Dunkin’ Donuts Goes Back To Its Local Roots For ‘Next Gen’ On-Demand Store Model

Dunkin’ Donuts has unveiled what it’s calling its “next generation store” in the city where it opened its very first location 68 years ago with new design elements that are meant to reflect the “on-demand’ expectations of its digitally connected customers.

The new 2,200 square-foot Quincy, Mass. location, just about one mile away from the original Dunkin’ Donuts location, includes the coffee chain’s first drive-thru exclusively for mobile ordering. It’s also the first of 30 or more new and remodeled Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants that will test variations of the new design this year.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ final new store design is expected to be unveiled once testing is complete. The Quincy store is also one of a select number of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants testing new signage that refers to the brand simply as “Dunkin’.”

“The launch of our next generation concept store marks one of the most important moments in Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth as an on-the-go, beverage-led brand,” says Dave Hoffmann, president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada. “We have worked closely with our franchisee community to create a positive, energetic atmosphere for our guests that remains true to our heritage, while emphasizing and enhancing the unparalleled convenience, digital innovation and restaurant excellence that distinguishes Dunkin’.”

Dunkin’ Donuts “Store of The Future” Drive Thru — the chain’s first — in Quincy, Mass.

Dunkin’ On-Demand

The store is meant to reflect the on-demand focus that all major QSRs are rapidly adapting to. The coffee chain has been emphasizing its mobile focus for the past three years and so this can be viewed as the culmination of those initial efforts.

It also recognizes that the concepts of speed and loyalty have vastly changed in light of mobile ordering and discovery.

In particular, the challenges from the heavily mobile-oriented Starbucks has had a major impact on direct rivals like Dunkin’ Donuts, but also on more general QSRs like McDonald’s. By way of comparison, Dunkin’ Donuts has nearly 7,700 locations in the U.S. (and another 3,000-plus in other countries) while Starbucks has 17,009 outlets.

Aside from its regional U.S. concentration in the northeast,  Dunkin’ Donuts now has more than 7.5 million DD Perks members. The growth of the rewards program reflects a broader influence of social media and mobile payments in that, aside from building up points for discounts, the primary benefit for customers is simply a “better experience.”

In the case of a QSR chain like Dunkin’ Donuts, that means getting customers what they want quickly with as little friction as possible when it comes to paying.

And that’s the aim of the Dunkin’ Donuts’ “next gen” outlet, which boasts an open layout and more natural light to make the spaces more “breathable” and not just merely “efficient.”

The new store also previews the “fully-integrated digital kiosks” coming in 2018, where guests will choose to order with or without the help of a store staffer.

Dunkin’ Donuts has also introduced an area dedicated to mobile pickups, so that members of the DD Perks Rewards program who order ahead via Dunkin’s Mobile App can get in and out of the restaurant faster than ever before. Guests will be able to track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board.

Powered by WPeMatico

As Audio Gets ‘Smarter,’ iHeartMedia Embraces Voice Activation, Chatbots, Wearables

With Spotify and Pandora making their respective extensions into the work of “smart audio,” iHeartMedia is using its presence at CES2018 to highlight the radio network’s digital moves including letting listeners access iHeartRadio through a chatbot for Facebook Messenger and Samsung’s voice activated assistant Bixby.

In a sense, the new features represent a fuller step from iHeartMedia’s omnichannel focus over the past year. In 2017, the company started iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster, it expanded the number of podcasts, and struck over 200 platform integrations, making its audio available in cars, at home, on wearables, via gaming consoles, through virtual assistants, and “nearly everywhere listeners want to tune in,” iHeartMedia says.

iHeartRadio is also available in nearly all major OEMs and aftermarket products as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more. In addition, iHeartMedia can be heard in every vehicle reaching more than a quarter of a billion people monthly through its 850 local radio stations nationwide.

