These Retailers Are Using Mapping Tech to Change the Shopping Experience

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.

Google Maps: The Under-Appreciated Discovery Channel

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).

What Comes Next for Indoor Navigation? Enterprise Success, SMB Struggles

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?

LBMA Vidcast: NYY Turn to Postmates, Uncle Ben’s Goes Google Lens

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: New York Yankees using Postmates, Uncle Ben’s goes Google Lens with Innit, Toy R’ Us back with Candytopia, Heineken teams with Grab in SE Asia, Walgreens delivers with Wing drones, Starbucks  Japan let’s you pay with a pen.

5 Predictions for Mobile Technology After the Mass Adoption of 5G

The new 5G standard for phones is just starting to make a splash. There’s a lot to do in the development department and lots of equipment installations necessary before everyone can enjoy 5G hyper speeds.

While there are some predictions on the transition from the current 4G LTE dominance to 5G, nobody really knows how long it will take. But what happens once it does and 5G is the new standard? 

Here are five most likely to happen scenarios that await us in the near future.

The Privacy Movement Is Not (Just) About Privacy

Privacy has been slipping away from us since before then-CEO of Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy said we had none of it in January 1999. Americans still do not understand how companies use their data. While that is a transparency issue incumbent upon businesses to fix — and legislation will to some degree remedy it — I think it more likely than not that Americans will continue to hand over their data to Amazon for two-day delivery and Google for the sleekness of search. What we typically conceive of as privacy itself — concern about how much of our information companies possess — is not the factor that will turn the tides on company practices and legal standards. 

Strategy for Bolstering Brand Safety Online Combines AI, Human Linguists

Despite promises that they would do better, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and others are still struggling with the issue. Brands don’t want their ads appearing alongside extremist content and hate speech, but flagging every piece of content that could be considered inappropriate is not an easy task.

The challenge has opened the door for a new industry of “authenticators,” which use technology to help brands avoid inappropriate content online. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, these technology providers are usually able to evaluate the quality of an ad impression in real-time and help their brand clients avoid anything that could be considered inappropriate. Or at least, that’s what the goal is.

Heard on the Street, Episode 35: The Disruption Mindset, With Charlene Li

Disruption is one of the only constants in the tech and media worlds. So, the question becomes how to successfully disrupt (or survive others’ disruption). These are topics that author, analyst, and thought leader Charlene Li has synthesized in her latest book The Disruption Mindset.

To commemorate the book release this week, we recently had Li join us as a special guest on Street Fight’s podcast Heard on the Street. As we discussed on the show, a common success factor for companies causing or facing disruption is to devise a strategic path that leads them to their future customer.

Pared Expands to DC, Connecting Gig Economy Workers with Restaurants

Pared, the platform matching restaurant and hospitality workers with businesses in need of staff to cover shifts, is expanding to DC. Pared is already live in New York and San Francisco, and it plans to expand to Philadelphia, Boston, and other locations in 2020.

 The San Francisco-headquartered startup claims its service offers a prime deal for workers and businesses alike. It says it offers hospitality and food service workers higher wages and flexibility while offering businesses a ready workforce amid perennially high turnover in the industry.

How Engaging Online Games Can Shape Your Rewards Program

My experience managing product for both the “Farmville” and “Words With Friends” franchises at Zynga afforded me critical insight into the lessons smartphone games offer marketers looking to engage with and create loyalty among all types of people. 

Today, there’s a smartphone game for everyone. Regardless of topic, most games tend to follow a few basic principles that are critical to keeping people entertained, attracting attentionm and incentivizing players to return. Using these same principles, marketers can create campaigns that are more engaging, effective, and enjoyable for the consumer. 

Google Revises Policy Asking Users for Permission to Listen to Their Assistant Recordings

The fact that this was an open practice that at least some consumers simply did not understand they were either opting into or automatically participating in points to calls for greater transparency and regulation. Google says it “fell short” of its “high standards” on the issue, but legislation like Europe’s GDPR, CCPA, and legislation in some 10 other US states indicates those standards may be imposed on tech companies by government agencies going forward.

