Retail as a Service: Amazon Tips its Hand

Amazon has a knack for moving into new vertical segments and then applying its logistical mastery and economies of scale to carve out margins and undercut incumbents. Then, it doubles down by scaling things up to its signature high-volume/low-margin approach. As Jeff Bezos ruthlessly admits, “Your margin is my opportunity.”

The latest place for this to unfold is retail. No, we’re not talking about Whole Foods, though that’s part it (more on that in a bit). We’re talking about Amazon’s transformation of the in-store experience — upending and streamlining logistics just like it’s done in shipping and cloud computing.

Here are some predictions for how Amazon’s disruption of retail via licensing of its Go technology will upend the industry.

Heard on the Street, Episode 36: Fighting Location Fraud, With Location Sciences

Along with GDPR, CCPA, and a period of generally heightened concern about privacy and data collection, this iOS update could challenge the ability for marketers to get precise location data. But on the bright side, these macro factors compel better practices, shifting strategies and measurement tools. The time is right, Jason Smith says, for Location Sciences and lots of other companies in the location intelligence sector looking to point the way toward digital marketing’s future best practices.

October Focus: Is Local Commerce Vertically Challenged?

We often refer to the many facets of local advertising, media, and commerce as simply ‘local.’ But it’s a bit of a misnomer because the local commerce universe is really made up of several galaxies.

That includes various products that help local businesses, both SMBs and multi-location brands, acquire and keep customers. It’s everything from SEO to listings management to point-of-sale systems. Beyond product function, there’s also vertical segmentation, which encompasses diverse industries from pizza shops to plumbers.

This will be Street Fight’s editorial focus for the month of October. You may have realized we’ve been assigning themes to each month — September being about mapping, August about the connected car, and so on. These are all tentpole issues in local media, advertising, and commerce.

Heard on the Street, Episode 35: The Disruption Mindset, With Charlene Li

Disruption is one of the only constants in the tech and media worlds. So, the question becomes how to successfully disrupt (or survive others’ disruption). These are topics that author, analyst, and thought leader Charlene Li has synthesized in her latest book The Disruption Mindset.

To commemorate the book release this week, we recently had Li join us as a special guest on Street Fight’s podcast Heard on the Street. As we discussed on the show, a common success factor for companies causing or facing disruption is to devise a strategic path that leads them to their future customer.

Heard on the Street, Episode 34: ‘Drive-to-Store’ Marketing, with Teemo

Location intelligence has become an important but crowded sub-sector of local media and commerce. When it comes to value for retail brands, marketing tactics are all about driving (and measuring) foot traffic. This is where Paris-based location marketing and analytics company Teemo continues to innovate.

As we discussed with CEO Benoit Grouchko on the latest episode of Heard on the Street, the company works with multi-location brands like JoAnn Stores to boost return on ad spend by growing physical foot traffic.

Is Visual Mapping the Next Google-Apple Battleground?

As Google and Apple lead the way, we are getting closer to ubiquitous visual mapping. If that happens, there will be significant implications for entities that currently use search and mapping for marketing or online presence. They’ll need to make sure they are optimized in this new format.

This could lead to an extension of SEO to cultivate presence in visual experiences. Just like in search, correct business location and details will need to be optimized to show up in the right places. You don’t want the AR overlay for your restaurant floating above the salon next door.

Heard on the Street, Episode 33: Building Network Effect for Location Intelligence

Responsible location intelligence involves practices like “stop data,” to measure users’ location dwell times, and the scale Foursquare achieves in its network of app publishers. Placed is one of the first location data players and a leader in attribution since 2011.

Now that the two companies have come together via acquisition, how does that position Foursquare for interstellar domination of the location intelligence market? It’s about greater capability and scale, say Foursquare’s Josh Cohen and David Shim, our guests on the latest episode of Heard on the Street.

Immersive Tech’s Next Conquest: Your Car

The real opportunity in VR and connected cars, going back to our primary focus on local commerce, could be to utilize that captive in-car media time with local discovery tools. Ad-supported experiences could be geo-targeted based on where you are or where you’re going. Destination-based discovery tools could be baked in.

Heard on the Street, Episode 32: Is Messaging the Next Brand Channel?

Conversational commerce, brands’ ability to interact with customers through messaging, continues to evolve. According to Quiq CEO Mike Myer, our latest guest on Heard on the Street, this is a function of the technology but also cultural factors that deter consumers from traditional channels like email and phone.

“Waiting for email to come back is like watching paint dry,” he told us. “So, if you’re in the purchase process, you’re going to go somewhere else to buy if you’re on a brand’s website and you have to interact with them on email. And making a phone call: There’s a whole generation of people who aren’t very fond of phone calls.”

