Are Thanksgiving Blue Laws Good (Or Bad) For Retailers?

Leaving aside the debate over whether or not it’s unkind for retailers to make people work on a day like Thanksgiving, it’s worth noting the potential impact on business at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season.

In a comparison of states that impose “Blue Laws” preventing sales on Thanksgiving Day versus ones that leave that decision up to store owners, Foursquare data indicates that retailers in the former category appeared to be placed at a disadvantage. (It’s worth noting that New York was excluded from Foursquare’s look at 2016 retail data and that most of the Blue Laws states were in New England, which tends to have harsher weather at this time of year than other parts of the country.)

“While the three Thanksgiving Blue Law states [Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts] saw an average foot traffic lift of 23 percent over the Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday through Sunday) in 2016 compared to a baseline weekend — the rest of the Northeast (Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Jersey) with no legal restrictions saw a greater average foot traffic lift of 35 percent the same year,” Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck said in a blog post. “This showed us that retail performance over the full weekend was significantly higher in states that allow shopping on Thanksgiving Day.”

Pent-Up Demand, Missed Opportunity

Foursquare’s data, which looked at explicit check-ins (from its Swarm app) and passive visits (from both its Flagship discovery app and Swarm over Thanksgiving weekend 2016) indicated that “shopping between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. accounts for only 3 percent of the total US foot traffic to the top 500 retailers on Black Friday.”

But in a sign of the pent-up demand for deals, the store traffic in those same middle-of-the-night hours reached as high as 14 percent in Maine, followed by 9 percent lift in visits in Massachusetts, and 5 percent in Maine.

“We found another, even stronger indicator that these shoppers are highly motivated; in New Hampshire, 29 percent of retail traffic on Thanksgiving Day is made up by visitors from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine (a significantly higher proportion than an average Thursday),” Glueck said.

But pent-up demand is easily satisfied, as New Hampshire’s Blue Law State neighbors can attest: 60 percent of these same visitors did not make Black Friday shopping visits the following day back in their home state retail stores.

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Snapchat Context Cards Open To Advertisers, Starting With Lionsgate’s Wonder

Marketers will now be able to use Snapchat’s place-based information Context Cards to connect image sharing platform’s to a Lens or Filter ad.

Snapchat’s Context Cards debuted last month. The feature helps Snapchat users learn location-related details about what they’re looking at within the app. The information is sourced from third–party app partners such as Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Goop, and represents the clearest way for brands that manage their online listings to get in front of the image sharing platform’s 173 million daily users.

Context Cards also offer connections to ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, as well as reservation platforms Open Table, Resy, and Bookatable to further make the online/offline link between the app and consumers in the real world.

Coming To A Snapchat Near You

Lionsgate is first marketer to use the Context Cards, which are available to Lens or Filter advertisers with no additional charge.  as their National Lens today will help drive traffic to a movie times site for their film Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson and opening on Friday, Nov. 17.

The Context Cards encourages Snapchat users to swipe up and access more details from any friend’s Snap that features a Sponsored Lens or Filter.

Users will see a Context Card, which is a link to a brand’s chosen URL.

If tapped, the user is taken to that website (without leaving Snapchat). In the future, advertisers will be able to deep-link into their app, among other options. Users will see these only when viewing Snaps, not when creating or playing in the camera. Snapchat plans to rollout Context Cards to additional markets in early 2018.

Snapchat’s Context Card, which is attached to a Filter promoting the Lionsgate film Wonder, directs users to ticket sales — without leaving the app.

Snapping The Knowledge Graph

Snap’s creation of Context Cards reflects the broader desire of brands and consumers to assist real world activity with immediate information around Digital Presence, including a business’s or service’s address, hours of operation, reviews, social media profile, contact, and more.

As GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain notes, “the Knowledge Graph was popularized by Google, which launched the Google Knowledge Graph back in 2012 in a bid to provide users with structured answers to their queries — not just blue links.”

In other words,  the Knowledge Graph ‘understands’ facts about places, people, and things, and it uses this information to give more relevant information to searchers, Chamberlain writes. This Google Knowledge Graph is usually what people are talking about when they use the term “knowledge graph” to refer to getting structured answers on the web that, through algorithms, become smarter over time.

As for Snap and Snapchat brands, using this kind of broad-based information could help improve engagement and ad performance on its platform. Over the past year, campaigns with a Lens or Filter drove a 16 point lift in ad awareness, 8 point lift in brand awareness, and 5 point lift in action intent on average, according Snapchat In-App polling powered by Nielsen Brand Effect.

In terms of the value of the Context Card itself, the additional real-estate to include info so Snapchatters can access greater detail about a product, business, film, game, item. Plus, it helps solve the problem of mobile’s narrow screen, relative to desktop.

