The Retailpocalypse Doesn’t Have to Be Scary for Local Businesses

Headlines about retail closures suggest it’s Amazon’s world and we’re all just living in it, but there’s more to the story. For local businesses, in particular, there’s ample reason to be optimistic that the retail apocalypse doesn’t have to spell end times. In fact, exactly the opposite could be true. Let’s walk through a few of the reasons for optimism. 

Alexa, Podcasts, and the Role of Voice in Today’s Marketing

The increasing popularity of smart speakers, digital assistants, and podcasts means we need to begin thinking differently about voice and marketing. That includes tailoring online content to users and how they engage with it, making voice functionality a part of the sales funnel, and creating podcasts or partnering with influencers to reach audiences in a new way. With the right approach, a creative brand could get a considerable head start in this new but quickly developing marketing landscape.

LBMA Vidcast: Amazon’s StyleSnap, Coca Cola’s Summer Wrist Bands

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Wrangler Jeans + Old Town Road, The North Face + Spotify, SingleCut Beersmiths plays trivia, Amazon’s StyleSnap, Coca-Cola’s summer wrist bands, ProYo + InMarket. Special: 2019 LBMA Global Location Trends Report.

Word of Mouth Remains Vital for Loyalty in Digital Age

Pundits have speculated that loyalty is becoming less and less important as mobile and especially voice search drive the consumer toward the most convenient purchasing options. That may be true, but the report indicates loyalty remains a powerful factor, with 53% of consumers saying they are more likely to buy from a retailer they know and trust.

SMBs Warm Up to New Tech But Are Skeptical of Impersonal Interactions

A freshly released report from SMB software firm Broadly uses data from a survey of 300 SMB leaders to paint a picture of the American SMB in 2019: gradually embracing mobile-first communication, skeptical of innovation that undercuts human connection, and ambivalent toward large digital marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.

Visual Search Moves Beyond Experimentation and Into Prime Time

After years of experimentation and broad discussions about how visual search would someday take hold, it’s clear that the future has arrived. Visual search has moved into the mainstream, and companies like Pinterest, Instagram, and even Google are paving the way for consumers to engage more deeply with the products they find online.

As visual search moves into the mainstream, questions are intensifying over what impact the medium will have on SEO and traditional search metrics.

To Understand the Tech Industry’s Responsibilities, We Must Think Differently About Humanity

These questions would be preludes to less abstract ones that will seem more familiar to the creatures of Silicon Valley. Is Facebook responsible if people use WhatsApp and Messenger to spread false news and incite genocide? Is that just the fault of (heinous) people being (heinous) people or should the platforms be held accountable? As for privacy and data collection, what rights do people have to safeguard their information from the communications platforms they use? What does data scraped from Google search or Amazon’s facial recognition technology have to do with our identities? Can data be human?

5 Visual Marketing Platforms for Brands

Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay are just a few online retailers with new visual search tools, and social media platforms like Snapchat are letting users take pictures of items to buy on Amazon and Pinterest. By using enterprise-level visual marketing platforms, brands can capitalize on their visibility across the web and drive more revenue from the images and other content their customers are creating.

Here are five visual marketing platforms that brands are using right now.

Walmart Tests Out the “Future of Retail” in Long Island Store

There’s no time for the future of retail like the present. That is the motto at Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab, a live experiment in AI-driven shopping experiences that is now open to the public at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, NY. 

From Zero-Click SERPs to Rabbit-Hole SERPs

Mihm to Blumenthal: Answer Optimization and Zero-Click SERPs seem to be gaining traction as concepts in the SEO industry, but as you pointed out in our previous conversation on this topic, Google’s moving well beyond simple answers and into journeys. Cindy Krum highlighted several examples of these new search journeys, which as I saw her presenting struck me as “rabbit-holes.”

Amazon Pursuing Mobile Video Ads, Strengthening Its Viability as Duopoly Alternative

Video advertising has been the hot thing for long enough that it’s now passé to refer to the pivot to video. It’s about time, then, that the Big Tech company hoping to break into the digital ad market dominated by Google and Facebook added video to its inventory. 

