TripAdvisor Buys Listings, Menu Management Company SinglePlatform

As SinglePlatform’s name suggests, the acquisition is a sign of changing and challenging times for search-related internet businesses. Facing pressure from a Google juggernaut that is increasingly mapping out any imaginable search experience on its own properties, digital services that connect consumers with restaurants or places to visit when traveling are consolidating, aiming to offer holistic information that keeps searchers coming back.

Mobile Drives Sales on Black Friday

Data from ShopperTrak showed a 3% decline in traffic at physical stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday even though sales were up overall. That’s because retailers with strong online shopping programs saw significant gains, with a reported $9.2 billion spent on Cyber Monday alone.

In an analysis of holiday shopping campaigns, the people-based marketing platform LiveIntent found that brands had a “robust” performance on Black Friday weekend. Total conversions during Black Friday weekend stood at 36% higher than that typical time period. Retailers that pushed mobile shopping saw the greatest gains, as LiveIntent’s analysis found that mobile drove the most traffic.

5 Seed-to-Sale Platforms for Cannabis Businesses

That trend has led to a significant uptick in the number of cannabis businesses using seed-to-sale ERP software. Seed-to-sale platforms give cannabis businesses a way to track and regulate inventory. Although older seed-to-sale systems were challenging for growers to use, updated versions of the most popular platforms have been re-designed to allow growers to more easily track inventory, run smarter operations, and identify crop hazards in a way that still meets current regulations.

Here are five popular seed-to-sale platforms for cannabis businesses.

Retailers Hoping for Record Cyber Monday to Follow Friday Windfall

US retailers set all-time records on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, wracking up $11.6 billion in online sales. Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will also set a fresh record of $9.4 billion, pushing the Thanksgiving weekend total to nearly $30 billion.

The increasing importance of online sales has forced traditional retailers to compete with e-commerce natives like Amazon not only by offering their own robust set of deals but also by investing in delivery infrastructure and reducing friction for consumers ordering online. 

Spa Facial

The Beauty Industry is Prepping for Small Business Saturday – Here’s How

Small Business Saturday is one of the most important events of the year for local beauty and wellness providers. Spas and salons rely on sales of gift cards and beauty products to sustain their businesses during leaner times.

Developed by American Express in the depths of the recession in 2010, Small Business Saturday is placed in the middle of two of the biggest shopping events of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While proportionally fewer sales happen on Small Business Saturday than Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumer awareness around the annual event is growing.

The Risks and Outsize Rewards of Political Branding

In a time of unprecedented political partisanship, the risks and rewards of corporate political messaging are amplified. Viral marketing strategies including Nike’s partnership with racial justice activist and football star Colin Kaepernick, Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad, and Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stances rally political sympathizers to a brand’s side and alienate ideological foes.

Street Fight checked in with Jen Capstraw, director of strategic insights and evangelism at growth marketing company Iterable, to get a sense of how significant the benefits and drawbacks of political branding are, which ideological direction political ads are predominantly taking, and how strong the evidence is for the efficacy of partisan messaging.

Valuing Diversity, Gen Z Searches for Tailor-Made Holiday Experiences

Gen Z shoppers, in particular, have more friends with different races, gender identities, and sexualities than previous generations. They are more likely to be influenced by social media stars, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, than traditional Hollywood celebrities. As a result, members of this generation value diversity more than other generations, and that value influences their purchasing decisions year-around.

“If you look at baby boomers from this lens, they’re far more homogenous. Millennials and Gen Z are the antithesis [of] homogeneity,” Hebets says. “Brands need to understand that millennials and Gen Z don’t want to be put in the traditional box with respect to marketing or otherwise. They want brands to embrace and recognize their diversity.”

Retailers Wooing Holiday Shoppers Try AI On for Size

What if e-commerce retailers could use technology to replicate the role of the in-store sales associate, providing people at home with the type of personal attention that really drives sales?

Technology vendors are working feverishly to make that a reality. Using artificial intelligence and voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, online retailers are beginning to imagine a world where shoppers can ask their voice companions for recommendations on product fit or gift suggestions in specific price ranges. There may even be a time, not too far in the future, when shoppers can get personal feedback during try-ons inside their own closets, thanks to “smart” mirrors and other virtual reality technology.

Holiday Discounts Don’t Necessarily Lead to Loyal Customers — Here’s Why

When brands go in on discount-focused events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day, which was held earlier this month, there’s concern that the long-term impact might be negative and that brands might be training customers to expect discounts. That expectation can reduce the perceived value of the brand’s products, and it can diminish brand equity over time.

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.

5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience for Holiday Shoppers

The retail space starts to feel chaotic this time of year, with brands pulling out all the stops to win over holiday shoppers. Amidst all the talk of sales and discounts, retailers this year are looking at integrating new customer experience initiatives designed to bring in first-time shoppers and encourage long-time loyalists to spend even more than usual.