As more users shift to mobile, addressing the space issue on mobile is paramount.

While this feature is not intended as a performance marketing tool (such as Snap Pixel), brands get additional metrics, including impressions on the Context Card and clickthroughs.

Once within the Context Cards for a specific location or venue, a user can then locate the restaurant on Snap Map, another feature introduced in this past summer that lets Snapchatters position themselves on a map of the world while displaying crowd-sourced images and videos shared from specific locations.

So for a retailer running a Lens or Filter ad highlighting a coupon can then employ the Context Card to let a consumer contact restaurant directly or make a reservation (if it’s available) via Open Table, Bookatable, or Resy, and even get an Uber or Lyft to take them there — all without leaving Snapchat.

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‘Facebook Events’ App Is Now ‘Facebook Local’

Facebook has revamped the separate Events app it released last year into with a broader mission designed to promote discovery and reviews.

The new version, which is being rolled out on Apple iOS and Google Android devices is called, simply, Facebook Local.

“Last year, we launched a standalone app for people who love using Facebook events to find things to do around them,” said Aditya Koolwal, Product Manager, in an email. “Now, we’re updating that app to help people find more things to do with their communities. The new app, Facebook Local, helps you easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need— all recommended by the people you know and trust.”

If that sounds a lot like Foursquare and Yelp, you’re probably right. But for Facebook, the decision simply follows its years-long focus on local as it tries to counter its primary advertising and marketing rival, Google.

The release of Facebook Local comes after another high-flying quarter for the social network. Earlier this week, Facebook reported its Q3 2017 earnings by saying it now has nearly 2.1 billion people using Facebook every month and nearly 1.4 billion people using it daily. (Instagram also hit a big milestone this quarter, now with 500 million daily actives.”).

Facebook Local app in action. Source: Facebook

Overall, total revenue grew 47 percent year over year, and we had our first ever quarter with more than $10 billion in revenue. And with social media being inherently local, Facebook’s effort to make it easier for its users and businesses to connect and engage with each other is essential to keeping those numbers rising.

“For my part, when I think about our Marketer segment, we have SMBs; we have brand, direct response, and developers,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told analysts during the company’s earnings call. “We’re seeing strong growth across all those areas. “I think if you think about where the growth remains, it really is in increasing the relevance of the ads, because the ads I think are getting better in terms of reaching the right people at the right time.”

All Users Are Local

While Facebook Local didn’t come up during the earnings call, the importance of local advertising did.

Sandberg touted Facebook’s Custom Audiences and its targeting tools, as leading to better experiences for both consumers and businesses.

As an example, she pointed to an effort by the Alameda County Fair, a local fairground in Pleasanton, California. The Fair used Facebook to target people within 25 miles of their fairgrounds, focusing on ages 20-to-51 who have specific interests in concerts, music festivals, and theme parks. As a result of Facebook’s tools, the Fair saw season pass ticket sales for 2017 rise by 50 percent compared to 2016.

“That’s really about finding the people that are interested,” Sandberg said. “And if you look at the percentage of our ads business where people are using our most sophisticated approaches to finding the right audience, I think we still have a lot of opportunity for growth there, and that will improve both the quality of the ads people see but also the returns to marketers. And I think that will hit all of the verticals and all of the segments.”

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How Craft Breweries And Beer Bars Prevent Foot Traffic From Going ‘Flat’

Americans spent more than $37 billion on beer at retail stores in 2016, according to a Nielsen report on the beer industry last spring. To put that into perspective, Americans spent just over one-third as much ($12.5 billion) on water — the most consumed beverage globally.

Beer sales also outpace those of wine and spirits—the other two categories in the adult beverage space.

Over the past 20 years, the craft beer industry has exploded. But as the industry matures, it also has to contend with a common symptom of success: an increasing crowded marketplace, Foursquare analysis of foot traffic trends at craft breweries and beer bars has found.

In a larger sense, as a pessimistic WSJ story this summer showed, brick-and-mortar retail sales of craft-style beers slipped by $143 million to $2.3 billion in the first half of 2017. The WSJ, citing data from Nielsen, added that craft beer shipments had been rising steadily by double digits for several years, even as overall beer sales fell.

Still, the demand for craft beer appeared to — pun intended — to flatten and  last year.

But as the Foursquare analysis   points out, different parts of the beer sales sector are having varying degrees of success of attracting visits and sales.

Refilling Growlers

Foursquare looked at the relative popularity of beer overall compared to the relative popularity in wine and spirits to track notable changes.

The location intelligence platform used two categories to represent each drink: breweries and beer bars for beer, vineyards and wine bars for wine, and distilleries and cocktail bars for spirits. Foursquare then compared each category’s relative share among users over the age of 21, over the last 32 months.

