Different industries are looking to manage the spread in different ways. For retailers, that might mean using artificial intelligence to make sure customers are following social distancing rules inside their stores. It might also mean using location data, beacons, and other mobile technologies to track where consumers are going during shutdowns or monitor employee compliance with local Covid regulations.
It’s worth noting that this is a sector that is evolving at breakneck speed. These are just a few of the ways the martech community is using its technology for Covid compliance right now.
With consumer behavior changing quickly, and so much about the future in flux, retailers are working harder to get a complete understanding of their shoppers as they go about their journeys between the digital and physical worlds, says Ubimo Co-Founder Ran Ben-Yair. Strategies specifically designed to target high-intent shoppers are moving into the forefront, as large retail brands come to terms with the unprecedented challenges of this new reality.
During a time when many other types of advertising have faltered, out-of-home (OOH) advertising is having a moment. Despite a nationwide pandemic, OOH activations are on the rise. Political spending on OOH media is up 75% compared to the same period in 2018, and direct-to-consumer brands are seeing increases in both aided and unaided brand awareness.
What’s driving the push? According to Quan CEO Brian Rappaport, there’s been a distinct change in consumer traffic patterns since the pandemic began. Brands that are capitalizing on those changes are reaching targeted groups of consumers at “firesale” prices.
Regardless of which retailer comes out on top, there’s no doubt that many will see Walmart’s decision to launch a digital-first membership program as a turning point in brick-and-mortar retail and a concession on Walmart’s part that e-commerce is the way of the future, displacing rather than complementing old-school retail.
Marcel Hollerbach contends that Walmart’s decision to launch a membership program points to just how well positioned retailers with physical locations are in the current climate, with the ability to quickly facilitate things like in-store returns and same-day deliveries of items that take much longer to ship by mail.
Localized ad platforms could also see an increase in use in the coming months among SMBs that want to cut down on unnecessary costs. Many of the localized ad platforms aimed at the SMB market take a self-serve approach, allowing business owners to adjust their budgets and adapt their strategies as conditions evolve.
Here are five localized ad platforms that are focused on helping merchants get back on their feet.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) generated plenty of headlines when it went into effect on January 1st. We covered tools for compliance, the law’s long-term effects, as well as its pitfalls and promise here at Street Fight. But a six-month grace period before enforcement coupled with the arrival of coronavirus shifted the attention of the location data world partially away from the nation’s first major privacy law.
That enforcement grace period ended this week, and with it, a new era in consumer privacy began.
Location data and analytics firm Unacast is hoping its new recovery analytics tool might guide businesses through this chaotic time. The interactive tool allows retail operations professionals, real estate developers, and property management companies to drill down to the census block level to get visibility into real-world economic recovery scenarios and plan for future investments.
Using data that compares real-time public behavior in the current environment to pre-Covid time periods, businesses can estimate recovery rates and more accurately plan for future reopenings.
Retailers have dozens of ways to go when implementing contactless payments in brick-and-mortar stores. The best option usually depends on the retailer’s size and budget. Smaller businesses tend to rely more on app-based contactless payments and mobile solutions as a way to minimize the costs associated with integrating an entirely new point-of-sale system.
Here are six mobile payment and contactless payment options that retailers can use to help curb the spread of coronavirus inside their stores.
Businesses that understand these changes and find ways to harness review attributes stand to see major gains in search. Google’s new feature could be a big improvement for small and mid-size businesses, in particular, since it provides marketers with both comparative structured feedback and sentiment. But whether businesses benefit from Google’s decision to expand review attributes into new categories depends largely on how they capitalize on the changes.
How do local restaurants implement coronavirus-driven changes, and what role will technology play in helping those businesses reemerge from lockdown status?
Statewide regulations, like sanitizing protocols and spacing between tables, are in many ways easier for restaurants to implement because they are clear-cut. Certain diner expectations are harder for restaurants to gauge, and that has presented a new opportunity for technology providers catering to the restaurant market.
While geofenced campaigns and foot traffic attribution are old hat for mainstream brands, they represent a new frontier for cannabis businesses.
Despite widespread legalization in many states, the cannabis industry has been shut out from many of the most effective marketing and advertising strategies. In some cases, those restrictions come in the form of strict state and federal laws. In other cases, it’s simply due to a lack of ad tech platforms willing to accept their campaigns.
But times are changing, and new doors are opening up to businesses in the cannabis industry.
Years of rising demand for ridesharing services came to a full stop this spring, as coronavirus spread and communities across the globe were put under lockdown. Now, as ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft begin inching their way forward toward a new normal, they’re looking at how to adapt to the completely new environment in which they find themselves.
The marketing automation company Act-On Software is relaunching today with an affordable solution for companies that are bogged down by budget cuts and lay-offs due to Covid-19 shutdowns, but they’re not the only company making big changes.
In fact, Act-On is just one of a number of martech firms gunning to help businesses as they emerge from Covid-19 shutdowns. Jungle Scout has released a solution for brands leveraging the power of Amazon, Agora.io is expanding its reseller partnerships, and BounceX is using SMS to help retailers recover revenue lost because of Covid-19. Act-On is refining its approach to marketing automation, with new product capabilities meant to drive personal product engagement and a tighter focus on helping marketers evolve their businesses.
GroundTruth’s new Covid-19 Insights tracker gives brands a way to track foot traffic down to the zip code level. The tracker is updated weekly, with the ability to search for daily foot traffic across a number of categories, like auto dealers, banks, restaurants, and retail.
Data comes from the 30 billion annual global visits GroundTruth observes on its platform. The company uses indexed foot traffic to demonstrate the relative increase or decrease in visits to different places of interest, with weekly and daily charts depicting foot traffic indexed against average weekly/daily visits starting from December 30, 2019.
Voice technology has been on the verge of going mainstream for nearly a decade. Despite big players like Amazon and Google launching their own smart speakers, and millions of consumers using the devices in their homes, investors in the voice technology space have been patiently waiting for the spark that would set off a new touchless world.
That spark is Covid-19.
Industry-wide curbside pickup has surged 208%, but statistics alone do not tell the complete story. Although large retailers were quick to pivot to a pickup-only strategy, small and mid-size retailers were largely boxed out. That’s because the ordering technology used by many large retailers comes with a price tag that small retailers cannot afford, and implementing the most sophisticated programs requires a level of technological sophistication that SMBs don’t usually have.
Rakuten Ready believes it has the answer to this problem.
According to a benchmark study of more than two billion app installs, recently released by the notifications and customer engagement platform Airship, users are quicker to click on notifications now than before the pandemic began. Thirty-two percent of website visits by opt-in users in March were from direct opens of web notifications, as direct open rates for mobile app push notifications reached their absolute-highest average rate in more than four years.
Brands are on delicate ground as they look for ways to promote their non-essential products during the pandemic. Stay the course with existing marketing strategies, and it looks like the brand is ignoring a global health crisis. Push too strong with coronavirus-themed ads, and brands run the risk of being seen as capitalizing on the tragedy.
The solution that some brands have come up with is to put the ball in the influencer’s court.
By most measures, it appears that retailers have a tough road ahead of them. While deep investments into ecommerce and steep discounts on existing merchandise are expected, many retailers are exploring other avenues in a bid to connect with customers and offer a sense of assurance during the pandemic. Mobile messaging platforms are being utilized in new and unexpected ways. With open rates close to 100%, texting has become the communication channel of choice during the ongoing pandemic.
Here are seven examples of ways that retailers are using mobile messaging to connect with customers during Covid-19.