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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
To maintain the business of today’s consumers, consistency is key. Just under 70% of respondents said they’re less likely to return to a store after just one subpar experience. As for what earns a shopper’s approval, only 19% of consumers said they seek out food or entertainment from stores. More important are fundamental technical capabilities like mobile app integration and access to WiFi. Two thirds of shoppers even said retailers are too focused on experimental tech and should pay more attention to the building blocks of good retail strategy.
Though visual search challengers such as Snapchat and Pinterest could shine in niche use cases such as fashion items, Google will rule as the best all-around utility for visual search. It has the deepest tech stack, and the substance (knowledge graph) to be useful beyond just a flashy novelty for identifying things visually.
The name of the game now is to get users to adopt it. Google Lens won’t be a silver bullet and will shine in a few areas where Google is directing users, such as pets and flowers. But it will really shine in product search, which happens to be where monetization will eventually come into the picture.