Channels Are the New Citations

Enter Phase Three. As my column’s title suggests, I would argue that the old concept of citation building has largely lost its relevance, and that thinking of the local network as a system of channels — parallel, somewhat independent sources of consumer traffic — is a more appropriate paradigm for where we are now. 

In all, there are approximately 10 independent sites and site categories that together make up the primary channels where any business should be well represented in order to be competitive.

What Facebook’s Second Wave of Data Privacy Tools Means for Advertisers

Facebook finally rolled out the ‘Clear History’ feature, now known as the ‘Off-Facebook Activity Tool.’ This tool will show users a summary of the apps and websites that have shared their user data with Facebook and gives users the opportunity to control what information, if any, is shared with these websites. According to Facebook, the company “won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger.”

As advertisers, it’s important for us to understand how to prepare for the impact and to keep these updates top of mind as we move further into the second half of the year. 

LBMA Vidcast: Factual Returns to Europe; Gimbal Releases Trends

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Factual returns to Europe post-GDPR, WeChat releases new facial rec. payments, Curiosity Lab teams with Georgia Tech, Gimbal releases Trends, iOS 13 changes location game, McDonald’s acquires Apprente. Special Guest: Kipp Jones, Chief Technology Evangelist, Skyhook.

5 Privacy-Focused Mapping Solutions

Mainstream navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze seem to dominate the marketplace, but consumers who are interested in maintaining as much online privacy as possible have options to choose from, too.

Innovative mapping and navigation companies are launching new platforms with user privacy in mind. Framing themselves as the “private” alternative to general use navigation apps, these platforms collect minimal personal data from users and often work without tracking user locations.

Here are five examples of privacy-focused mapping platforms.

California’s Gig Economy Bill Becomes Law

The landmark California gig economy bill that may force companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash that employ thousands of drivers as independent contractors to hire those people as employees became law today. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill.

If the bill does ultimately affect Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other companies in the so-called gig economy thriving on venture capital for the last decade, it will severely disrupt their business models, which rely on cheap labor. 

Heard on the Street, Episode 34: ‘Drive-to-Store’ Marketing, with Teemo

Location intelligence has become an important but crowded sub-sector of local media and commerce. When it comes to value for retail brands, marketing tactics are all about driving (and measuring) foot traffic. This is where Paris-based location marketing and analytics company Teemo continues to innovate.

As we discussed with CEO Benoit Grouchko on the latest episode of Heard on the Street, the company works with multi-location brands like JoAnn Stores to boost return on ad spend by growing physical foot traffic.

Constant Contact Expands Beyond Email, Adds Website Builder for SMBs

Constant Contact, known for its email marketing platform, is expanding to offer an AI-driven website builder as well as tools for branding, productivity, and e-commerce. It’s the first major expansion for Constant Contact since its acquisition by Endurance International Group.

The company’s new website builder is specifically designed for SMB owners and operators without the time or expertise typically required to build an effective site from scratch. Constant Contact claims sites can be created in minutes.

online privacy

Is Consent Enough to Make Audio Recordings Safe for Human Processing?

Recently, a number of high-profile tech firms have been uncovered permitting human employees to access private conversations consumers believed were only processed by AI.

Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa have all been placed in the limelight, and now Facebook has also come under fire for letting human employees access sensitive personal conversations for transcription purposes.

In the case of AI assistants, private conversations are primarily harvested from consumers who own and use their devices directly. However, there is an emerging body of evidence that these technologies are also harvesting secondary persons’ conversations — completely unknown to those individuals.

Shift in Gift-Giving Culture Speaks to Changes in Digital Commerce

At the heart of the shift in gift-giving culture is the rise of online shopping. While previous generations would take to their local shops or markets to find the perfect gifts, today the process is infinitely simpler thanks to online retail giants like Amazon. At the click of a button, Internet users can purchase a present to be sent directly to their (or, even better, the recipient’s) door. Indeed, this is how the majority of people appear to be approaching gift giving today; approximately three quarters of consumers in the UK say they now buy more than half of their Christmas presents online.