“In 2017, we built on iHeartRadio’s strong foundation of content access and discovery,” said Darren Davis, President of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group. “Consumers are taking advantage of the ease and ubiquity of virtual assistants, smart speakers, set-top boxes and other connected devices, and in doing so, they’re proving that audio is an important part of their day-to-day life. As we look ahead in 2018, we will continue to innovate – blending the iHeartRadio experience seamlessly into the way listeners use the influx of these new smart devices – and as always, make iHeartRadio easily available on the products and platforms they use most.”

The role of “smart audio” via Connected Intelligence is already being felt in the way consumers choose what and when to buy something, whether on their phone, on a Connected Home device through a virtual assistant, or in a Connected Car.

Roughly 65 percent of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine to going back to the days before they had a smart speaker, and 42 percent of that group say the voice-activated devices have quickly become “essential” to their lives.

In 2017, 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month for sudden rise of 128.9 percent over last year, says eMarketer.

iHeartMedia’s stepped up effort to be everywhere consumers expect comes as Pandora has aggressively moved to ramp up its Smart Home strategy, most recently in an expanded collaboration with Sonos to employ voice-activation controls.

Rounding out iHeartMedia’s partners are Jibo, billed as a “social robot for the home”; Garmin’s new GPS running watch, the Forerunner 645 Music; and Roku users will now have access to iHeartRadio’s full feature set.

The company is also introducing new automotive updates with General Motors and Ford.

Powered by WPeMatico

The Majority Of Amazon And Google Smart Speaker Owners Will Buy Another

Over two-thirds of consumers who currently own an Amazon Echo or Google Home plan to buy another device in the next six months — and 75 percent of Amazon Echo owners and 69 percent of Google Home owners will purchase the same brand again, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

This degree of loyalty may suggest that consumers are highly satisfied with the voice-activated devices they’ve chosen — or it could be simply a “recognition that the technical platforms are different and that switching would involve unwanted complexity,” the report states. But in either case, these findings indicate substantial consumer loyalty to one brand alone.

Loyalty Lock-In

These findings provide two important takeaways for marketers: First, that the first device a consumer purchases and brings into their home is highly likely to set up a long term relationship that won’t be easily penetrated — something that’s key for Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and any other upstarts to keep in mind.

And, more importantly, marketers need to gain a deeper understanding of which consumers are flocking to which platforms — and how they can reach them.

Think about it: If there are “Amazon Alexa” households that rely only on Amazon devices versus Google Home households, marketers need to understand who these consumers are — and if there are any notable patterns, demographic or otherwise, in terms of which people are choosing which devices at the outset.

If, for example, a greater number of Millennial parents are proven to have purchased an Amazon Echo, it might make more sense for a company like Pampers to build out an Alexa skill first, rather than a Google Home skill. Essentially, as voice-activated smart speakers continue to proliferate, marketers need to improve their use of them as a conversational tool — and that starts with understanding who is loyal to which devices and when they use them.

In any case, it does pay for marketers to focus their attentions on commuting with consumers via the “big four” platforms: “The early runners in the fast-growing smart speaker market look set to dominate for some time,” said David Mercer, author of the report. “High customer satisfaction levels and the possibility of platform ‘lock-in’ will make it challenging for competitor platforms to carve out significant market share in the near term.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Gen-Z Members Watch An Average Of 68 Videos Per Day

Members of the Gen-Z demographic watch an average of 68 videos per day across five platforms, according to a new report from Awesomeness— highlighting for marketers the importance of creating customized video content across YouTube, Snapchat and more.

In fact, 75 percent of Gen-Z teens say that Snapchat is the best platform for staying connected and informed, while 71 percent say that YouTube is the best place to consume long form content, defined as videos over 10 minutes. The takeaway overall? While the digital revolution affects all demographics, Gen-Z appears unique in that video — rather than voice or text — is a primary means of communicating, sharing and learning.

