Mike Boland: Any entity competing for local commerce—publishers, brands, ad-tech players—has a looming platform choice for voice. Like the platform wars between iOS and Android, it’s a matter of deciding where to apply finite resources and development muscle. Maybe the answer is “both” Google and Amazon. But for now, Google appears to have the lead.
Mike Boland: AR may not play out in the way you think, at least in the near term. Though it’s generally thought of as graphical overlays on your field of view, another “overlay” could be more viable in the near term: sound. This “audio AR” modality could come sooner than—and eventually coexist with—its graphical cousin.
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.
Mike Boland: The innovation including and surrounding cashierless checkout goes beyond payments to affect a broader set of functions like supply chain, inventory management, and store layouts. It’s like a retail toolkit in a box, with cash-flow friendly pricing, à la SaaS. You may have heard of it: It’s called retail as a service (RaaS), and it could transform the next decade of retail. Amazon will lead the way.
Mike Boland: We know about the advantages of e-commerce. There’s more supply, transparency, cost efficiency, inventory (a.k.a “endless aisle”), and the ability to dynamically search and filter product attributes. AR can engender a sort of hybrid UX that brings these features to store aisles. The losers in the next era of retail will be those who try to fight this experiential innovation.
As the media world continues to expand and fragment, services targeted at local businesses are likewise evolving into a more holistic set of marketing channels. A good example of that evolution can be seen at ThriveHive, as we discussed with the company’s newest member and longtime Street Fight contributor, David Mihm, on the latest episode of Heard on the Street.
Harry Dewhirst may be the real-life version of Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man In the World.” President of location intelligence company Blis, he holds no permanent residence, dynamically bouncing among Airbnbs and hotels, including the undisclosed location in Singapore where we reached him for the latest episode of Heard on the Street.
“As an entrepreneur, they always say you have to be gritty and tough, and the world’s going to kick you in the teeth, and you have to keep going and persevere,” said Gravy Analytics founder and CEO Jeff White, our latest guest on Heard on the Street. “But sometimes that comes at the expense of having a vision that’s blinding. So you can’t not take your head up and realize, we may be off course.”
Questions about AR ownership will be particularly contentious wherever money is changing hands, such as in AR advertising. Courts will face questions such as ownership of digital ad inventory when there are AR overlays on private property (or on other ads). There could be similar gray area in retail & commerce.
How are multi-location businesses shifting their local ad spend? What do Apple’s latest mapping moves mean for local search? And what’s Amazon’s master plan for advertising and commerce? These are a few of the topics we bat around in an analyst roundtable for the latest episode of the Heard on the Street podcast.
Word of mouth has been a leading form of local marketing for more than a century. But in a digital age, the name of the game is harnessing it by combining “IRL” chatter with the power of software and network effect. This is the bread and butter of Broadly, whose CEO and founder Josh Melick is our latest guest on our podcast Heard on the Street.