In terms of the results, it appears as though craft beer drinkers are continuing to expand in number.

Since 2015, foot traffic to craft beer-focused venues has increased its share by over 16 percent, going from 27 percent of foot traffic to over 32 percent. At the same time, wine share of traffic has declined 9 percent from 32 percent to 29 percent. Also, liquor share has declined 7 percent from 41 percent to 38 percent.

Craft beer is also the only drink that saw net positive growth in this time frame, Foursquare says in its Craft Beer Insights 2017 report.

“Since the beginning of 2015, we’ve seen more and more businesses jump on the brewery bandwagon, with a 50 percent increase in the number of active breweries,” Foursquare says. “Does this mean craft beer brands should branch out with a brewery arm tomorrow? Not necessarily.”

Brewery Blues

Although brewery foot traffic remains strong overall, Foursquare notes that  an average of 25 breweries close their doors each month since 2015, echoing the issues in the Nielsen and WSJ reports mentioned above.

Those 25 or so breweries have also seen 50 percent less foot traffic than their successful counterparts per month, lasting an average of only 2.5 years in operation each, Foursquare says.

Industry analysts indicate that consolidation could be a factor in the closings. Over the last few years, established beer holding company brands have been buying out independent brewers (e.g., Heineken purchasing Lagunitas and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s absorbing Karbach Brewing Co.).

“At the same time, we see that average foot traffic per brewery has remained relatively constant,” Foursquare says. “So, it’s not necessarily that more folks are flocking to existing breweries—it’s that more of them are opening.”

Amid greater competition, the pressure is on beer marketers to differentiate and drive visits by enhancing the drinking experience from start to finish. Foursquare advises that can positively impact foot traffic for ailing businesses don’t always have to do with beer—a great happy hour or having an accessible urban location can keep places afloat.

Source: Foursquare

Millennials On Tap

Just as the youngest Millennials turned 21 this year, the notion that this age demographic are changing the way wine is consumed is widely acknowledged.

Foursquare’s report poses the question: does that ring true for craft beer?

Most likely.

“Investopedia proposes that millennial craft beer love is an outright rejection of mass-produced brews, not only because it conflicts with showcasing individual identity but because ‘cheap’ beers aren’t so cheap anymore,” Foursquare says. “CNBC seems to think another factor could be that craft beer usually has a higher alcohol content, making it a more worthy purchase.”

According to Foursquare’s data, just under half of craft beer drinkers do skew in the Millennial age group.So it’s important to note their perceptions of the product.

“Our data confirms that Millennials are 45 percent more likely to prefer high quality over good value,” Foursquare says. “They also index high for enjoying booze in general, and are 3x more likely to prefer whiskey, vodka and gin. The challenge for marketers is to think not snoot but smart, with unbeatable product quality at reasonable prices.”

Among the other topline findings of Foursquare’s report:

  • Craft beer is stealing market share:
    • Foot traffic to craft breweries and other beer-specific venues has been on the rise since 2015, stealing share from wine and spirits-focused venues, (e.g., wine bars, distilleries), in the process.
    • Relative to liquor and wine-centric venues, craft beer locations have increased their share of foot-traffic by 16 percent in the last two years
    • Meanwhile, traffic to both liquor and wine-centric bars are in decline, relative to craft beer traffic— making beer the only beverage category to grow its share of the market.  

Top Travel Destinations for Beers & Breweries — These are the destinations where Foursquare users traveled more than 150 miles from home to visit a brewery:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Portland, OR
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Asheville, NC
  5. San Diego, CA
  • 2018 — the year of the Lager?
    • Based on first-party taste data from a combination of user-generated content and machine learning within the Foursquare City Guide app, Foursquare has indicated that Lager, Sour Beer and Double IPAs are increasing in popularity and are slated for top spots in 2018.

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Caffeine Spike: Foot Traffic To Coffee Shops Rises Almost 2 Percent

Visits to U.S. coffee shops this year grew 1.7 percent year-over-year, location intelligence company Foursquare has found, noting that despite the ubiquity of Starbucks, it was the smaller independents that are behind the gains.

Independent coffee shops saw traffic rise 5 percent year-over-year, compared to larger coffee chains, which saw a little less than 1 percent growth during the same period.

Naturally, when it comes to loyalty, having multiple locations is clear benefit. Foursquare looked at a number of factors related to chain loyalty, such as how often and regular a coffee shop was visited as well as its share of traffic within the cafe category.

As Foursquare put it, “chains with strong food and coffee pairings inspire the most consumer loyalty.”