But while many of us from older generations are still trying to decide whether this is the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity, “Gen Zs are likely wondering why that is something that is still being discussed in the first place,” the Awesomeness report states. “After all, they don’t perceive the physical world and the digital world as two separate entities, but rather a cohesive, multidimensional realm in which events transpiring in the digital world are every bit as important — if not more than — what’s happening right in front of them. Smartphones are no longer just a tool, they’ve become digital extensions of one’s self, and some of the most important moments in life are now being lived out online via pocket-sized devices and key platforms: YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook — yes, Facebook.”

Personalizing Counts — For People And Platforms

Much of the research surrounding Gen-Z focuses on the fact that they are “digital natives.” But it is often overlooked that this doesn’t mean they are likely to be swayed by any and all content on their smartphones — quite the opposite. With more information than ever at their finger tips, Gen-Z is poised to become the most informed generation of consumers — and they’re more likely than other generations to flock to brands that create unique content specifically for them.

After all, “they watch 68 videos in a day — meaning this audience has the ability to sort through content faster than ever before,” said Harley Block, SVP of brand partnerships at Awesomeness. “Creating mobile-optimized content that’s platform specific, direct, and entertaining is essential for brands to reach Gen Z.”

Other key takeaways, below:

Strategic Connections Matter: Awesomeness finds that Gen-Z is open to hearing from brands — but in order to reach them on social media, brands must prioritize “extremely relevant content, give great deals, keep content fresh, and respond to their feedback.” Additionally, the influencer effect is real: These consumers are less likely to respond to a overt video ad than to a favorite content creator making a funny video that includes a brand or product. It’s key to provide a platform that empowers existing influencers to authentically use their voice to build a connection between a brand and Gen-Z.

Personalization Wins The Day: This is true across generations, but it’s especially important when it comes to reaching Gen-Z: Whereas Millennials cared deeply about brands being authentic and transparent — they knew of a time before ads infiltrated social — the Awesomeness report finds Gen-Z is less concerned about that. They tend to respond to brands that simply create great content, so long as its “highly relevant, original and entertaining to them.”

Know Thy Platform: Gen-Z’s top apps for news are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat — but their top social apps include Aux, YouNow and Fam. Marketers must think about creating content for — and building connections with influencers on — not just the platforms with the highest viewership numbers, but where Gen-Z teens are most natively engaged. This will take some research, and it will take an open mind: If there’s one thing that is true across generations, it’s that the teens are always hanging out somewhere that the “grownups” are not.

Powered by WPeMatico

Attribution Provider Arrivalist Brings In Location Ad Sales Vet James Smith As CRO

Location analytics and attribution company Arrivalist has named ad tech veteran James Smith as Chief Revenue Officer, General Manager.

Smith brings over a decade worth of ad sales experience to the attribution specialist. Among his previous posts, Smith as the first CRO at Huffington Post in 2006, and went on to similar ad sales leading roles at Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes. He was most recently at Verve, where he served as CRO from 2013-15.

As he has in previous posts, Smith will oversee all revenue and marketing efforts at Arrivalist, which is releasing its latest cross-platform analytics tool. Dubbed Arrivalist 3.0, the upgraded platform promises to deliver marketers “comprehensive media exposure and visitation reporting accurate down to 30 feet” and is based on a network of more than 120 million devices to supply that data.

“Marketers are hungry for a truly independent and objective mobile location attribution product that is both scalable and statistically bulletproof. Arrivalist has quietly been offering exactly that to a large base of loyal customers for several years, and I’m excited to serve these clients while bringing the new A3 product to a broader set of marketers,” Smith said. “I look forward to delivering actionable insights about customers’ offline purchase journeys, and uncovering the advertising tactics that are most effectively driving transactions for marketers who have too often had to rely on proxy metrics and biased reporting.”

“James has an incredible track record for leading innovative companies through dramatic growth,” added Cree Lawson, Arrivalist Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to bring James on board to turn the demand for Arrivalist services in to sustained value for our customers. James shares our vision for delivering the most objective, statistically significant and granular insights available in a rapidly evolving market.”

