October Focus: Is Local Commerce Vertically Challenged?

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.

Uber Pledges to Fight California Contractor Bill

Uber and Lyft are already losing billions of dollars, and long-term concerns about whether they will ever hit profitability have endured, making for relatively weak runs on the public market. If the companies cannot come close to profitability with cheap labor forces without benefits, having to treat drivers as employees could pose an existential threat. At the very least, it may require Uber and Lyft to slow down expansion and rein in their ambitions, suggesting that the heyday (or hallucinatory days) of Web 2.0 could be coming to a close.

5 Business Models for On-Demand Delivery

In the on-demand food delivery vertical alone, revenue is expected to reach $94 billion this year. Other verticals, like beauty, parking, health, shipping, and marijuana, are seeing significant gains, as well. Although the space is maturing, investors are still seeing great growth opportunities. Any number of on-demand delivery startups has the potential to take over the space if it continues to grow as its current pace.

To understand where that growth might occur, we need to take a step back and examine which business models are proving most successful in the on-demand delivery space and how startups are implementing those business models for financial gain.

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.

7 Delivery Trends You Should Know in 2019

Greater customer expectations and technological advancements are driving big changes in delivery. What’s more, the delivery experience has emerged as a differentiating factor for customers when choosing one retailer over another. eCommerce retailers that operate solely online and omnichannel retailers that offer a physical and digital presence are both beginning to expand their delivery options to meet customer demand. Here are seven trends that will define retail delivery during 2019.

DoorDash Will Put an End to Old-School Delivery—And Smaller Rivals

What does the big money for DoorDash mean for the crowded on-demand delivery space? The market is growing as a whole, but there isn’t all that much growth share to go around. DoorDash CEO and founder Tony Xu has said as much.  “If you look at where the U.S. is, there’s two players gaining share. It’s DoorDash and Uber. And DoorDash is growing 65% faster,” Xu said in a conversation with Recode editor-at-large and co-founder Kara Swisher earlier this year.

In On-Demand Economy, Brand Partnerships Could Mean Big Paydays

Partnerships between on-demand technology providers and global restaurant brands are generating big bucks and creating buzz about what’s possible for the ever-evolving on-demand delivery industry. Tech companies allow retailers and QSRs to keep up with the latest standards for convenience, and partnering with a brand name like Starbucks or McDonald’s can expand the audience of potential users for a growing on-demand startup.

Amazon Plans to Set New Standard for On-Demand by Expanding 2-Hour Delivery

Amazon is planning a substantial expansion of its Whole Foods grocery stores, a move that will aim to put much of the nation’s deep-pocketed customers in range of its two-hour delivery service, Prime Now. Under the proposed changes, reported in the Wall Street Journal, Prime Now would become available from all Whole Foods stores.

Starbucks Partners with Uber to Launch On-Demand Delivery at 2,000 Locations

Starbucks announced on Friday that it’s partnering with Uber to launch on-demand delivery at 2,000 locations. The partnership is a sign of the “near me” local search era for retail, one in which proximity and convenience have become paramount, outweighing even loyalty.

How Closetbox Is Using Location Tech to Disrupt the Self-Storage Industry

The company uses excess capacity in the existing logistics network to pick up and deliver storage in real-time. When consumers order movers via Closetbox’s mobile app, the company finds the nearest moving trucks with available space, and customers’ items get picked up and stored at private storage warehouses right away.

5 Ways Brick-and-Mortar Merchants Can Utilize On-Demand Services

Businesses that sell physical goods are discovering that they can cut costs and increase services for their customers by forming partnerships with on-demand apps rather than competing on their own. Here are five examples of ways that brick-and-mortar businesses can start utilizing on-demand services.

7 Startups Vying to Become the Uber of Pot

So-called “Uber for pot” startups are in high demand, not just among consumers but investors, as well. Marijuana-focused private equity firms and VC firms are diving in headfirst, paving the way for growth in the industry. Here are seven examples of on-demand cannabis vendors serving the market right now.

How to Foster Culture at Early Startups? Stylu Founder Says Just ‘Be Yourself’

“Startup culture is very unique,” says Stylu’s CEO Justin Colombo. “There’s no such thing as rules. It’s good to have structure, but we’re very open-minded. We’re just moving forward naturally according to our culture and our style.”

Yext Integrates With Uber as Local On-Demand Becomes More Ubiquitous

With the new integration, clients of Yext’s Location Cloud for listings and local site management can let their customers book an Uber ride to their store from a local website, app, or email campaign via a “Ride with Uber” button. Once the customer catches a ride, the business can show an offer or other information to the rider.

On-Demand Services and Apps Becoming Inevitable Tools for Reaching Customers

Plenty of companies claim to be the “Uber of” their respective markets, but there is more to making it in this scene than just getting goods to customers fast. And not every company gets it right immediately; there is a steep learning curve for handling the logistics behind on-demand services.

Professional Dog Walker Exercising Dogs In Park

6 On-Demand Platforms for Pet Care

Pet care is a $62.75 billion industry, and premium services, like full-service pet hotels and in-home dog sitting, represent one of the largest areas for growth. Here are six examples of on-demand pet care startups catering to young, busy professionals and the animals they love.

Case Study: Coffeehouse Chain Adds Convenience With On-Demand Delivery

In addition to increasing sales with added take-out and mobile ordering options, supervisor William Lee is also hoping that on-demand delivery will help to organically bolster Tom N Toms’s presence on social media and mobile channels.

10 Reasons That On-Demand Services Fail

Hundreds of startups have flooded the market with “Uber for X” models in the past few years, but the landscape in 2016 is filled with just as many failures as successes. We asked some of those that have found success to map out the potential pitfalls that they and other have encountered along the way.

#SFSW16 VIDEO: How On-Demand Is Changing the Way Brick-and-Mortar Businesses Compete With Ecommerce

While ecommerce companies have doubled down on taking their chunks out of the local pie, some on-demand services are trying to find ways to use their immediacy to help brick-and-mortar businesses fight back. At Street Fight Summit West earlier this month, a panel looked at this tension between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar.

5 On-Demand Platforms for Lawn Care

Hyperlocal technology providers believe they can be the conduit to connect homeowners with landscaping professionals, and they’re using the same on-demand model as startups like Uber, Handy, and Instacart to make it happen. Here are five examples.