The top 5 coffee chains that Americans are most loyal to:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Dunkin’ Donuts
  3. Tim Horton’s
  4. Scooter’s Coffee & Yogurt
  5. Dutch Bros Coffee
QSRs vs Coffee Shops … Source: Foursquare

While loyalty is key, when it comes to actual feet walking through the door,  Philz Coffee, a San Francisco based, third-wave coffee chain, is the winner in terms of growth, something that is indicative of a larger preference for smaller brands by caffeine addicts.

According to Foursquare, Philz, which has locations in Washington, DC and Los Angeles in addition to its SF hometown, saw visits rise 11 percent since May 2016.

For the most part, it appears that the increased amount of independent coffee shops popping up around the country while larger chains have tried to be smarter about their locations amid greater competition from quick serve restaurants like McDonald’s seeking to expand its breakfast offerings in order to generate more visits throughout the day.

At the same time, Starbucks shuttered all of its 379 Teavana outlets this summer, even as U.S. sales rose 5 percent at established locations.

Coffee Shops’ Prime Times

As for when is the “prime time” for coffee shops, while a 2015  “coffee report” by Square among its retail clients found that 8:30am during the week saw the most customer activity, Foursquare, which based its analysis on foot traffic patterns and lifestyle preferences of visitors to coffee chains from its apps, Foursquare City Guide, and Foursquare Swarm, found two particular times for drawing the coffee crowd.

With regard to highest traffic spikes for coffee, a Foursquare rep said that that Saturday at 10am is the most popular moment to get coffee, as that time 15 percent busier than the rest of the week. With regard to weekdays, coffee shop foot traffic initially spikes between 8-9am, and then again around noon.

As for the most popular month: yep, thanks to Starbuck’s cult of Pumpkin Spice, October is the busiest month for coffee shops, followed by the chill of December, while promotions for National Coffee Month in August makes that the third highest in terms of foot traffic, Foursquare said.

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Snapchat’s Context Cards Extend Digital Presence Information From Outside Apps

The introduction of Snapchat’s Context Cards represent the clearest way for brands that manage their online listings to get in front of the image sharing platform’s 173 million daily users.

The company bills Context Cards as a “new way” for Snapchatters to learn about what they’re viewing via information from third–party app partners including Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Goop. Context Cards also offers connections to ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, as well as reservation platforms Open Table, Resy, and Bookatable.

Context Card in action: Using Snap’s own “Knowledge Graph” and tools like Snap Map, users can find information about places — and then make a reservation or hail a ride all without leaving the Snapchat app.

Context And Engagement

In a larger sense, Context Cards shows the expansion of the “Knowledge Graph” concept promoted by Google that aims to meet consumers’ demand for specific answers and information instead of a list of links from a search.

The Snapchat feature is similar to the mix of personalized news and place-based information that Google Now app users see via “smart cards.”

In the case of  Snapchat Context Cards, when a user sees an image of, say, a place that serves pancakes in a Snap, they can swipe up if that Snap says “More” at the bottom to see more information likes reviews about that business from partners like TripAdvisor or Foursquare, for example.

Once within the Context Cards for a specific location or venue, a user can then locate the restaurant on Snap Map, contact the restaurant directly or make a reservation (if it’s available) via Open Table, Bookatable, or Resy, and even get an Uber or Lyft to take them there — all without leaving Snapchat.

Snapchat Context Cards showcase location information and provide access to apps that will connect the user to a physical place.

It all adds up to the way Snapchat has gone from bewildering publishers, agencies, and brands as marketing partner two years ago to being an essential part of practically all major brands’ app engagement and Digital Presence Management by linking together places and related real-time information) to online/offline strategies.

No Ads, Only Organic Connection

The advent of Context Cards comes as other platforms seek ways of aligning with complementary apps. Two weeks ago, as an example, Walmart signed on to Button’s Marketplace, an app engagement and payments platform that connects matches mobile content with the ability to access related transactions without having to juggle multiple apps at once.

The Context Cards also follow the path set by previous Snap features like Geofilters, which initially allowed only users to add an image overlay telling friends their location,  and Snap Map, which debuted in June and lets Snapchatters position themselves on a map of the world while displaying crowd-sourced images and videos shared from specific locations.

Like Snap Map, ads will not appear within the Snaps found in Context at this time — that includes Snap Ads and Sponsored Creative Tools. In general, it’s worth noting that in the interest of preserving its unique user experience, ads still do not appear between Snaps in Search or Snap Map today either.

Location At The Center

The feature also puts a spotlight on the importance of location technology that Snap has relied on.

Foursquare is noted as a particular partner in Context Cards, thanks in part to its personalized discovery tools based on its location intelligence as well as its connection to a wide range of brands. But it’s not the only provider of geospatial information to Snap.

