This year’s holiday shopping season is not new (by definition), but there will be salient differences and revelations this season. The past year has seen lots of retail innovation as the industry looks to counteract the cautionary tales of late-adopting counterparts in the “retailpocolypse” graveyard.
It’s those innovations and integrations that will be exposed when put to the stress test of the holiday shopping blitz. After reading and writing about them in the pages of Street Fight all year, we’ll now get a look at how a lot of these implementations perform (good or bad) with greater shopping scale.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
$25+ billion in annual revenues
But who are they? Here’s the rundown.
Why are connected cars important to Street Fight (and to you)? As we continue to evolve the definition of “local,” one key component of its market opportunity is offline brick-and-mortar shopping. After all, about 90% of all U.S. retail spending, to the tune of about $3.7 trillion, is completed offline in physical stores. That is usually in proximity to one’s home (thus, local).
Could an increasingly digital and connected car influence those purchases when consumers are out and about? This is one extension of the local search that consumers used to do at home but now do on their mobile devices while on the move. The car could become a third point of connection and influence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Street Fight is rolling into July with the monthly theme Disrupting Retail: a look at how retail continues to transform, driven by competition from Amazon and key trends like “retail-as-a-service.”
But why is this important to Street Fight (and to you)? As we continue to evolve the definition of “local,” one key component of its market opportunity is offline brick-and-mortar shopping. After all, about 90% of all U.S. retail spending, to the tune of about $3.7 trillion, is completed offline in physical stores. And that’s usually in proximity to one’s home (thus, local).