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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.