Microsoft and Amazon suspended their sales of facial recognition technology to police departments in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against police brutality. IBM went even further, ceasing its research on the subject altogether.
It might be clever and intuitive, but facial recognition technology is highly invasive. Little wonder, then, that across the world, people are joining the fight against its implementation.
In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Amazon delivering Covid-19 test kits to residents in Seattle, Wirecard partnering with Klarna, Signify releasing “snap-in” IoT sensors for luminaries, Burberry partnering with Google for AR shopping, Cibo Express bringing Amazon cashierless tech to airports, and Wingstop shifting OOH budget to hoodies.
Google’s sister site Verily launched a site, albeit with logistical difficulties, to help Bay Area residents find testing options, and Verily isn’t the only tech company facing or alleviating coronavirus concerns. As a possible recession looms, consumer spending dips, and employees are sent home for public safety, some vendors are stepping in to help workers weather the storm. Others are boosting small businesses, hiring and increasing pay for workers, and suspending precarious services.
It’s well established that Amazon dominates at dominating industries adjacent to retail. But that’s what makes its Just Walk Out solution more suspect. By doubling down on retail as a service, Amazon is courting enterprise customers in the very industry — brick-and-mortar retail — that its main e-commerce business gutted. The Seattle behemoth is asking firms like Walmart and Macy’s to pay it for the chance to meet the same Amazon-driven standards that put some of the retail champions of yesteryear out of business.
This week on the Location-based Marketing Association podcast: a new app for location-based tool rental platform Leveld; Canada Goose crafting an engaging store experience with snow and ice; and JP Morgan Chase offering DashPass to premium cardholder members.
Asif and Aubriana continue with a groundbreaking step from the longest running musical on broadway, the famous Phantom of The Opera, becoming the first in the industry to leverage Alexa, Earth Fare going with Mood Media for upgraded digital signage, and Sprint & Wirecard teaming up on IoT payments.
I’m fresh from a couple of days wandering the halls of the Consumer Electronics Show, affectionately known as CES — the annual conference that descends upon Las Vegas in January and proffers the latest in technological solutions to improve every aspect of our daily lives. This is my first time attending the world’s biggest technology conference, where 4,500 companies this year are vying for the attention of 180,000 attendees, according to my Uber driver.
As I made my way through the crowds at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center and other conference venues, I tried to get a sense of the common themes defining consumer innovation as we begin a new decade.
A recent announcement that Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance are working on an open-source network standard is likely to lead to even more investment in connected devices among retailers. The open-source network that the group is working to develop is supposed to make life easier for IoT hardware vendors and software developers, but it also serves a secondary purpose of assuring retailers investing in connected technology that their budgets aren’t being wasted. With a common IoT communication and control standard, smart devices will be even more reliable and seamless to use in the coming years.
“Open source will bring businesses more agility and enable them to process data quickly while simultaneously producing valuable insights,” says Heikki Nousiainen, chief technology officer at Aiven, a firm that develops managed cloud service hosting for software infrastructure services.
Location Weekly Episode #445 is ready to help you keep yourselves up to date over the holidays. Starting with a discussion on the New York Times article “One Nation, Tracked,” we also discuss Uber Works launching in Miami, the team-up of Amazon, Apple, and Google to make smart homes interoperable, and Goodwill reaching 1.4M mobile devices with location data via Teemo.
2019 was a hectic year for many in the social and technology spaces, and we expect that theme to carry into 2020: the “new normal” will become just “normal.” We are optimistic about this new year but also foresee some systemic changes as to how mobile technology will continue transforming our lives while allowing us more control.
Apple is far ahead with Watch and Airpods, which may have sold 3 million units since Black Friday. Google meanwhile acquired Fitbit to buttress its wearables play. Amazon and Microsoft launched wearables lines in the past quarter, and smaller players like Bose and Snap are planting seeds for a wearables future.
There’s an underlying driver for this activity that goes back to the perennial analyst exercise of “following the money.” This is all about extrapolating product roadmaps based on tech giants’ motivations. This is often to future-proof their core businesses or diversify revenue in the face of maturing products.
Figuring out how best to fit Amazon into your holiday marketing strategies can be tricky, especially when it comes to balancing the investment between physical locations and the online experience. Some retailers are doing this well and thriving without Amazon (think Glossier, shoe companies Rothy’s and Koio, as well as any number of DTC brands), but many more rely heavily on the site to augment both digital and real-world strategies. So if you’re looking to leverage Amazon to your advantage this holiday season, here are a few tips and best practices for retail success.
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.
When looking at several interlocking tech trends — wearables, IoT, smart devices, autonomous vehicles — one common thread emerges: our escalating connectivity as humans. All these technologies are increasingly melded with our senses as the computing “abstraction layer” diminishes.
In other words, device interfaces continue to get more intuitive and automatic. That can be seen in the progression of personal computing from UI milestones like the mouse to mobile-centric touch controls. Now, we have biometric tracking on the Apple Watch and ambient alerts to AirPods.
The “connected consumer” will be Street Fight’s editorial focus for the month of December.
Delivery is emerging as a competitive advantage for local retailers. In fact, in September 2019, Onfleet surveyed 1,000 US consumers to gather their impressions on online versus local store shopping and delivery expectations. Seventy-six percent said they would be more inclined to order from local stores rather than from Amazon if they could get same-day delivery.
With that in mind, here are some delivery trends we’re expecting for 2020.
While Amazon is challenging the duopoly, when zeroing in on local advertising and commerce — Street Fight’s hallmark — as opposed to driving eCommerce, another challenger may loom: Uber. In fact, we have a longstanding prediction that it will blitz local advertising by strategically building from the Trojan Horse that is “in-ride mode.”
This theory is based on the fact that Uber has your captive attention during rides, given in-app utilities like mapping and ETA. Furthermore, it knows where you’re going (think destination-based promotions). In the aggregate, it has lots of behavioral data for a richer mosaic of audience-targeting gold.
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.
This year’s holiday shopping season is not new (by definition), but there will be salient differences and revelations this season. The past year has seen lots of retail innovation as the industry looks to counteract the cautionary tales of late-adopting counterparts in the “retailpocolypse” graveyard.
It’s those innovations and integrations that will be exposed when put to the stress test of the holiday shopping blitz. After reading and writing about them in the pages of Street Fight all year, we’ll now get a look at how a lot of these implementations perform (good or bad) with greater shopping scale.
From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to back-to-school sales, retail holidays may be arbitrary, but they have become a core component of successful sales and marketing strategies. As a result of their success, these holidays are becoming expected, fixtures of the retail industry embedded in its collective psyche. Companies must innovate to keep them fresh. Brands need to monitor competitors to see what works and what doesn’t work and tweak their strategies appropriately.
Data on successful “holiday” campaigns reveal how to make the most of holidays, whether long-established or freshly innovated.