In addition to its purchase of online-to-offline attribution Placed this summer, Snap Map is also powered by navigation and geo-data visualization players Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and DigitalGlobe. On the advertising side, Snap also works with geo-data specialist Factual and location-based ad targeting and analytics provider GroundTruth.

Overall, Snap relies on a sophisticated combination of internal and external signals to determine relationships between venues and locations. Together with location intelligence from its partners, it been able to build a strong knowledge graph, the value and accuracy of which will continue to grow stronger.

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How Foursquare Helped Digital Jukebox TouchTunes Lift Bar Visits

In-venue jukebox and digital entertainment network TouchTunes is expanding its use of Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK seven months after it found the location intelligence company’s data gathering system helped boost traffic to bars and restaurants it serves.

Last March, Foursquare began licensing Pilgrim’s ability to collect smartphone users’ “passive location data” — i.e., opt-in access to app users’ place-based information without the need to specifically “check-in” each time — to brands such as Capital One for its Wallet app, coupon platform SnipSnap, gift card marketplace Raise, as well as in-store deals platforms Retale and The Coupons App.

Aside from getting insights as to their app users’ location patterns, the brands could use the Pilgrim SDK to promote discovery of places these consumers might be interested in. For example, an app using Pilgrim might suggest a nearby store based on the users’ habits by sending notifications designed to prompt offline discovery and app engagement as they’re on-the-go.

TouchTunes’ app in action

As one of the launch partners of the white labeling of Foursquare’s white labeling of the Pilgrim SDK, TouchTunes’ app engagement goals were focused on selling songs via the app that users in a bar or restaurant could play on its interactive jukeboxes.

TouchTunes’ second engagement goal involved getting its app users into nearby one of the 65,000 locations that feature its interactive jukebox.

Results of the effort, which is being discussed in a panel at the Local Search Association’s Place Conference Monday in New York, showed that Pilgrim contributed to TouchTunes’ mobile growth — i.e., “mobile coinage” and revenue —  of over 33 percent year-over-year.

According to Foursquare’s foot traffic analysis, general bar visits increased 2 percent in 2016. Given that slim universal growth, TouchTunes realized its bar clients needed to find better ways  to capture these “on-premise drinkers” with compelling messaging, Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt said in statement.

The Problems With Geofences And Beacons

Ross Honey, who became TouchTunes’ CEO last March, wanted to move the company beyond the use of geofences, which he deemed were too general to capture specific users and send them to the right location at the right time.

Conversely, he felt that TouchTunes’ use of beacons were not scalable enough, as smartphones needed to have Bluetooth receivers on and the users needed to be in very close proximity to get a message.

TouchTunes works with 65,000 bar and restaurant locations.

“With geofences they were too many false positives in which people correct incorrectly appeared to be in our venues,” Honey said. “This created a high risk would be messaging our users with irrelevant notifications. We found this for this to be acceptable because if you’re not actually accurate you are hurting yourself with your customers.”

The large costs associated with the technology, as well as, the operational challenges in deployment across a vast network presented significant challenges, Honey added.

The Loyalty Test

After implementing Pilgrim, TouchTunes has been able to scale up its proximity coverage to 34,000 venues, with plans to reach over 50,000 by year end, with no incremental cost, Rosenblatt said.

Ultimately, TouchTunes found that app users are 44 percent more likely to purchase music credits using proximity messaging, and 60 percent more likely to play a song in-venue when engaged with a personalized, location-relevant message.

But that’s just the beginning.

Now, TouchTunes plans to leverage Pilgrim to boost the membership of its bar staff loyalty program, BarRewards.

Exactly how does Pilgrim and the idea of proximity marketing help TouchTunes achieve revenue gains and potential loyalty?

The company says that Pilgrim / proximity aids in TouchTunes’ ability to grow mobile engagement and revenue, which ultimately translates into venues earning more money (more engaged users playing more songs, thus dwelling longer and spending more).

Using Pilgrim data also allows TouchTunes to discern venues with most jukebox coinage use per person, track commonalities and apply learnings across venues within the TouchTunes network, the company says.

“With Pilgrim,” Honey said, “we have the potential to identify people who are likely to work in our venues, and then send them a message asking them if they want to join our BarRewards.”

*Check back for updates of this story and for more coverage from the Place Conference. 

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Who Should Walmart And Amazon Acquire Next?

As Walmart and Amazon rush to build up their respective online/offline commerce strategies, it’s safe to say that key acquisitions will play a part in efforts to keep pace, if not out-pace, the other as “the ultimate retailer” in consumers’ minds.

For example,  within the last three months, Amazon made its $13.7 billion bid to acquire Whole Foods, while Walmart bought e-commerce platforms Jet and Bonobos, speculation swirled around these two retail behemoths each striving to become the ultimate shopping destination—both on and offline.

