Triangulating Apple Maps: The Tech Angle

Apple surprised the local search world last month when it announced local business reviews in Maps. Similar to its other search-based efforts, Apple formerly relied on partners like Yelp for local listings and reviews. But now, as part of its broader data-driven Maps overhaul, it will phase in original content.

Much has been written about this within the local search publishing world and analyst corps, including my colleague Stephanie Miles’ article on how brands can prepare for Apple Maps reviews here on Street Fight. So in the interest of treading new ground, what less-discussed clues lie in Apple’s recent mapping moves that can triangulate its direction?

How to Use Maps for Local Marketing

Techniques for measuring DOOH exposure and mapping to give cross-device measurement more meaning are being utilized by larger brand marketers, but smaller companies are also getting into the game and finding innovative ways to layer maps onto their local strategies.

Here are five ways that marketers can use mapping technology in their local campaigns.

Street Fight’s September Theme: Mapping the Future

What does “Mapping the Future” entail? As a primary tool for consumer local search and discovery, mapping continues to undergo UX innovations and structural changes. We’ll examine these areas as well as mapping’s interplay with local search and SEO strategies.

Though mapping is more of a Street Fight staple than a trending topic, market signals indicate that the timing is right. In fact, we already got started last month with a look at Snapchat’s moves into local mapping — not just UX upgrades to Snap Map but also self-serve advertising for local businesses.

More Brands Are Scaling Digital Channels for Customer Engagement — Here’s Why

Communicating with brands on social media has become the norm for consumers. Surveys show that roughly half of all consumers who engage with brands on social media are reaching out about customer care concerns, and more than 65% of social media users across all platforms expect brands to respond, regardless of whether the initial outreach was via private messages or public posts.

Those expectations have only heightened over the past six months, and many brands have had to pivot their customer support and engagement priorities on the fly.

Earnings Season Teases Retail’s Next Normal

Earnings results that rolled out from retail giants over the past week further demonstrate what our next normal will look like. Specifically, Walmart and Target both hit record numbers. This is partly a function of Covid-era circumstances, but it is also due to each retailer’s active e-commerce momentum.

The earnings validate consumer acclimation to digitally infused local shopping. What’s more, other retailers and down-market businesses will look to replicate this success. This can all therefore be viewed as a leading indicator for retail’s next normal.

Covid-19 and Retail Survival: The Online-Offline Imperative

Covid-19 has upended the way consumers buy products. But the pandemic is hardly the only factor accelerating the shift from in-person to online purchasing. This trend has, in fact, intensified over the last decade. With more than 9,000 store closures last year in a strong economy, physical retailers for some time have been trying to figure out how they can thrive (and in some cases survive) in an increasingly digital marketplace.

It’s therefore imperative that retailers (of all sizes) embrace a hybrid business model, where online and offline assets are more integrated. Covid-19 has only made this more apparent.

Foursquare Uses Location Data to Increase Shopper Safety During Covid-19

Social distancing has become a new way of life, but in crowded metro areas, it’s not always possible to remain socially distant inside busy places like supermarkets and pharmacies. Shopping during off-peak periods is the best way to avoid crowds, but during the daytime hours, it’s anyone’s guess whether a particular store will be crowded or empty.

Foursquare thinks it has a solution.

6 E-Commerce Tools for Brick-and-Mortar SMBs

Brick-and-mortar merchants are moving their stores online or developing combination solutions that encompass both website sales and curbside pickup to keep pace with customer demand. Many of those businesses that haven’t made the switch are weighing their options and looking for the right technology. Plug-and-play e-commerce platforms tend to be the most popular route for merchants looking to quickly pivot to online sales, but features like scalability, flexibility, and integration with inventory management software are also important to SMBs.

Here are six e-commerce solutions that brick-and-mortar merchants will want to check out.

Waze Rolls Out Contactless Payments at the Pump

More than half of Americans say they’re concerned about touching cash during the Covid pandemic, and 60% say they plan to use so-called touchless payments in the future. Google’s Waze is leaning into the shift with a new integration and partnership that will enable contactless payments at the gas pump for drivers all across the country.

7 Order-Ahead Platforms for QSRs

According to a report by Dragontail Systems, 53% of people say they prefer carry-out and delivery during the pandemic. To keep pace with that demand, restaurants are investing more heavily in technology platforms that enhance end-to-end kitchen operations.

Here are seven platforms that restaurants can use to manage online orders and streamline their takeout operations during Covid-19.

Who Benefits from the Surging Interest in Contactless Payments?

