Google Uses Foot Traffic Data To Inform Retailers During Holiday Season

What Happened
Google is opening up its vault of user data to help retailers during the holiday shopping season. Pulling aggregated, anonymized data from Google Maps, the Mountain View-based company is for the first time revealing foot traffic insights for various retailers to help them better reach consumers when they’re most in the mood for shopping. Google will also provide a more detailed view of offline measurement by giving advertisers the ability to break out store visits at a keyword or ad-group level, thus helping them understand which keywords or ad groups drive the most store visits.

What Retailers Need To Do
With the help of Google’s data, retailers and advertisers can optimize their store hours and staffing to best serve the holiday shopper crowds based on the ebbs and flows of foot traffic. The ability to break down store visits and attribute them to a specific keyword search can also help retailers get a better understanding of which products are driving the store visits, and adjust their shelf placements accordingly. All retailers aiming to make a sales push during the holiday season would be smart to tap into Google’s data to become better informed of the trends in holiday shopping this year.

Source: AdWeek

SXSW 2015: E-Commerce Is The New Publishing

With the total democratization of ecommerce, Rachel Youens of Wanelo believes online retailers should look to publishing for advice. When online media first appeared and proliferated, tools lowered the entry barrier to effectively zero. Blogs enabled content creation to be so easy that for awhile, it became almost impossible not to be a publisher.

The downside was that there were too many places to consume content. Blogs diffused across the Internet, and didn’t consolidate well. Social media changed that — instead of an XML or RSS feed, social feeds like Twitter enable a curated stream of media. This has led to some scaled success, like BuzzFeed, and some consolidation. Whatever the media revolution was, it is no longer that easy to become a publisher.

Youens thinks ecommerce is following a similar trajectory. Tools like Etsy and Shopify have enabled a revolution, allowing a massive proliferation of small online retailers. At the same time, it is difficult to scale such an industry. This is why platforms like Amazon, Pinterest and Polyvore — so-called shopping search engines — are gaining in popularity. Successful ecommerce businesses are creating different profiles on each site, much like publishers did with social platforms during the second phase of the media revolution.

The tipping point, Youens believes, has arrived. In order to stay ahead of the curve, ecommerce needs to adapt to become part of the new ecosystem — robust feeds, native platform integration, accessible messaging, as consolidation won’t be far behind.

Amazon Expands Same-Day Delivery to Six More Cities

After initially launching in L.A., Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle, Amazon is now expanding its same-day delivery program to six more cities, New York City included. For an additional charge of $5.99, Amazon Prime customers can opt to have their new purchases delivered to them before the end of day, provided the orders are made before noon. If it succeeds in the long-term, the digital retail giant is set to eliminate one of the few advantages physical retail stores still have over Amazon.

New App Utilizes AT&T’s Sponsored Data Program

Syntonic Wireless unveiled a new app that promises to take advantage of the “Sponsored Data” program of AT&T, which detracts the data you used on branded content from your monthly data plan, and lets app developers and brands pick up the tab instead. A demo of this “content store” app shows many features — from installing apps, to browsing online stores, and eventually streaming branded videos — with none of these eating into your data limit. This new development suggests a refreshing way of encouraging screen-shoppers and mobile-viewers by reducing the hefty cost of data on the consumers’ end. How well the mobile users would embrace that, however, remains to be seen.

Amazon Adds Photographic Product Search To iOS App

Amazon is raising the stakes of showrooming for retailers once again, folding its “Flow” technology, previously found in a standalone app released by its subsidiary, A9, into its main shopping app for iOS.  “Flow” is visual product search, allowing users to photograph an object and see details about it on Amazon, which is even simpler than the previous norm of barcode recognition.  Amazon’s competitive pricing is its main advantage in comparison to retailers, and by more effectively using other retailers as showrooms for the products it sells, it has the potential to further extend its dominance in more consumer categories.

Chirpify Makes Purchases With Hashtags

Chirpify, the startup that provides for buying and selling products via Tweets, announced a new type of hashtag that allows consumers to make purchases simply by clicking on it. Called an “action tag,” the company wants to turn hashtags like #buy or #donate into URLs that can be reprogrammed for the second screen audience to acquire products they see on TV. It works through both TV and digital ads with instructions like #buy #cocacola, which could be cross-posted to an individual’s Twitter. Chirpify would then process the order through Pay Pal. The startup is alrady working with big brands like Adidas and the Portland Trailblazers, so the idea is already implemented in the world, and is proving effective. 

Google Glass App Glashion Changes Shopping Behaviors

Google Glass and the AR movement at large have created enormous opportunities to change behaviors.  A new Glass app, Glashion, does just this, allowing users to purchase fashion items they see on the fly.  The app captures a photo of the product and uses the ShopStyle API to find similar items, which can then be purchased directly in the app.  The app can also direct the user to nearby stores carrying the item.  Founder Billy Mauro explains that Glashion’s goal is to demonstrate how Glass can bridge online and offline shopping behaviors, and should Glass take off, this kind of behavior could become increasingly common.

Amazon Announces Kindle Matchbook

Amazon’s new service will let Kindle users purchase discounted digital versions of print books they already purchased from Amazon. Not every title is available in the Matchbook service; nonetheless, Amazon claims that over 10,000 books will be available when the service launches in October. It remains unclear whether publishers will buy into the idea, but it speaks to an important consumer desire to unite the digital with the tangible – and this could be a very powerful way to encourage consumers to buy into the tablets, while simultaneously uniting print and digital book collections. 

Facebook Debuts Shared Photo Albums

Facebook announced shared photo albums, a new feature that lets multiple users upload images to the same album. The original owner of the album can add up to 50 contributors, who can each share up to 200 photos to an album. Album creators can choose a setting that allows contributors to invite others – or retain total control over an album. It’s easy to see how companies can invite large numbers of consumers to collaborate on crowd-sourced albums showcasing a particular product, or wrapping offers up into album-sharing functionality. It could prove to be a powerful marketing tool to galvanize visible support. 

Facebook Shuts Down Physical Gifts

The social network’s gifting service, Facebook Gifts, is officially pivoting away from physical gifts in the interest of providing entirely digital offerings. The service was initially introduced as a method of physically connecting people beyond the digital network, but of all users gifting on Facebook, only 20% chose physical gifts through partners like Magnolia Bakery, Dean & DeLuca, and Brookstone. The remaining users opted for digital gift cards through services like iTunes, which it plans to continue. For their plans to extend beyond the Internet, though, Facebook still offers the Facebook Card, which allows you to preload a single card with different amounts of money to spend at brick-and-mortar stores. Combined with its mobile payments feature, the social network still might have a compelling real-world payments strategy, even amidst this defeat.