Foursquare has come up with a list of some obvious acquisition targets that would fit Walmart’s and Amazon’s intersecting and unique needs in their drive towards retail hegemony.

But by basing its selected brand targets based on its foot-traffic data covering 2.5 million Americans, Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck makes the case for where the best complements exist for each company in a blog post.

“Amazon and Walmart would both be wise to consider Nordstrom and Warby Parker,” says Glueck. “Amazon should consider Lowe’s; Walmart should look to Ulta Beauty.”

Among the analysis of each brand’s needs according to Foursquare:

  • Amazon prefers brands that foster an even deeper relationship with its current shopping base, and investing in challenger brands that are smaller and more upscale than in-market competitors
  • Walmart is playing catch-up in e-commerce, and so is looking to broaden its consumer reach and digital footprint, and develop delivery efficiencies.
  • Both companies are interested in attacking verticals that have proved resistant to e-commerce penetration.
  • Both companies want to refine and experiment with a “showrooming” strategy. They are also both interested in the same consumer: high-net-worth GenX and Millennials.
Source: Foursquare

Target Number 1: Nordstrom

If Amazon and Walmart aren’t fighting over Nordstrom by now, perhaps they should, Glueck says.

Amazon, in particular, needs to connect with the “right shoppers” in the physical world. And considering Amazon’s instant-pickup is initially limited to the 22 locations it began opening in 2015, it needs to expand its placement to actual stores beyond its Whole Foods connection.

“Amazon’s latest acquisition, Whole Foods, and Nordstrom have an overlapping customer set: Foursquare’s data shows that Nordstrom shoppers are almost 2X more likely to shop at Whole Foods than the average consumer,” Glueck says. “So an Amazon-owned Nordstrom chain would deepen Amazon’s relationships with its expanding core base.”

For Walmart, acquisitions are intended to bring in new customers. Nordstrom and its discount subsidiary Nordstrom Rack would likely broaden Walmart’s base to more upper middle income shoppers.

“[Nordstrom] consumers aren’t frequent Walmart-goers,” Glueck says, citing Foursquare’s foot traffic data showing they are about 55 percent less likely to go to Walmart than the average American.

“What Nordstrom does have is a bona-fide track record as well as a healthy concentration of Millennials and females, a nice addition for Walmart to balance out the the purchase of Bonobos, which has a wider male reach,” he says. “Walmart has to pursue familiar verticals that have deep online footholds. And Nordstrom has seen tremendous success versus comparable retailers in developing its e-commerce presence.”

As for Nordstrom Rack, it tends to rank number two in store visits and sales after the discount category leader T.J. Maxx.

“We found that Nordstrom Rack has actually lost more than 2 percent of its visit share to competitive discount retailers in the last two years. Amazon’s ability to slash prices further could lift the competitor brand, and give Amazon a strong foothold into the brick-and-mortar discount market. Imagine if everyday was Amazon Prime day at Nordstrom Rack…”

Source: Foursquare

All Eyes On Warby Parker

Showrooming — the act of comparing prices and products on e-commerce site at the same time one is browsing in a physical store — is the scourge of all brick-and-mortar retailers. And that’s largely thanks to Amazon’s all-encompassing inventory.

Since Warby Parker started its eyeglass sales as an e-commerce platform, it has used its online-only origins to help develop a strategy to combat showrooming at its 46 boutiques. Plus, Warby Parker is currently planning to open 25 more shops, a clear indication that its clicks-to-bricks program is working.

An Amazon purchase could further enhance Warby Parker’s distribution, while reducing its shipping costs.

Plus, consider Warby Parker’s strength with Millennials — over half its shoppers (55 percent) are in that age demographic, which over-indexes at luxury brands including Bloomingdales, Williams Sonoma and Lululemon according to Foursquare data.

Moreover, Warby Parker has similar shopper profiles and significant customer overlap with Whole Foods, as Foursquare data shows that 80 percent of Warby Parker customers also shop at Whole Foods.

Walmart certainly desires those Millennials and by acquiring Warby Parker, it would continue to trajectory its been on with the purchases of Bonobos and — two very different offerings from Walmart’s typical shoppers.

“Though we’d expect Walmart to keep Warby as a stand-alone brand, if Walmart ever needed an infusion of new shoppers and/or Millennials into its stores, one way to do so—and quickly—would be to add Warby Parker services and eyeglasses into Walmart’s existing vision centers,” Glueck says. “In addition to being more than half Millennial, Warby Parker customers are 80 percent less likely to visit a Walmart versus the average American—so they’d be fresh eyes on Walmart’s existing inventory.”