Meet the SF Awards Judges: True Value, Vitamin Shoppe, Denny’s, Chamberlain Group & WPP | The Store

The circle is complete. We’ve rounded out the full panel of judges for Street Fight’s Innovator awards (Pro tip: today is the last day to apply).

Collectively, they represent:

15,350 business locations
150,986 employees
$25+ billion in annual revenues

But who are they? Here’s the rundown.

Listen to Podcast: Heard on the Street

Heard on the Street, Episode 31: CDPs and Israeli Innovation

As data science continues to collide with digital marketing, customer behavior metrics are reaching new levels of actionable insight. But counteracting that advantage is the growing fragmentation of devices and platforms used in the path to purchase, making it harder to get a single view of the customer.

This is the world of customer data platforms (CDPs), and it is where Optimove hangs its hat. Founder & CEO Pini Yakuel explains to us on the latest episode of Heard on the Street how the company helps brands and multi-location retailers get the insights they need to better serve their customers.

Announcing Judges for Street Fight’s Innovator Awards

Applications for this year’s Street Fight Innovator Awards have been open for the past month and will run through this coming Friday, July 26. So, get your applications in if you haven’t already. Meanwhile, we’re excited to announce the latest milestone in the awards process: the first round of all-star judges.

Each judge was selected because he or she is a recognized innovator in local marketing. The rest of the judges, including representatives from the Street Fight editorial team, will be announced soon to round out the full panel.

Heard on the Street, Episode 30: The Art of Digital Persuasion, with Jeff Hasen, Part II

Amid accelerated disruption in digital media, consumer touch points continue to fragment. That includes a growing list of interfaces and delivery channels for content—everything from smartphones to watches to headphones and speakers. So what’s a marketer to do?

This is the topic of Jeff Hasen’s third and most recent book, The Art of Digital Persuasion, which we discuss with the author on the latest episode of the Heard on the Street Podcast. In addition to marketing tactics, Hasen brings other sorts of savoir-faire to the table as a journalist and ad agency exec.

What’s a Cloud Kitchen? Amazon’s Next Move to Revolutionize a Major Shopping Sector

Jeff Bezos likes to say, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Like with Whole Foods and grocery, Amazon moves into new verticals and applies its logistics-first approach to carve out margins, then undercut competitors. It is even getting into shipping, in a move to own its delivery infrastructure.

The next local conquest could be restaurants. For Amazon, it’s not just about serving food, but doing so in a way that aligns with its forte: delivering things to your home. The biggest clues and synergies lie in its established delivery and logistics playbook as well as its recent $575 million investment in Deliveroo.

Enter the cloud kitchen.

Heard on the Street, Episode 29: Push Notifications and Tech History, with Airship’s Mike Stone

Airship has been innovating around push notifications for more than a decade, a lifetime in internet years. Airship SVP of Marketing Mike Stone, the latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast, broke down the company’s approach to the mobile marketing business.

“There are two dimensions. One is the proliferation of devices and the channels that are attached to them, but there’s also that much more difficult thing of what consumers are willing to do,” said Stone. “The devices are one thing, but it’s also, once they’re there, where’s that line of creepy versus helpful.”

AR Impacts Local Commerce, Disrupting Home Services and Retail

AR is emerging at a time when the physical retail world is undergoing significant transformation. Things like Amazon Go stores and the counteractive “retail as a service” movement have raised awareness and hunger for retail evolution. So AR’s retail shopping use cases fall on fertile soil.

But retail is just one way that AR intersects with local commerce. AR comes into play in another key local commerce category: home services. Innovators like Streem are bringing remote assistance to traditional service calls (think: busted pipe).

Heard on the Street, Episode 27: Location & Brand Evolution with Factual, Part 2

Factual, one of many companies in the location intelligence space, emphasizes offline foot traffic and “visitation insights.” Tracking the elusive online-to-offline buying journey is the name of the game, and Factual touts the advantage of a 300-million device observation graph. Factual VP Ocean Fine breaks down her company’s approach to location on our latest podcast.

June Focus: Pursuing Privacy

The privacy movement will have ripple effects throughout the media and advertising worlds that Street Fight covers. In fact, you could argue that privacy issues are most sensitive whenever we’re talking about content or ads that are targeted based on the user’s location. So how is the location-based media world dealing with these shifts? This is the question we’ll strive to answer throughout the month.

Heard on the Street, Episode 26: The Art of Digital Persuasion, with Jeff Hasen

Amid accelerated disruption in digital media, consumer touch points continue to fragment. That includes a growing list of interfaces and delivery channels for content—everything from smartphones to watches to headphones and speakers. So what’s a marketer to do?

This is the topic of Jeff Hasen’s third and most recent book, The Art of Digital Persuasion, which we discuss with the author on the latest episode of the Heard on the Street Podcast. In addition to lots of marketing tactics, Hasen has also learned a lot in a career that includes work as both a journalist and an ad agency exec.