The Power and Shifting Meaning of Local

Urban, suburban, and rural residents have different shopping habits in their “local” areas. Many marketers are investing in mobile location-based ads — BIA/Kelsey predicts US spending will top $26 billion this year — yet as a retailer your goal isn’t just to reach consumers but to connect with them by acknowledging their different perspectives.

Talking to your customers requires a customized strategy that prioritizes location and takes their everyday lives into consideration. Harnessing the power of local starts with knowledge: where your customers live, what they want, and how to deliver it on behalf of your brand.

November Focus: The Holiday Blitz is Here

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.

Now More than Ever, Local Strategy Differs by Vertical

The putative benefits of competing in vertically oriented channels come at a greater cost than was the case when GMB provided a unitary platform for all industries. Simply put, Google is serving the specialized needs of price-conscious travelers or those who want greater assurances when hiring a service professional, and in so doing, the company is creating additional channels to generate revenue through ads. More and more businesses will have to get used to spending their way toward greater exposure to their desired audiences — which is only odd in light of the fact that so much of local marketing has historically been organic in nature.

Why Your Location-Based Ad Campaign Isn’t Working (And How to Make It Better)

Many low-accuracy solutions produce horizontal location data only – location in multi-story buildings is not even a possibility. The result is that advertisers are designing campaigns with the equivalent of one hand tied behind their back, generating two-dimensional campaigns for a three-dimensional world.

What advertisers really need is the ability to reach consumers wherever they are, including the floor level in a multi-story mall, and entice them to enter the store. To achieve this, high-accuracy 3D location is needed. Fortunately, new capabilities are in place to help retailers design more effective campaigns, which will drive better results and raise consumers’ expectations to new heights (pun intended!). 

Three Ways Indoor Maps Do More for Complex Retail Buildings

Once a venue’s maps have been digitized for wayfinding purposes, there are many ways to drive additional ROI from that same set of indoor maps. When location technologies are designed with interoperability in mind, it becomes possible to blend different technologies together to create smart solutions that provide value not only to business operations but also to consumers. By integrating digitized, layer-based indoor maps with other solutions such as the indoor equivalent of GPS, known as Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), asset tracking and business intelligence, great things become possible. 

Here is a shortlist of the top use cases that malls can implement to generate further ROI from their indoor mapping investments.

Retail as a Service: Amazon Tips its Hand

Amazon has a knack for moving into new vertical segments and then applying its logistical mastery and economies of scale to carve out margins and undercut incumbents. Then, it doubles down by scaling things up to its signature high-volume/low-margin approach. As Jeff Bezos ruthlessly admits, “Your margin is my opportunity.”

The latest place for this to unfold is retail. No, we’re not talking about Whole Foods, though that’s part it (more on that in a bit). We’re talking about Amazon’s transformation of the in-store experience — upending and streamlining logistics just like it’s done in shipping and cloud computing.

Here are some predictions for how Amazon’s disruption of retail via licensing of its Go technology will upend the industry.

Technology Planning: What Retailers Should Do Now to Prep for the Holiday Rush

Retailers will need to think differently when it comes to technology planning. With the holiday season looming, now is the best moment to develop a long-term technology strategy geared toward capturing more holiday sales in addition to driving revenue growth all year long.

Understanding a few key areas can help get the planning process started. This includes: exceeding consumers’ holiday shopping expectations, making holiday shopping more convenient, and enabling a holistic holiday shopping journey. 

Physical Stores May Resemble Our Newsfeeds in the Near Future

We’re currently living in a time of unprecedented change in the marketing and advertising industries. One of the most interesting emerging trends is the incorporation of new advertising opportunities within physical stores, in ways that will remind you of your social media newsfeeds.

If you’re a member of Generation X, or even an older Millennial, you probably remember walking through the aisles in grocery stores and grabbing coupons out of plastic dispensers. What we will see occurring in the future is the 21st Century’s version of the coupon machine — the personalized newsfeed-ification of physical stores.

Retail is Not Dead, But Small Businesses Need Help

Card-Linked Offer (CLO) technology is leveling the playing field for all merchants. If you haven’t heard of CLOs, you’re not alone. According to the Cardlinx Association, CLO marketing is the fastest growing segment of digital marketing, with a majority of  large companies expecting to double their CLO budgets from last year, and the number of consumer transactions doubling from last year. Despite this rapid growth, most of the 25 million small businesses in the US have never heard of CLO marketing or know that it is available to them.