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Amid Declining Ad Revenues, Twitter Aims To Prove Offline Sales Effectiveness

Twitter’s second quarter earnings last month revealed an interesting disconnect: on the plus side, advertising engagement grew 95 percent compared to the same period the year before; but ad revenue slipped 8 percent.

The competition for the ad dollars not claimed by the digital ad hegemons Facebook and Google is a problem all online publishers have to contend with. But Twitter’s ubiquity as a mainstream social media tool has put a spotlight on its challenges more than most companies, though Snap is starting to feel some heat as well.

eMarketer has forecast Twitter’s ad revenue will grow 1.6 percent this year, to $2.28 billion — driven by almost entirely — 90 percent — from mobile. By being so heavily mobile, the microblog hopes to capitalize on the kinds of micro-moments that have propelled spending on its online rivals.

To help make its case to marketers, Twitter has enlisted analytics partners Foursquare and Nielsen to make its case to brands, particularly when it comes to driving offline foot traffic and sales.

Among the stats Twitter is highlighting involves the sale of mobile devices at telcos’ brick-and-mortar locations.

“For carriers and manufacturers focused on generating in-store foot traffic, Twitter proves to be an effective partner,” Twitter says. “Research shows that Twitter not only drives in-store foot traffic, but it also compels buyers to spend more overall. In fact, people on Twitter are more likely to research a smartphone while in-store compared to those who don’t use Twitter.”

Specifically, Foursquare and Nielsen say that buyers spend 6.8 percent more with mobile wireless carriers after seeing ads on Twitter.

Nielsen and Foursquare’s research also offered analysis of the kinds of people who are more likely to make purchase in brick-and-mortar stores.

Twitter users tend to frequent big-box stores and budget-friendly travel locations, and their tastes include fast-casual food. While that sounds a lot like the general population, it does indicate the connections of when those brands should advertise. For example, in-store shoppers love sports — again, like pretty much everyone else — so brands can activate during major sporting events when people are the most engaged on Twitter.

“On Twitter, people are in a unique discovery mindset,” the report says. “They are curious, leaned in, and looking to learn, be inspired, and act. This means that because users are in the right mindset, people on Twitter are more likely to see and remember ads.

“Competition in the telco industry is fiercer than ever, and marketers need to make their ad dollars work harder,” Foursquare and Nielsen note. “Whether you are looking to drive offline sales, online sales, or both, people on Twitter are especially receptive to ads and motivated to buy. Brands that leverage customer insights to reach different audience segments based on their interests, passions, and behaviors on Twitter will be able to more thoughtfully and creatively reach and win customers.”

Of course, given that Twitter’s rivals recognize the micro-moments and user attention, Twitter will have to make a concerted effort to specifically target the brands who are considering how much to spread finite ad dollars around.

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How Patrón Used Alexa And Foursquare To Expand Online-To-Offline Marketing

For spirits marketer Patrón, every day is “International Tequila Day.”

But to make sure consumers stay connected to the brand during and beyond, the company put artificial intelligence and location targeting to extend its reach from bar-to-home.

To promote its year-old Patrón Cocktail Lab, a cocktail recommendation engine that was launched online and apps, and its bot-tender that answers the questions of home mixologists, the liquor marketer turned to Foursquare, the location intelligence company, for targeted ads and unveiled “skills” for voice-activated digital assistants Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana.

For Adrian Parker, VP, Marketing at Patrón Spirits Company, the effort was about forging a direct relationship with existing and potential consumers.

“We migrated to the platform-based model that put the customer in the center,” Parker said, speaking at the Innovation Congress in New York earlier this month. “Most organizations don’t say the word ‘customer’ enough. They say ‘user’ or ‘purchaser.’ Think about Uber or Lyft, which created about 500,000 limos, or Airbnb, which has created 3 million hotel rooms. Think about Blue Apron, which has created 8 million chef’s tables.”

Patrón’s Adrian Parker at Innovation Congress

With that in mind, Could Patron Tequila create over 500,000 bars in kitchens across the U.S.?

“We think so,” Parker said. “So we started to think about making our conversations with consumers more meaningful. We started thinking about creating ‘experiences’ that we could deliver through automation and bots.”

Alexa Is Just The Beginning

To make the Patrón Cocktail Lab easier to use, Patrón became one of the first spirits brands to explore voice technology. By simply enabling the “Patrón skill” in the Alexa app on Amazon Alexa voice-enabled devices, including Amazon Echo, users can ask for cocktail recommendations, recipes and tips – everything from the perfect brunch recipe to the proper way to shake and strain a cocktail. Future voice platforms will follow.

