Local Businesses’ Newest Competitive Edge: Distribution and Delivery Data

To continue delivering products and services to their local communities safely — no matter the fluctuating restrictions — businesses are offering order-ahead, curbside pickup, touchless payments, and sophisticated delivery options, whether through their own operations or through third-party providers such as GrubHub and DoorDash. These flexible distribution options not only help drive continued momentum, they also create a myriad of new valuable customer data points that must be captured and incorporated into rapidly evolving customer engagement strategies.

KickCOVID.us Crowdsources Business Safety Data

KickCOVID.us is one part business directory, one part safety monitor. The hyperlocal mobile website allows consumers to read and rate the relative safety of businesses based on the precautions they are taking around Covid-19.

Look up Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, for example, and you’ll see that social distancing is being enforced and some masks are being worn, but no temperature checks are taking place. At Matchbox, a restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia, most people are wearing masks and no-contact delivery is currently available.

Meliá Hotels Uses Local Influencers to Drive Covid-19 Awareness

Brochures and signage are easy to overlook, but social media influencers are harder to miss. As they work to bring back guests during the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of hotel chains are relying on partnerships with social media influencers to educate guests on the new safety protocols they’ve put in place.

Ditch the Department Store: How DTC Brands Take Back Control

We are anticipating monumental online sales volume for brands with the approaching holiday season. To capitalize on this transition to online shopping, DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands must take back control of their sales channels. DTC brands can’t control whether big-box retailers open their storefronts or the number of consumers they allow inside. They also can’t manage the customer experience with the brand, especially given the many variables Covid-19 has thrown at brick-and-mortar retail.

The one thing brands can control is their online sales channel.

Location Weekly: Burger King and Wawa Innovate for Covid Era

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Wawa launching drive-through-only convenience stores, Waze launching contactless gas payments at Shell and Exxon Mobil, Burger King printing customer orders on face masks, and Heineken launching its “Star of the Summer” campaign at Tesco UK.

How Covid-19 Is Speeding Up OOH Advertising’s Digital Transformation

Some OOH media providers have already moved beyond the traditional real estate-based approach in which advertisers focus on a specific region or even choose specific billboard locations. Instead, they are using data and technology to target specific audiences and measure the impact of their campaigns. For the laggards, the pandemic is proving a catalyst for overdue change. Let’s consider why OOH’s audience-based future is closer than ever as well as what is next for the industry’s evolution. 

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.

Political Advertisers’ Impact on Brands

A recent report from eMarketer found that political ad spend will reach $6.89 billion in the 2019/2020 election period. This cycle’s spending is 63.3% higher than spend in the 2015/2016 season, showcasing a significant uptick in competition for brand marketers. That said, political advertisers are becoming savvier, expanding their breadth and scale into additional channels and further encroaching on brands’ digital bread and butter.

Here are a few ways political ad spend will impact brand marketers’ approach and how they can adjust their strategies so they don’t lose momentum in the coming months.

More Americans Are Using Delivery. The Change Is Here to Stay

Delivery has perhaps been the industry most clearly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. When physically going to brick-and-mortar stores became a life-or-death exercise, delivery, which had already grown under the rise of e-commerce, became an even more essential part of how local commerce functions.

Khaled Naim, co-founder and CEO of delivery software company Onfleet, touched on how delivery has changed in the past months, how long those changes will persist, and what technologies are fueling the widespread increase in deliveries.

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.

Consumer Concerns Shift from Covid-19 to Economic Uncertainty

Local businesses have been forced out of their comfort zone this summer as the economic impact of Covid-19 lingers and uncertainty persists into the final weeks of summer. With so many questions unanswered, businesses are searching for resources to help guide their decisions in marketing and general operations.

A number of martech firms are looking to fill the information void by launching their own Covid-19 resource centers and consumer data projects. The location-powered advertising and analytics firm Blis launched its own consumer sentiment tracker, with data from consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Australia.

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.

Google My Business Search and Engagement Trends Define the Next Normal

With the addition of call data from DialogTech, we’ve been able to add an important new layer of insight to our examination of consumer sentiment in 2020. 

The current report also adds two full months of new Google My Business data to our ongoing study. As you’ll see, the picture painted by the new data is one where consumers are continuing to limit their shopping activities in comparison with pre-pandemic trends, but have increased store visits and contacts significantly throughout the summer, likely with a focus on an expanded set of essential needs mixed with optimism about a return to normal.

Third-Party Data May Help Brands Fill Gaps Opened by Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic altered fundamental daily behaviors in most consumers’ lives almost overnight. For some, it had even more drastic effects for better and worse, shifting jobs and spending habits as well as where people go and how they spend their time.

For businesses, the drastic changes of 2020 mean existing data may be unreliable. Ruby Brenden, head of data products at data management platform Lotame, described the stakes of the current situation to Street Fight and gestured toward opportunities to meet the moment.

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.

Consumers’ Number-One Holiday Shopping Incentive

Don’t think about the price tag. Think about how you’re going to deliver the merchandise.

That is what is on consumers’ minds as they think about upcoming holiday shopping, according to a survey of 17,000 US consumers by shopping rewards app company Shopkick. Last year, consumers’ number-one incentive was low prices. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 54% said their number-one priority is free shipping.

How the E-Commerce Wave Is Helping SMBs Increase Revenue

For many of the small businesses that have stayed afloat so far, e-commerce has become the new focus. A quarter of brick-and-mortar retail businesses surveyed in June said they’ve already added an e-commerce channel to their operations this year. Retail SMBs either want a piece of the growing pie that is e-commerce sales in 2020, or they’ve realized they won’t survive without an online sales component.

Whatever the motivation, the uptick in e-commerce sales has set the stage for SMBs to start boosting their revenue. And to complement the current market conditions, the rise of no-code tools is making online retail success more accessible than ever to SMBs. These solutions are proving to be the surfboard that helps small businesses successfully ride that e-commerce wave.

Consumer Sentiment Is Shifting Quickly. Here’s How Businesses Are Keeping Up

The same mobile chat-based technologies that brands like Jagermeister and Snapchat have used to access focus groups on demand are now being used to help small to mid-size businesses access the same research capabilities. Using mobile chat-based applications, SMBs can generate authentic consumer insights in real-time, which makes it easier to foster community engagement during a time when businesses are struggling to reach their customers.

Tracing, Tracking, and Trust: Why Tech Is on the Sidelines in Contact Tracing

Mainly, multiple instances of data breaches committed by governments, corporations, platforms, and even data warehouses have eroded the trust citizens have when forking over sensitive and personal information. The resistance only increases as a result of Americans’ strong resistance to being told what to do, which manifested in widespread protests against mandatory quarantine restrictions in several states.    

How can this resistance be overcome? Companies and government organizations asking for personal information must build trust from the very beginning. High rates of consent require clear information to users about exactly what data citizens will share and how this data will be used and protected.

How Location Intelligence Benefits Businesses During Covid-19

The pandemic has changed the way businesses function, and while a lot of purchasing has moved online, many physical locations remain. Location intelligence is one factor that can help businesses perform better. Its uses include supply and inventory updates, supply-chain improvements, sales and marketing optimization, and monitoring for increased safety.