevance and Exposure (Street Fight)
Tara Thomas: By now, enterprise multi-location brands hopefully understand the importance of a local digital marketing strategy to ensure their many locations can easily be found online and help generate local leads. But following the lead of savvy marketers, it’s time they go further and create unique localized strategies specifically for social media. Here are a few of the most successful strategies.

Microsoft Forms Alliance With Facebook, LivingSocial And Others To Promote Card-Linked Offers, Starts Test In Seattle (TechCrunch)
Microsoft is launching a limited test of a new Bing Offers feature in the Seattle market that could give it an edge over some of its competitors. In this test market, Bing Offers users can now link their credit cards to their Microsoft accounts. Thanks to this, they can then just swipe their credit cards to redeem an offer instantly instead of having to print coupons or show QR codes on their phones.

6 Tools Merchants Can Use to Clean Up Location Data (Street Fight)
For 42% of adults, search engines have become the primary tool for finding local merchants and service providers. But what those consumers don’t always realize is that much of the information they’re finding can be incorrect or out of date. Here are six platforms helping merchants fight back by cleaning up their location data.

Square Doubles In Size In A Year; Now Boasts 600 Employees (GigaOm)
New products like Stand and Market are not only broadening Square’s scope, but they’re necessitating a lot of new hires. In 2012 Square had 300 employees, but as of today that number has blossomed into 600. That forced the mobile payments startup to move out of its cramped offices in the San Francisco Chronicle building and into new 150,000-square-foot digs in SF’s Central Market district.

Humans 1, Robots 0: Cashiers Trump Self-Checkout Machines at the Grocery Store (Wall Street Journal)
Farhad Manjoo: If you want some reason for optimism about humans, visit your local supermarket. See that self-checkout machine? It doesn’t hold a candle to the humans—and its deficiencies neatly illustrate the limits of computers’ abilities to mimic human skills. Self-checkout machines’ shortcomings are their best feature: because they’re useless for most orders, their lines are shorter, making the machines seem faster than humans.

Mobile And The Rise Of “Real World Analytics” (MarketingLand)
Greg Sterling: Digital marketers have mostly avoided trying to account for offline conversions in the past because they’ve been so hard to track on a per-campaign basis. Now, the awareness of much more complex multi-channel consumer behavior and the lack of cookies in mobile have prompted a number of innovations in tracking, as well as what might be called the rise of “real world analytics.”

Consumer Brand Loyalty Investments Rising (MediaPost)
More than 50% of marketers that took place in a Forrester Research study saw their loyalty budgets rise during the past two years, and only 10% saw a reduction in budget. This reflects the increase of loyalty programs attracting frequent buyers for everything from food to clothing to entertainment.

Google Glass Adds Public Transit Directions  (TheNextWeb)
Google today announced the latest monthly update to its Glass project, adding new features currently only available to a lucky few gadget owners. When you ask to get directions and select Transit (just like you can on Google Maps), you’ll get access to a bunch of helpful information, including where to change trains, how far you have to walk to the bus stop, and how long it should take to reach your final destination.

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