“At Patrón we didn’t invent tequila, but we perfected it, and that includes our longstanding commitment to product and technological innovation,” said Lee Applbaum, Global CMO at Patrón Spirits. “Engaging voice communication is just another way that we’re creating simply perfect experiences for our consumers through the tools that we deliver and the tequila that we proudly handcraft. We are excited to be the first luxury spirit brand on the Amazon Alexa platform, which is really the start of a broader initiative that will leverage platforms like Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and future technologies to be able to more seamlessly deliver content to people when and how they want it. Alexa is just the beginning.”

As Parker explained, the decision to develop an Alexa skill, as well as ones from Google Home and Microsoft Cortana, was about answering the question of “how could we start to have these conversations in a way that was a little more meaningful?”

The answer was to “connect consumers to experiences” through chatbots and Connected Intelligence-based voice-activation.

“How do you even start to look into voice technology?” Parker told the InnoCon attendees of Patrón’s exploration. “How do we connect consumers in cocktail culture to behavioral analytics? It involves social intelligence and thinking of our brand as a platform.’

The Patrón Bot-Tender in action

From Static Experience To Connected Community

As brands explore the role for AI and voice as a part of their marketing programs, the central idea is to create a range of complementary and personalized use cases that reach customers at different points of their day and mindset.

For example, someone might be in one mindset at home, while another mindset might strike them as they leave work in the early evening. The idea is to continue the conversation through those stages and be ready when the consumer is.

“With Cocktail Lab as our leading ‘magic cocktail experience,’ we have consumers wanting to connect with bartenders, which is great,” Parker said. “We’re at the center of that equation, and it’s become a really new way for us to not only learn from our consumers, but use location and data intelligence to make sure they’re getting the right cocktail at the right time.”

The Cocktail Lab started as kind of a “static experience” pumping out recipes and eventually became  actually a connected community, Parker said.

Since it began, Patrón was able to attract over 270,000 users with 32,000 users interact over voice and had people engage with 110,000 bot messages.

While Parker wouldn’t reveal sales figures, he said that Patrón’s business saw “double-digit growth.”

Patrón’s Alexa skill extends its Cocktail Lab from its online site and mobile app to the voice-activated assistant.

Patrón-ing The Summer

The use of voice-activation in the home is also having an impact on Patrón’s social media and online advertising.

Throughout the summer, Patrón has been working to bring the brand’s Cocktail Lab to 30 different cities in the U.S. and U.K.

This Patrón The Summer tour is serving up drink recipes powered by local trends and Foursquare location data, Parker told GeoMarkting. The campaign launched over the Memorial Day weekend, and runs through Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017).

“The goal of the campaign is to educate consumers and spirits enthusiasts on the versatility of tequila, outside of just margaritas and shots,” Parker said. “This data helps us to curate unique content and bespoke recipes for targeted regions around the globe, that we know our consumers will love.”

Additionally, the cocktail recommendations are being distributed across Amazon Alexa, Google Home, as well as on a custom-built chatbot on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, the cocktail recommendations are being distributed across Amazon Alexa, Google Home and even a custom-built chatbot on Facebook and Twitter. Patrón will be launching on Microsoft Cortana soon.

“It’s really a tremendous undertaking championed by all of our agencies,” Patrón said in a statement. “We’re in the third year of a 5-year journey to re-imagine how spirits drinkers discover, create and consume drinks. While we’re focused on growing tequila’s share of consumer stomachs and wallets, we’re also accelerating our participation in emerging platforms like Virtual/Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence as ways to share our handcrafted production process.”

Patron The Summer map is based on Foursquare data

Putting Patrón On The Map

Patrón first worked with Foursquare in 2015 to run its first Pinpoint campaign around National Tequila Day, where we served in-app ad units promoting Patrón content guides.

“Foursquare was able to identify taste trends in over 100 markets by analyzing top flavors/tastes, cocktails, alcohol and venue preferences of 21-34 year olds in cities across the globe,” Parker said. “We also tapped top bartenders and mixologists to both create and evaluate each unique cocktail.”

For the Patrón the Summer campaign, the tequila brand tapped into Foursquare’s unique location-based taste database to uncover taste trends in more than 100 cities across the globe.

By using Pinpoint, the Foursquare ad technology, for custom rich-media ads across mobile and web to help target a core set of consumers and provide real-time recommendations, the reach goes beyond users of the City Guide app and platform.

Based on a key list of accounts identified by Patrón, Foursquare is also providing its Attribution technology to understand who has seen the targeted Patrón ads. The location intelligence provider can then measure the effectiveness of driving consumers to on- or off-premise locations where Patron is served or sold.

“One of the major benefits of the Foursquare Pinpoint technology, and what sets us apart, is that it is platform agnostic and reaches more than 150M devices,” a Foursquare rep told GeoMarketing. “Pinpoint is used to reach consumers outside of the Foursquare network based on where they go in the real world.”

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