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.

Retailers Leverage Prime Day to Boost Offline Sales

Unlike other shopping “holidays,” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day is specific to a single retailer. But as the event grows, other retailers—both online and offline—are finding ways to leverage the anticipation that consumers are feeling.

Last year, 63% of Prime Day shoppers said they visited competing websites to compare prices. This is a major opportunity for online retailers to capitalize on the spike in traffic and provide consumers with personalized and targeted offerings and exclusive deals.

Is Amazon Killing the Holiday Shopping Season?

Long lines of shoppers snaking around retail stores used to be commonplace on the morning after Thanksgiving. So was the tradition of picking up a print newspaper for an early look at the Black Friday ads. But with retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, Alibaba, and Flipkart creating their own shopping holidays, the frenzy around Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been tamped down. Is this a sign of the times or just a blip in retail’s evolution?

To find the answer, the mobile app marketing firm Liftoff and the mobile measurement company Adjust teamed up and took a deep dive into the consumer activity on shopping apps throughout the calendar year. In a new report, the firms found that with excuses to shop year round, traditional shopping holidays, like Black Friday and the New Year period, are waning in significance. These events are gradually becoming less vital for online and offline retailers, even if they remain important moments.

What’s a Cloud Kitchen? Amazon’s Next Move to Revolutionize a Major Shopping Sector

Jeff Bezos likes to say, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Like with Whole Foods and grocery, Amazon moves into new verticals and applies its logistics-first approach to carve out margins, then undercut competitors. It is even getting into shipping, in a move to own its delivery infrastructure.

The next local conquest could be restaurants. For Amazon, it’s not just about serving food, but doing so in a way that aligns with its forte: delivering things to your home. The biggest clues and synergies lie in its established delivery and logistics playbook as well as its recent $575 million investment in Deliveroo.

Enter the cloud kitchen.

Report: DTC Brands Outperform Traditional Retail, Win Over Gen-Z

As the millennial generation settles down and moves into its 30s, retailers are looking at a new group of consumers as the most coveted demographic. Generation Z—born between 1994 and 2002—is forming its own identity and seeking out different shopping experiences than its older counterparts.

A new report, released by the location intelligence platform Ubimo, finds that Generation Z shows a surprising preference for physical stores, although members of this group aren’t interested in shopping so much as experiencing new products in-store.

Cutting-Edge Cannabis Trends in an Industry That Just Keeps Growing

I make it a priority to stay on top of the ever-changing trends of the cannabis industry. A plant that is no longer being grown roadside and smoked out of fruit bongs (unless you’re into that), the 2019 version of cannabis can seem a little intimidating to the average (Mary) Jane. Below are the top trends that I’ve noticed are gaining popularity with cannabis users.

This Largely Brick-and-Mortar Industry Is Resisting Digital Disruption

Despite Amazon’s high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, grocery is the bastion of brick-and-mortar shopping proving unusually resistant to a takeover by digital channels. At least, that is the vision of consumers, only 15% of whom say they are excited about the technical “revolution” in grocery, according to a new report on the future of retail by Walker Sands.

July Focus: Retail Transformation in the Amazon Age

Street Fight is rolling into July with the monthly theme Disrupting Retail: a look at how retail continues to transform, driven by competition from Amazon and key trends like “retail-as-a-service.”

But why is this important to Street Fight (and to you)? As we continue to evolve the definition of “local,” one key component of its market opportunity is offline brick-and-mortar shopping. After all, about 90% of all U.S. retail spending, to the tune of about $3.7 trillion, is completed offline in physical stores. And that’s usually in proximity to one’s home (thus, local).

Consumers Welcome Some Automated Business Messaging, But Humans Must Tag Along to Help

More than half of consumers are frustrated by customer-service situations in which they can only interact with automated agents, and nearly one in five even reporting feeling angry in those situations. That’s per a new survey of U.S. consumers conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by call tracking and analytics firm Invoca.

The Retailpocalypse Doesn’t Have to Be Scary for Local Businesses

Headlines about retail closures suggest it’s Amazon’s world and we’re all just living in it, but there’s more to the story. For local businesses, in particular, there’s ample reason to be optimistic that the retail apocalypse doesn’t have to spell end times. In fact, exactly the opposite could be true. Let’s walk through a few of the reasons for optimism. 

Alexa, Podcasts, and the Role of Voice in Today’s Marketing

The increasing popularity of smart speakers, digital assistants, and podcasts means we need to begin thinking differently about voice and marketing. That includes tailoring online content to users and how they engage with it, making voice functionality a part of the sales funnel, and creating podcasts or partnering with influencers to reach audiences in a new way. With the right approach, a creative brand could get a considerable head start in this new but quickly developing marketing landscape.

Fostering Brand-Customer Relationships in the Age of Social Checkout and Chatbots

Currently, 74% of consumers visit the social media pages of brands to inspire future purchases. And as evidenced by the popularity of Instagram Checkout, sales tools like Apple Business Chat, and new ad products like Google‘s Shoppable Ads, the industry is rapidly moving towards commerce that removes the friction between inspiration and an actual purchase.

But when the path to purchase is shortened, so is the opportunity for brand and customer to interact, which is probably what attracted your customers in the first place. Especially in the world of social media, brand persona is an enduring element that differentiates your brand and creates fans out of customers.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice brand voice for a social commerce strategy. In fact, with the right tools, you can enhance it.

AR Impacts Local Commerce, Disrupting Home Services and Retail

AR is emerging at a time when the physical retail world is undergoing significant transformation. Things like Amazon Go stores and the counteractive “retail as a service” movement have raised awareness and hunger for retail evolution. So AR’s retail shopping use cases fall on fertile soil.

But retail is just one way that AR intersects with local commerce. AR comes into play in another key local commerce category: home services. Innovators like Streem are bringing remote assistance to traditional service calls (think: busted pipe).

Letter From the Editor: How Will 2019 Be Remembered?

Perhaps the topic we’ll remember most from this year is the rising attention to and hand wringing over privacy. In the media and advertising worlds, especially subsectors that pertain to location data, executives and consumers are feeling the broader privacy discussion acutely. We just passed the one-year mark for GDPR.

Omnichannel or Multichannel? Which One And Why

Omnichannel creates a smarter shopping experience that benefits both consumers and brands. Data is shared across all channels, enabling stronger engagement and moving the consumer toward a purchase. For the customer, it creates an easier shopping experience and a stronger brand connection.