Street Fight Daily: Amazon’s Drone Delivery, Online And Offline Retail Face Off

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.

2011_3_11_amazonAmazon’s Drones for Deliveries (Wall Street Journal) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the online retailer is developing pilotless flying vehicles he calls “octocopters” that can deliver packages within a half hour of a customer’s placing an order. Bezos showed Charlie Rose an early version of the drone in development on an episode of the CBS news program “60 Minutes” aired Sunday evening. He said it was possible Amazon could introduce the drones within four to five years, depending in part on Federal Aviation Administration approvals.

As Digital Ascends, Is Legacy Media Becoming a ‘Sinkhole’ for Marketers? (Street Fight)
Josh Fenton: One of the most insightful studies released this year by Boston Consulting Group found that the 23 million small businesses in the U.S. allocate only 3% of their advertising spend to digital. Larger companies spend more, but digital still comprises only 15% of their marketing budgets. Meanwhile, it’s clear that the effectiveness of digital media has surpassed that of legacy — and it’s no longer even close. So marketers are spending the vast majority of their budgets on media that consumers are no longer engaging with.

Online and Offline Stores Duke It Out This Week (New York Times)
Marshal Cohen, an analyst at the NPD Group, a market research company, said that the competition between online and offline shopping destinations was sharpening, turning into a sort of arms race. Physical retail stores have realized that a lot of people shop online on Thanksgiving, and so they are planning to remain open on the holiday, and many have started their holiday sales already.

10 Strategies for Choosing the Right Loyalty Incentives (Street Fight)
Although there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to structuring rewards in a loyalty program, there are some overarching guidelines that merchants should follow to ensure their programs remain profitable. Here are 10 tips from experts in the space on how merchants can ensure they aren’t giving away too much (or too little) in their loyalty programs.

Cyber Mundane: Why Online Shopping Is Overhyped, And What Brands Should Focus On Instead (TheNextWeb)
While e-commerce has improved dramatically over the last 19 years since Amazon was founded, the fact remains that over 90 percent of all commerce is still being done in the brick-and-mortar world according to Forrester Research. There are some areas of retail that will simply never move online, such as clothing, shoes, restaurants, venue entertainment, beauty and fitness, and groceries.

Sensing The Future Of Retail (GigaOm)
One industry that is starting to awaken to the potential of the internet of things, and specifically sensors, is retail. With over 90 percent of retail sales still taking place in physical stores, retailers have a huge opportunity to create “smarter” stores and shopping experiences for consumers.

Secret Weapon in Mall Battle: Parking Apps (New York Times)
The fight for a mall parking spot, long a necessary evil of Black Friday, is growing easier thanks to the proliferation of new technologies, from apps and sensors to color-coded lights and electronic boards. It’s one way that malls and shopping districts are trying to lure customers away from their computers, into the realm of their brick-and-mortar stores.

Software Eats Dinner: Why VCs Are Pouring Cash Into Food Startups (PandoDaily)
Startups are seeking to change the way we buy groceries, eat out, host dinner parties, pay for drinks, and cook our meals. OpenTable proved there’s a lucrative business in reservations, earning its investors a solid return. Now, with the Web 1.0 flameout Webvan a distant memory, a new, massive wave of food startups are seeking to cash in on the way we eat. Investors are paying attention.

Embeds Return To New Google Maps, Will Soon Include Ads (TechCrunch)
Google has quietly brought back embeds to its new Google Maps interface today and announced that it plans to include ads in these embedded maps in the coming weeks. When Google launched the new version of its online mapping service, it introduced a new look, more personalized maps and a slew of other features, but it also left out things like easy access to Streetview and the ability to take a map and embed it elsewhere.

PayPal Launches A Mobile Check-In And Payments Service With Orderbird In Germany (TechCrunch)
PayPal has launched a service in Germany to extend that further into Europe. It is partnering with Orderbird, a Berlin startup that offers an iPad-based point of sale service to merchants, for a check-in service that will recognise users when they walk into participating businesses, and then, using those customer profiles, to let them pay for goods and services automatically from their PayPal accounts.

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