Klos Founders See Opportunity in Social Messaging Market

Like so many other startups, Klos is being marketed as a solution to a problem. In this case, the company’s founders see the problem as social media being inherently anti-social. Original broadcast sharing on legacy social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is on the decline. Messaging services like WhatsApp and iMessage are incredibly popular, but they don’t help people expand their social networks. While there are existing services, like Tinder and Bumble, that combine messaging and network expansion, they almost all fall into the dating app category.

How VR and AR Are Changing the Car-Buying Experience

New cars are incredibly expensive, and most people don’t feel comfortable picking a vehicle based exclusively on two-dimensional images and whatever data they can pull up on the Kelley Blue Book website. Consumers don’t want to go into dealerships, either, so they end up delaying their purchases for as long as possible.

RelayCars thinks it has a solution.

The company has put together a program that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help consumers research new cars and trucks. Getting a realistic view of a vehicle from their own homes helps users narrow down their selections and decreases the time shoppers need to spend test driving multiple cars.

Digital Advertisers Look to Connected Cars to Push Industry Forward

As the industry continues to evolve, Geopath’s Kym Frank predicts that two-way communication between cars and advertisers will become even more commonplace and OOH strategies that involve connected vehicle data will be the norm among major brand advertisers.

“The car itself can communicate with digital displays to trigger optimal creative, and the billboard can communicate with the dash to trigger in-app ads,” Frank says. “We are at the very beginning of seeing what is possible and measuring those impacts.”

6 Automotive Data Services Platforms

In order for consumer-facing companies and outside technology firms to take complete advantage of the data that’s being generated by automakers, the data coming from today’s connected vehicles needs to be aggregated and normalized.

Automotive data services platforms are stepping in with technology designed to take connected vehicles to the next level. By ingesting and cleansing data from connected cars, these platforms are helping minimize the development work that’s needed to launch a wide variety of third-party apps and services.

Here are six companies that are innovating in the space.

By Unlocking Vehicle Data, Car Rental Companies Help Build Smarter Cities

As operator of three of the most recognized brands in the industry — Avis, Budget and Zipcar — Avis Budget Group represents a mobility ecosystem of more than 11,000 locations in approximately 180 countries. The company recently partnered with the connected-car data firm Otonomo to manage its connected cars on Otonomo’s automotive data services platform. Otonomo will help ABG derive insights from its large connected vehicle fleet, including anonymizing, standardizing, and delivering data from Toyota, Ford, Peugeot and GM vehicles.

The deal between ABG and Otonomo is expected to generate more than 4 billion road miles of data this year, and 7 billion road miles of data by 2020, with much of that data being used for predictive maintenance, smart city planning, and streamlining of the rental process.

5 Business Models for On-Demand Delivery

In the on-demand food delivery vertical alone, revenue is expected to reach $94 billion this year. Other verticals, like beauty, parking, health, shipping, and marijuana, are seeing significant gains, as well. Although the space is maturing, investors are still seeing great growth opportunities. Any number of on-demand delivery startups has the potential to take over the space if it continues to grow as its current pace.

To understand where that growth might occur, we need to take a step back and examine which business models are proving most successful in the on-demand delivery space and how startups are implementing those business models for financial gain.

How Retailers Are Reaching Back-to-School Shoppers

It’s that time of the year. As summertime comes to an end, parents around the country have started filling up shopping carts with pencils, notebooks, and binders. Families in the U.S. are expected to spend an average of $696 on back-to-school supplies this year, the highest amount ever recorded by the National Retail Federation.

Back-to-school shopping has become an important event for retailers like Target, Walmart, and Office Depot. While ecommerce is king at other times of the year, parents shopping for their kids’ back-to-school supplies are just as likely to shop in-store as they are online.

How FlashParking Is Turning Isolated Lots Into Connected Hubs

The parking technology company FlashParking wants to reimagine the way parking lots are managed. But rather than pushing “smart” technology on individual operators, the company is taking a decidedly different approach to decreasing traffic congestion in cities.

Operating under the belief that most technology solutions to urban challenges are unnecessarily complicated, the team at FlashParking is working toward solutions that redirect energy away from smart-city technology. Instead, FlashParking is pushing a system that embraces so-called “dumb cities” — cities planned and built with durable approaches to infrastructure.

Marijuana Advertisers Chart Uncertain Territory with Laws in Flux

Could running ads for cannabis products put digital publishers in the crosshairs of federal regulators? It’s a question that more and more publishers are asking, even as marijuana legalization continues to spread across the U.S.

In a bid to help businesses in the cannabis industry understand what is, and isn’t, legal from an advertising perspective, Dash Two released its own guide to marijuana advertising laws. The company says it will keep its guide updated as the laws continue to evolve.

6 Companies Reimagining Last-Mile Delivery

There’s a renewed push in Silicon Valley to tackle last-mile delivery. The use of autonomous vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence is what more and more vendors are pushing for. Last-mile delivery is the most expensive part of shipping, and increasing fees mean prices are only going higher. The company that can get goods from a transportation hub to the customer’s doorstep in the shortest amount of time will win the retail game, and technology firms are hoping that their innovative solutions will be the answer that retailers are looking for.

