Street Fight Happenings
Last month, for example, we zeroed in on the theme of retail transformation.
This month, we extend that discussion with a focus on the connected car. As companies like Tesla continue to innovate the digital experiences in our cars, they’re becoming the ultimate “mobile device.” This will have implications for local media companies and brands that have a local presence.
Meanwhile, last week we closed the application period for the Innovator Awards. The next step is to work with our panel of judges to choose the winners. The awards will be a central part of Street Fight’s plan to continue being an authority on innovation and transformation in the location-based media and advertising worlds.
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.
Theme of the Month: Vertical Challenge
Over the past few years, a number of national retailers have added mapping technology into their mobile apps. Even more retailers have given store associates handheld devices with integrated indoor location features, putting the answers to frequently asked questions—like where products are located and how to get to certain store departments—at their fingertips.
Even though location and mapping technology is embedded into many consumer-facing shopping apps, and it’s used by retailers to fuel both their marketing initiatives and back-end operations, publicly explained use cases from retail brands are rare. Here are five examples of how retailers are applying the technology and using mapping to fundamentally change the in-store shopping experience.
Blumenthal: Google Maps is/has become the primary discovery tool in many categories. That is a significant shift of which agencies and owners need to be aware.
Mihm: Yep. I’m not sure I would even have had our ThriveHive data science team look for this data point specifically had you not tipped me off. But sure enough, across our dataset of nearly 20,000 GMB Profiles, we found that Maps impressions outweigh Search impressions by nearly 3:1 (72% to 28% over the last 18 months).
Gimbal COO and CMO Matthew Russo says that at scale, indoor location technology is advanced enough that it works incredibly well. Russo says that at Gimbal, he has worked with major brand clients who are able to understand when a VIP walks into their lobby. They also know if the customer has waited too long at a check-in line, and they’re able to present customers with special offers or keyless check-ins at their rooms.
“But if you’re a pizzeria owner with a single storefront looking to send a push notification to people walking by, you probably won’t see the results you’re hoping for,” Russo says.
Could those scaling issues be holding back the indoor navigation industry, and if so, what’s the solution?
Facebook led the Summit with this very interesting statistic: “There are now more messaging users than social users globally.” While the semantics of “messaging” vs. “social app” draw a fine distinction, on raw user count alone, WhatsApp and Messenger account for 2.9 billion users, and Facebook alone sits at 2.4 billion.
With these numbers in mind, Facebook’s contention is that conversation should be a larger part of the consumer journey when it comes to advertising, even noting that consumers are increasingly expecting to be as well, creating a virtuous cycle of sorts.
On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Verizon Media goes AR, Pared app for restaurants, Veeve re-invents the shopping cart, Uber testing milk/bread delivery in Australia, Albert Heijn piloting their own Amazon GO, Apple quietly adds UWB to iPhone 11.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have forced legacy CPG brands into a major strategy shift. The rumblings of the digital transformation signaled change was coming, and the rise of DTC brands has led CPGs to rethink consumer engagement and the marketing tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And, in today’s digital-first marketplace, CPG margins are tightening because of the competition from DTCs as well as Amazon’s white-label product lines.
The result of these challenges sees the CPG playbook evolving to meet the digital-first ecosystem through tactics including investing in acquisitions, moving advertising budgets into digital, and including emerging marketing channels such as experiential marketing to create brand awareness and make direct consumer connections.
One area where restaurants have particularly specific needs is in promoting customer loyalty. Vertical-specific loyalty platforms for restaurants tend to have features and capabilities that more generalized loyalty platforms do not. For example, many loyalty platforms for restaurants are tied to reservation systems, so waiters know customers’ preferences before seating them at their tables.
Although the number of loyalty platforms for restaurants is growing every day, we’ve put together a list of seven important players that anyone who is interested in this space should be following.
This time, it’s not Amazon Web Services, the cloud underpinning Amazon’s operations and those of other companies around the world, but Amazon’s Go technology that is being peddled to new clients. Bezos’ e-commerce behemoth is in talks to sell the flashy cashierless solution to movie theaters and airports, CNBC reported.
If Amazon is successful, the play to sell Go to other businesses may some day turn what now appears a revolutionary technical advance (with potentially devastating consequences for cashiers) into a commonplace asset. Just as AWS, the B2B play partially financing Amazon’s low-margin retail biz, supports thousands of businesses unbeknownst to their customers, Go-as-a-service could come to change all of retail without many consumers even realizing Amazon is behind changing checkout norms.
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.