More than half (51%) of Americans are now using some form of contactless payment. Consumers are most likely to use contactless cards for buying essentials at grocery stores and pharmacies, where 50% of consumers say they worry about the cleanliness of signature touchpads.

Consumers in the U.S. have historically been slower to adopt contactless payments, and that’s something that is tied to a lack of merchant adoption, says Rob Fagnani, vice president of strategy at Formation.ai.

Heard on the Street, Episode 55: Location Intelligence’s New Normal

Location intelligence is expanding beyond its well-known uses for advertising (ad targeting, attribution, etc.), supporting enterprises in a number of other ways. That includes supply chain management as well as decisions about where to open another store location.

All of the above applications of location intelligence are fueling UberMedia, our latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast. UberMedia CEO Gladys Kong says that this expansion of location data’s utility was already underway but has accelerated in the Covid era.

Tapad, Reveal Mobile Partner to ‘Make Attribution Make Sense’

Household targeting was possible before the pandemic, but it has become even more necessary for brands since shelter-in-place orders began this spring. With more people living together, and spending more time together inside their homes, having the ability to target multiple members of the same household has become more valuable for marketers.

“The pandemic has caused people to spend a lot more time at home. That means more time spent with shared devices,” Tapad COO Mark Connon says. ”Brands need to have a better understanding of who is using what device and when, despite these shifting behaviors, in order to make their engagements count.”

Contactless Convenience Is the Next Normal

SYKES for FinTech recently conducted a survey to assess new consumer trends and discover how Americans view the next normal. SYKES polled 3,000 adults about their experiences with contactless financial technology (FinTech), like mobile banking, as well as touch-free purchasing, curbside pickup, delivery services, and other contactless customer experiences. The survey responses offer insights into the marketplace of tomorrow.  

Street Fight’s August Theme: The Next Normal

As we roll into August, it’s time to establish Street Fight’s monthly editorial focus. After our standard ritual (no animals harmed), we’ve settled on “The Next Normal.” Forced to adopt new technologies just to survive, some local businesses have experienced a decade of evolution in just a few months.

So the question is, how will newly elevated local businesses transform the local commerce landscape? If a large share of the local business universe has raised its game, what will be the new “bar” in local media, advertising, and commerce? How should tech providers adjust to new demand signals?

5 Ways to Use Location-Targeted Ads During a Pandemic

Savvy brand marketers are finding ways to take advantage of location-targeted advertising to inform consumers about shifting variables such as store hours of operation and social distancing requirements. Despite some apprehension among advertisers worried about seeming to capitalize on a catastrophe, surveys show that consumers are OK with being targeted with ads right now. More than 90% of people surveyed say they think brands should continue advertising during the crisis.

Here are five examples of ways that brands can start using location-targeted advertising to more effectively connect with consumers during the pandemic.

Why SMBs Are Flocking to Martech to Combat Covid Slump

The old way of doing business isn’t working anymore. As restaurants, retailers, and other businesses work to keep customers updated about shifting hours of operation and in-store social distancing requirements, they are opening up to outside-the-box ideas and becoming more comfortable trying location-targeted marketing platforms.

Data show that digital adoption among businesses and consumers jumped forward at least five years in the first eight weeks of the pandemic. Small restaurants and retailers are eagerly adopting the same tools now that they were hesitant to try back in 2019. That push is leading technology providers to expand their offerings and develop new tools for a growing market.

Changing Behaviors Are Influencing Targeting Tactics

Online actions such as a person’s search history or the brands they like on social media platforms fall short in telling the full story of genuine consumer behavior. Offline behaviors, however, prove to be more indicative of a consumer’s likes, dislikes, and hobbies. During a time when people go fewer places, where they go tells us even more about who they are.

Hyperlocal Device Targeting Should Be Part of Your Advertising Strategy

True hyperlocal advertising revolves around mobile location data. The intersection among time, place, device, and creative is the sweet spot that we’re aiming for here. By harnessing mobile location data, digital marketers can employ smarter audience targeting, deliver more timely and relevant ad messaging, generate more foot traffic, and measure the offline results of online marketing efforts. 

If you’re looking to add location-based advertising to your digital marketing mix, here are some effective tactics that can help you boost in-store visits.

Can a Pandemic Inflect Local Commerce Tech? Part II

What about the tech adoption accelerants happening on the supply side? Tech giants who provide marketing and operational tools for local businesses have been in hyperdrive over the past few months to roll out new Covid-era features.

Here are three areas where we’re seeing the most activity … and where we could correspondingly see the most local business evolution.