Here are six examples of companies that are working to innovate in the last-mile delivery space.

Offline Retailers See Huge Boost From Prime Day’s Online Sales

Amazon wasn’t the only retailer to see high purchase intent during its two-day event. Competing retailers saw similar successes piggybacking on Amazon’s newest shopping holiday with their own discounts and limited-time deals. This year’s Prime Day event drove a 14% spike in U.S. traffic on its first day, compared to baseline traffic from the month of June.

According to data collected by Constructor.io, an AI-first SaaS provider for ecommerce sites, among the non-Amazon companies having sales during Prime Day, search volume increased an average of more than 500%.

7 Cannabis Data Analytics Firms

One of the signs that an industry is becoming more legitimate is when its major players start investing in analytics. With a recent boom in the number of data analytics firms entering the cannabis space, it’s time to reevaluate the landscape for recreational marijuana as a business.

The marijuana industry is expanding at a rapid pace. Analysts estimate the industry could reach $75 billion in global sales by 2030. With so much on the line and marijuana companies facing enormous pressure to innovate, investors are pushing for the increased use of data analytics to make more strategic business decisions.

Here are seven cannabis data analytics firms working to change the face of the industry right now.

7 Location Analytics Firms for Malls and Shopping Centers

If you want to see what retail innovation looks like first-hand, walk into a shopping mall. Faced with the option to transform or die, shopping mall operators across the country are choosing to fight back against the shifting tides in retail.

Here are seven tech firms that malls, and other retail giants, are relying on to collect and study location data gleaned from shoppers’ mobile devices.

Retailers Are Using AI for Onboarding, Associate Retention

The retail landscape is going through an evolution, with mom-and-pop stores on Main Street being replaced by e-commerce outlets that rely on sophisticated algorithms to manage virtually every aspect of business operations.

While most headlines about the transformation of retail focus on the consumer-side of the equation, there’s even more change going on behind the scenes. Competition between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar is forcing innovation in the way retailers approach the challenges that come with onboarding and retaining in-store associates.

Retailers Leverage Prime Day to Boost Offline Sales

Unlike other shopping “holidays,” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day is specific to a single retailer. But as the event grows, other retailers—both online and offline—are finding ways to leverage the anticipation that consumers are feeling.

Last year, 63% of Prime Day shoppers said they visited competing websites to compare prices. This is a major opportunity for online retailers to capitalize on the spike in traffic and provide consumers with personalized and targeted offerings and exclusive deals.

Is Amazon Killing the Holiday Shopping Season?

Long lines of shoppers snaking around retail stores used to be commonplace on the morning after Thanksgiving. So was the tradition of picking up a print newspaper for an early look at the Black Friday ads. But with retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, Alibaba, and Flipkart creating their own shopping holidays, the frenzy around Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been tamped down. Is this a sign of the times or just a blip in retail’s evolution?

To find the answer, the mobile app marketing firm Liftoff and the mobile measurement company Adjust teamed up and took a deep dive into the consumer activity on shopping apps throughout the calendar year. In a new report, the firms found that with excuses to shop year round, traditional shopping holidays, like Black Friday and the New Year period, are waning in significance. These events are gradually becoming less vital for online and offline retailers, even if they remain important moments.

Report: DTC Brands Outperform Traditional Retail, Win Over Gen-Z

As the millennial generation settles down and moves into its 30s, retailers are looking at a new group of consumers as the most coveted demographic. Generation Z—born between 1994 and 2002—is forming its own identity and seeking out different shopping experiences than its older counterparts.

A new report, released by the location intelligence platform Ubimo, finds that Generation Z shows a surprising preference for physical stores, although members of this group aren’t interested in shopping so much as experiencing new products in-store.

Fresh Chalk Has a New Take on Local Reviews

Despite digital change, recommendations from friends remain one of the most credible forms of marketing. Now, a new startup called Fresh Chalk is aiming to capitalize on that, giving consumers a way to find local professionals with help from their friends.

Like Yelp, Facebook, Google, and other local business directories, Fresh Chalk is aiming to help people source recommendations from reliable, qualified businesses in their own communities. But unlike most other competitors in the market, Fresh Chalk is keeping a tight focus on personal connections.

Startups Adapt to Shifting Privacy Standards

Two steps forward, one step back. That’s what it can feel like to be a technology provider in the location marketing space right now, struggling to strike a balance between the demands of brand marketers and growing concerns over consumer privacy and data regulation.

That push and pull is challenging vendors in the location marketing space. At the same time their firms should be seeing exponential growth, data regulations—including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s forthcoming Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—are establishing new rules for innovation.

But some companies are embracing the regulation as a challenge to innovate in its own right.

Vendors Rush to Bring Privacy Verification Solutions to Market

The demand for data privacy is at an all-time high, just as consumer trust in the technology space is at an all-time low. Advertisers are grappling with wasted ad spend and uncertainty over ad verification. The market is in disarray, and technology vendors are hoping they have a solution to the problem.

Just this month, the offline consumer intelligence and measurement company Cuebiq launched a new verification solution for third-party data. The solution gives advertisers verifiable proof of compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).