To learn even more about the customer experience strategies retailers are launching this year, we checked in with a few industry experts. Here are their thoughts on the best customer experience strategies retailers are trying out this holiday season.

Which Emerging Social Platforms Will Win Big This Holiday Season?

Retailers looking for an edge this holiday season are testing the waters with newer, emerging social platforms in a bid to generate awareness and market their products to huge audiences of tech-savvy teens and twenty-somethings.

On TikTok, a mobile app for creating and sharing short videos, retailers are poised to connect with a base of more than 500 million users.

With GatherUp Acquisition, ASG Expands Into Reviews Space

Mike Blumenthal says the acquisition by ASG gives GatherUp greater access to organizational value, helping the company build better products and processes faster and more robustly. He expects there to be virtually no change in GatherUp’s day-to-day activities. All of the company’s teams—including sales, customer success, engineering, and management—will remain intact following the acquisition. Aaron Weiche will stay on as CEO. Although GatherUp was founded in San Jose, the company employs a distributed team that is now focused in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

US Businesses Lead on Reputation Management

Loyalty to local businesses may never cease to be an important factor in brick-and-mortar commerce, but the boom of “near me” searches and the emphasis on convenience in the age of mobile search make a prime online presence for the quick-querying passerby more important than it has ever been. This latest Uberall data indicate that responding to reviews can provide the slight 5-star rating bump that guides an unfamiliar customer into a store she may otherwise pass up for a higher-ranked competitor.

5 Innovative Ways to Use AR in Holiday Marketing

A technology that was once considered to be on the fringes of digital marketing has moved into the mainstream, as retailers around the country find new ways to use AR in their 2019 holiday campaigns. From virtual try-ons to camera filters designed to drive people into physical store locations, there’s no limit to the number of ways creative marketers can use AR. Enterprising retailers are capitalizing on the momentum as they come up with smarter ways to help shoppers contextually visualize what products will look like on their bodies and in their homes.

Let’s take a look at how five major companies are using AR for holiday marketing this year.

6 Trends to Watch in Holiday Search Marketing

With fewer than two months to go until Christmas, retailers are already kicking their holiday search marketing tactics into high gear. Holiday sales this year are expected to increase roughly 4% over 2018, according to the National Retail Federation, and consumers are expected to be especially price-conscious. How will the retail industry respond to the changing dynamics in search marketing?

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends expected to influence holiday search marketing this year, from tactics for extending the local reach of holiday campaigns and how those tactics convert customers at the point of decision to newer products like Local Inventory Ads, which allows marketers to feed store-level inventory into Google search.

Google’s Fitbit Purchase: Peek into Next-Level Local Dominance and Healthcare Hacking

Prescriptions by Google, then? The company indeed lacks Amazon’s delivery capabilities but has a stranglehold on search and therefore on consumers’ connections to local businesses. It is not hard to imagine a world in which Google appears to keep its privacy promise by refusing to sell ads directly based on Fitbit user data but still capitalizes on the data by using it to connect Fitbit users with local health care service providers, pharmacists, and even gyms. That would just constitute one more way Google is edging out the digital middlemen that once closed the loop from Google search to a local service provider.

In Fitness Industry, Vertical Platforms Cater to Specialized Operations

Online appointment booking platforms are a dime a dozen, used by businesses in a huge range of industries. But among fitness businesses, specifically, general use booking platforms aren’t very common. That’s because fitness businesses are more likely to use vertical-specific tools designed to meet the needs of specialized operations.

Perhaps more so than any other industry, health and wellness has shown a great desire for verticalized technology solutions. Although verticalization isn’t limited to the health and wellness industry, fitness studios and related businesses are much more likely to use technology platforms designed specifically for their industry.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Fight Gig Economy Law in California

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are teaming up with restaurant delivery service DoorDash to fight California’s AB 5, a law that would force gig-economy companies that survive on contractor labor to register their drivers (or dashers) as employees and offer them benefits, Vox reported.

The coalition, the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services campaign, is attempting to place a referendum on the 2020 California ballot that would give voters the choice to exempt ride-sharing services from the law. That would presumably include DoorDash, which is not a ride-hailing service but essentially iterated Uber’s business model, employing drivers to escort food instead of passengers from A to B on demand.

The Vertical Approach to Grocery Marketing

More than just a niche market inside the retail vertical, grocery marketing has grown to become an industry unto itself. According to eMarketer, grocery is the “least penetrated but fastest-growing category” in e-commerce. Explosive growth, fueled in part by the rising popularity of online grocers and on-demand delivery services, like Instacart, that deliver goods from brick-and-mortar stores, is behind the prediction that the grocery retail market will reach $12.24 trillion globally by 2020.

CPG brands and supermarket chains have been quick to adopt vertical-specific marketing platforms and tools. Although there are plenty of local retail marketing solutions that could be adaptable to the grocery industry, the supermarket itself is a unique environment and that makes verticalized solutions even more desirable in this arena.