In terms of his initial goals as he takes on the CRO spot, Smith told GeoMarketing that his first main charge is to focus primarily on “presenting Arrivalist to brands beyond the blue-chip travel and tourism marketers that already renew with Arrivalist at an industry leading rate.”

“Over the past six years, Arrivalist has built a very impressive SAAS data platform, providing deep consumer insights and an independent, objective evaluation of marketers’ advertising effectiveness for more than 130 travel and tourism marketers,” Smith continued. “With ‘A3’ — Arrivalist’s latest and significant platform enhancement — Arrivalist is an even more compelling solution for other marketer verticals.”

As location data continues to evolve to encompass Connected Intelligence and voice-activation as a way of bringing connected consumers to brick-and-mortar business, we also asked Smith what marketing tech trends is he most interested in exploring as he looks to 2018.

“There is still so much more opportunity re: providing marketers with even stronger solutions regarding connecting offline/online commerce and online/offline consumer behavior,” Smith said. “To help marketers with this puzzle continues to be my focus.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Pandora’s Sonos Integration Opens More Advertisers To The Connected Home

Pandora’s Smart Home strategy has been continuing with a series of steps designed to make the use of the streaming music platform easier for consumers as well as advertisers.

While listening to Pandora has been accessible on Sonos’ speakers for years, the two brands have partnered on new ways for listeners to employ voice-activation controls.

In keeping with Pandora’s philosophy that “voice is the new touch,” listeners can now control Sonos directly through the Pandora mobile app and command Pandora stations with spoken commands via Alexa. The new experience also includes support for Premium, Pandora’s on-demand service launched earlier this year.

In terms of the marketing potential for Pandora, which has an Alexa Skill in the Amazon Echo — as well as a similar presence on Google Home’s voice-activated assistant — this new integration on Sonos will be an opportunity for advertisers to expand their potential audience reach, as its app users have more ways and places to listen.

For Pandora, this expanded alliance with Sonos is another example of what it considers to be a huge opportunity to reach audiences through connected home and voice-activated devices.

“Pandora listeners love the in-home music experience we’ve created with Sonos, having logged over 250 million hours this year alone,” said Chris Phillips, Chief Product Officer, Pandora. “We have made it easier than ever to control your home audio listening experience by adding beautifully designed features inside the Pandora app to control your Sonos.”

More than 50 percent of Sonos owners across the country use Pandora throughout their home, the company said, as Pandora’s platform is available on more than 48 million activations on consumer electronics devices generally.

“Sonos owners have enjoyed their favorite Pandora stations in any room since the service joined the Sonos platform back in 2007,” said Allen Mask, VP of Partnerships at Sonos. “It is now easier for listeners to access and control all of their music from Pandora, whether it’s from the Sonos app, with voice, and now from within the Pandora app – all working together seamlessly.”

The adoption rate of smart speakers with voice assistants grew 140 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to a survey from music streaming service Pandora and Edison Research.

In particular, Pandora usage on these devices grew by a 282 percent year-over-year.

In Pandora’s 2018 Definitive Guide to Audio, which was released last month, the streaming music platform has been attempting to make the case that the latest shift to Connected Intelligence-based devices represents another leap past terrestrial radio. In essence, the rise of voice-activated devices extract all kinds of data from the Knowledge Graph and therefore create even more personalized experiences for consumers.

With that growth in mind, Pandora sought to get a sense of how the rise of devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana is opening up new opportunities for marketers to reach multiple household members in contextually relevant ways they couldn’t before.

The research bears out much of what NPR found in its examination of the role of voice-activation and consumers’ media usage this past summer. Roughly 65 percent of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine to going back to the days before they had a smart speaker, and 42 percent of that group say the voice-activated devices have quickly become “essential” to their lives, NPR’s research said.

Among the obvious points both NPR and Pandora’s separate studies found: listening to music was the initial reason people sought these devices for. But the use cases of have quickly mushroomed.