Apple Strikes a Foreboding Tone with Big Ad on Privacy

Apple’s privacy-first policies should prove beneficial for the company and for the hundreds of millions of people who use its products. Still, the iPhone maker’s ad, light in tone as its soundtrack may be, strikes a decisively dark note representative of broader national anxiety about Silicon Valley and the danger of its increasingly unavoidable products. Beneath the ad’s veneer of levity, thinly constructed in the form of a small guard dog and man wary of using a urinal too close to his neighbor, the video sends a clear warning to smartphone users entrusting their private information to rival phone makers: The intimate details of your lives may already be compromised. Lean into your worries about your data’s theft and monetization, and fork over 10 Benjamins at the nearest Apple store for the sake of your own security.

Amazon’s Dash Buttons Have Met Their End. Does Their Demise Truly Signal Failure?

Dash buttons were met with detractors right from the get go. Some called out the “hideous” design, while others lambasted Amazon for creating $5 buttons that would inevitably end up in landfills. But at Amazon, the Dash button initiative isn’t considered a failure. Rather, the project was designed to get consumers more comfortable with the “connected home” concept and the idea of shopping through devices other than desktop computers and smartphones.

Human Judgment, Automation, and the Future of Ad Tech

For now, I propose two major concerns—two challenges, even, for further thought—surrounding AI for the ad tech industry. The first is that the datafication of human experience that has allowed for precise ad targeting needs to be radically reconsidered, not just in terms of what can be done to obtain the consent of consumers for data collection, as the rising privacy movement has called tech companies to consider, but also in terms of what is lost and what is truly gained when the attributes of real people are transformed into consumer data. The second is that the human-machine hybrid decision-making model, while surely the best available in a hypothetical set that also includes human-only and machine-only models, will have to grapple with the bias and poor decisions of the humans who program the machines that will take on the task of regulating large platforms at scale. 

LBMA Vidcast: Cedars Sinai Goes Alexa, Fred Perry + Raf Simons Launch Virtual Map Shopping

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Cedars Sinai goes Alexa, Fred Perry + Raf Simons launch virtual map shopping, Kontakt.io new SMB play, ESRI acquires Indoo.rs, Ford integrates What3Words, Walgreens accepts Alipay in the U.S.

LBMA Vidcast: LG Builds Amazon Dash into All Appliances, Tide Launches 24/7 Delivery

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: 180byTwo’s eCHO, Outdoorsy the AirBnB for RVs, Outer, Tide launches 24/7 laundry service, LG builds Amazon Dash into all appliances, Baidu builds AI cat shelters. New research from Blis.

AR in Local Commerce: Google Shows the Way

Mike Boland: A recent and relatively understated development from Google could portend the future of augmented reality. Its previously teased “VPS” was released into the wild for a small set of users. For those unfamiliar, VPS (visual positioning service) guides users with 3D overlays on upheld smartphone screens. Sort of a cousin of AR, this type of experience could represent the sector’s eventual killer apps. Though we’ve seen the most AR success so far in gaming (Pokemon Go) and social (Snapchat AR lenses), it could be more mundane utilities like navigation that engender high-frequency use cases.

LBMA Vidcast: Coachella and Amazon Lockers, DoorDash Raises $500M

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Coachella + Amazon Lockers, Colruyt uses Google Assistant, DoorDash raises $500M, Kroger launches mobile pay app, Crate & Barrel + Handy. Special co-host: Carsten Szameitat.

Alexa Has the Confidence of SMB Marketers. Should It?

Forty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Uberall said they trust the e-commerce giant over its competition when it comes to marketing applications of voice technology in these early days of the medium. Google Assistant had the vote of 29% of the market, with Apple’s Siri scoring a surprisingly high 17% given the widespread consensus that voice is really a two-way race at the moment.

Walmart Mulls a Run at the Digital Ad Business

With reports percolating about Amazon’s increasingly clear emergence as a third party to Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital ad market, the e-commerce behemoth’s old-school counterpart is reportedly taking a look at the action itself.