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?

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.

Mobile Far Superior to Desktop for DTC Advertising

DTCs are notoriously effective in courting young shoppers, including millennials and emerging Gen-Z consumers. This is likely because younger shoppers, growing up in the digital age and native to its conventions, gravitate toward convenience and are less tied to the longstanding preferences that legacy brands carefully crafted through decades of advertising. Mobile, which is tied to identity and location and offers quick digital purchasing options, is the platform where these trends are most exaggerated.

Insight-Driven Retail: The 3 Must-Knows for Retailers

Each day, retail pricing is becoming more and more scientific with retailers leveraging precise analyses of rich, complex datasets to identify the correct prices for goods, services, and other value drivers such as branding. However, while adopting such a forward-thinking, analytic pricing strategy can have significant business impact, there are several areas that retailers need to keep top of mind when it comes to collecting data and preparing it for analysis. 

Here are three of those key areas.

The Retail Fight Against Showrooming

If showrooming didn’t make brick-and-mortar retail obsolete, it’s definitely disrupting it for the better. The question is what brands need to do to survive and thrive through this transition. The answer lies in omnichannel marketing and sales, which is a many-pieced puzzle. Let’s explore what that means and why showrooming took off in the first place.

What Retail Has Learned About AR Since Pokémon Go

Retailers are only beginning to realize the potential of AR. As a new generation of shoppers steeped in AR grows up, their expectations will exceed the novelty acts the industry has put out to date. AR features won’t just be a one-off promo or tied to a game release; they will become the basis of the in-store customer experience, one that looks nothing like the retail of today. 

Letter From the Editor: Local is Everything

Last month, for example, we zeroed in on the theme of retail transformation.

This month, we extend that discussion with a focus on the connected car. As companies like Tesla continue to innovate the digital experiences in our cars, they’re becoming the ultimate “mobile device.” This will have implications for local media companies and brands that have a local presence.

Meanwhile, last week we closed the application period for the Innovator Awards. The next step is to work with our panel of judges to choose the winners. The awards will be a central part of Street Fight’s plan to continue being an authority on innovation and transformation in the location-based media and advertising worlds.

6 Companies Reimagining Last-Mile Delivery

There’s a renewed push in Silicon Valley to tackle last-mile delivery. The use of autonomous vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence is what more and more vendors are pushing for. Last-mile delivery is the most expensive part of shipping, and increasing fees mean prices are only going higher. The company that can get goods from a transportation hub to the customer’s doorstep in the shortest amount of time will win the retail game, and technology firms are hoping that their innovative solutions will be the answer that retailers are looking for.

Here are six examples of companies that are working to innovate in the last-mile delivery space.

Offline Retailers See Huge Boost From Prime Day’s Online Sales

Amazon wasn’t the only retailer to see high purchase intent during its two-day event. Competing retailers saw similar successes piggybacking on Amazon’s newest shopping holiday with their own discounts and limited-time deals. This year’s Prime Day event drove a 14% spike in U.S. traffic on its first day, compared to baseline traffic from the month of June.

According to data collected by Constructor.io, an AI-first SaaS provider for ecommerce sites, among the non-Amazon companies having sales during Prime Day, search volume increased an average of more than 500%.

7 Location Analytics Firms for Malls and Shopping Centers

If you want to see what retail innovation looks like first-hand, walk into a shopping mall. Faced with the option to transform or die, shopping mall operators across the country are choosing to fight back against the shifting tides in retail.

Here are seven tech firms that malls, and other retail giants, are relying on to collect and study location data gleaned from shoppers’ mobile devices.

Retailers Are Using AI for Onboarding, Associate Retention

The retail landscape is going through an evolution, with mom-and-pop stores on Main Street being replaced by e-commerce outlets that rely on sophisticated algorithms to manage virtually every aspect of business operations.

While most headlines about the transformation of retail focus on the consumer-side of the equation, there’s even more change going on behind the scenes. Competition between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar is forcing innovation in the way retailers approach the challenges that come with onboarding and retaining in-store associates.