Amazon Plans to Set New Standard for On-Demand by Expanding 2-Hour Delivery

Amazon is planning a substantial expansion of its Whole Foods grocery stores, a move that will aim to put much of the nation’s deep-pocketed customers in range of its two-hour delivery service, Prime Now. Under the proposed changes, reported in the Wall Street Journal, Prime Now would become available from all Whole Foods stores.

What’s Visual Search, and How Will It Play Out in 2019?

While visual search isn’t exactly catching on like fire yet, its evolution is buttressed by powerful developments of late in the tech industry. Among these: smartphones are increasingly ubiquitous, more efficient, and we’re all more accustomed to using them; investment in AI from both big companies and startups is widespread, making machine vision more effective; and augmented reality (AR), a similar modality in which tech overlays graphics onto images captured via camera lens, is taking off. Below are a few ways visual search will play out in local and retail in 2019.

The Transparency Trap: On Low Standards for ‘Transparency’ in the Data Market

Jake Moskowitz: In media, transparency demands accountability. In other words, it means asking media suppliers to “prove it.” It means expecting suppliers to “show me the viewability and fraud percentages, and allow me to suppress ads from running next to unsafe content.” Today, when it pertains to data, transparency just means “tell me where the data came from”—that’s it. That is not enough.

Voice’s Local Impact in 2018 and 2019

Street Fight’s Mike Boland explained in a white paper on voice this year that there’s a number of misconceptions regarding how the medium will play out in local search and commerce, and there’s plenty of research out there to illuminate where voice is really headed. I outline some key insights about voice as brands and SMBs alike make plans to tackle it in the months to come.

Heard on the Street, Episode 18: Local Marketing is All About Content, with Andrew Beckman

What are the latest developments in location-based advertising and marketing for large national brands? This question anchored the many topics we batted around with Location3 chairman Andrew Beckman on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast.

Improving the Local SEO Toolkit: A 2018 Holiday Wish List

“Local is a complicated world that is not currently served well by the tools of the organic world. The end of the year and the start of a new one is a great time to get folks thinking about how they might address this hole in our tool sets,” says Mike Blumenthal. He and David Mihm explore the weaknesses and possibilities among local search tools in their last column of 2018.

mobile data

How Predictive Analytics Reshaped Decision-Making in 2018 and Will Evolve in 2019

In this Q&A, we dig into what Sriram Parthasarathy, senior director of product architecture and predictive analytics at Logi Analytics, envisions as the future of predictive analytics and what he believes still needs to happen before AI-enabled applications move into the mainstream.

Cutting Through the Analytical Clutter: 4 Major Trends this Holiday Season

As just about the final week of 2018 gets underway, it’s worth taking a look at what we now definitively know about this holiday season. Here are the facts about the role of technology in retail during 2018’s holidays.

6 Cannabis Point-of-Sale Systems Blazing Trails for Nascent Retail Sector

Unlike traditional POS solutions, or even mobile systems like Square, cannabis point-of-sale systems are designed in a way that helps dispensaries operate under the appropriate guidelines, particularly when it comes to processing cash and managing inventory. Here are six cannabis point-of-sale systems that dispensaries are using right now.

2019 Location Data Predictions: Mobile, Privacy, and Explosive Growth

Greg Isbister: The next year will see a marked shift for location data. As consumers and businesses alike see more value and additional uses for this data, industry growth will continue to increase exponentially. Until regulations are put in place to increase security and transparency, it will be up to businesses to institute their own best practices, getting ahead of legislation to come.

New Hires at Womply and Urban Airship

Every two weeks, our jobs columnist Geoff Michener provides a roundup of the latest hires in the digital marketing and media ecosystems. This week’s edition also includes new hires at Acceleration Partners and Outbrain.

LBMA Podcast: Facebook Files New Patents, Google Maps ‘For You’

On this week’s LBMA podcast: Facebook files new patents, JoAnn taps Teemo, Favendo at Frankfurt airport, Google Map’s “For You,” Domino’s hotspots, Mariott + PepsiCo go virtual reality art. Special guest: Gabriel Bedoya – The Insights Company.

Civil’s Relaunch Will Include Can’t-Fail Second Token Sale in Early 2019

In this Q&A, Civil co-founder and CEO Matthew Iles, Vivian Schiller, CEO of the Civil Foundation, and Matt Coolidge, co-founder and head of marketing at Civil, detail how their decentralized and community-owned journalism network can be a realistic answer to the “duopoly” of the giant Google and Facebook search and social platforms.

The Location Angle on Another Bombshell Privacy Exposé from the New York Times

What exactly did Facebook do wrong, and what do its supposed wrongs portend for the future of data-driven, and especially location data-driven, marketing? Here are some major takeaways pertaining to future legislation, likely consumer reactions, and the distinction between data selling and sharing.

Google Testing Restaurant Booking, Foreshadowing Ever Tighter Grip on Local Commerce

The news is an important signal that local-commerce options like Reserve with Google will get sleeker and more dominant in the years to come. And it calls to mind a crucial local-search debate: Will Google SERPs and the many options for engagement with local brick-and-mortars on them effectively supplant the local business website as the crucial interface for interacting with customers?

Local Advertising’s Next Sleeping Giant: Uber

Mike Boland: Given the attribution possibilities, its scale, recent delivery partnership with Starbucks, and existing Uber Eats infrastructure, Uber’s move into advertising looks pretty inevitable. Of course, it would have to gain internal competency as an ad company, so look for acquisitions or talent hires (or both) in 2019. And look for more rhetoric about the latest company to challenge the duopoly, this time in a very local way. 

Cannabis Retailer Uses Tech to Boost Employee Morale

Old-school companies hosted picnics and holiday parties to keep their employees happy, but tech-focused startups in the cannabis industry are taking a decidedly more sophisticated approach.

home services

6 Lead-Generation Platforms for Local Businesses

More than a quarter of consumers say they use the internet to find local businesses every day, and yet a whopping 29% of small businesses still don’t have websites. Here are six examples of lead-generation platforms that small businesses are using right now.

GMB App Adds Support for Service-Area Businesses

As of late last week, Google is offering an update to the Google My Business app that adds support for service-area businesses. Earlier in November, a Local Search Forum blog post indicated that Google would be adding features to help such businesses with local customers.

Starbucks Partners with Uber to Launch On-Demand Delivery at 2,000 Locations

Starbucks announced on Friday that it’s partnering with Uber to launch on-demand delivery at 2,000 locations. The partnership is a sign of the “near me” local search era for retail, one in which proximity and convenience have become paramount, outweighing even loyalty.