In last week’s kick off its first dedicated ad targeting program aimed at voice-activated devices with Nestlé Waters, Eric Hoppe, Director of Product Management at Pandora, told us how Smart Home devices required specific ad formats, as opposed to repurposed ones.

“We see targeting through connected-home devices as an opportunity for both brand building and a way to drive store visits,” said Hoppe. “Audio acts as a powerful tool to establish an emotional connection with audiences, and connected devices offer an even greater level of intimacy, particularly within the home where listeners are more receptive and their environment acts as a contextual trigger. Pandora on connected-devices can drive very specific results and actions through data and technology – advertisers can target more than 2,000 audience segments with the right message at the right time, based on brand objectives.”

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

‘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.”

Powered by WPeMatico

How Convenience Stores Can Drive More Foot Traffic Over The Holiday Season

Gas stations and convenience stores saw a 56 percent uptick in foot traffic during the summer travel season, according to GasBuddy and Cuebiq’s Q3 Foot Traffic Report — and that trend is set to repeat itself over the holiday season as consumers hit the road to visit family members and take winter break vacations.

It’s no surprise that gas stations see more payments at the pump during popular vacation times; filling up the tank is a simple necessity. But through targeted and timed mobile promotions aimed at reaching customers during the “last mile” of their journey, they can turn these visits into repeat business — and drive sales of convenience store products from snacks to coffee.

For example, a combination of rich media and location targeting last holiday season helped RaceTrac generate a 47 percent lift in traffic at the gas station convenience store chain’s 450 outlets across the southern United States.

The December 2016 campaign was run by full-service digital agency Vert, along with design firm R/GA, and geo-data ad and attribution platform NinthDecimal. As we wrote at the time, the trio collaborated on developing “a dynamic, engaging ‘drive-to-store’ mobile ad unit that was both eye-catching and easily trackable. The rich media ad was designed to guide mobile users to the nearest RaceTrac convenience store using their current location.

NinthDecimal then built an audience segment comprised of consumers who were most likely to respond to the ad based on previous visits to RaceTrac and its competitors’ locations. Using NinthDecimal’s Location Graph data set of mobile audiences’ devices, it served the ad to those “qualified users” when they were within 10 miles of a RaceTrac convenience store.

Check The Signage — And The Restrooms

In addition, “today’s leading convenience stores are in a position to compete with coffee shops, QSRs, liquor stores, and even grocery stores,” the report states. “With the busy Q4 holiday season around the corner… and with customers spending an average of 2-3 minutes to refuel, [also] consider your signage at the pumps. Appeal to a broad audience by highlighting the full range of your in-store offerings.”

Besides location-based ads and signage at the pumps, what else influences the amount customers are likely to spend during a gas station stop? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s restroom quality, GasBuddy finds.

In fact, with summer road trip drivers, there was a strong correlation between
restroom quality and foot traffic. Stations near interstates with above-average ratings on GasBuddy saw a 33 percent increase in foot traffic over those with below-average ratings — meaning that customers are checking the reviews, and even those who aren’t are influenced to spend more and stay longer because of this (seemingly) simple experience.

“Leading brands like Buc-ee’s and Kwik Trip not only provide a superb restroom experience, but incorporate it into their marketing efforts,” says Frank Beard, retail and convenience store trends analyst at GasBuddy. “It affects everything from the sale of hot food and cold beverages to brand loyalty.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Google Parent Alphabet Leads $1 Billion Funding In Lyft

Ride-hailing app Lyft has secured a $1 billion funding round from CapitalG,  the investment fund run by Google parent Alphabet, as the company seeks to capitalize on the rise of on-demand as its rival Uber works to recover from its various executive controversies and turmoil of the past year.

In a blog post on Lyft’s site, the company added that CapitalG Partner David Lawee is being added to the ride-hailing app’s board.

The deal suggests a growing shift in favor of Lyft by Google, which is also an investor in Uber. The move toward Lyft comes several months after Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, began partnering with Lyft on autonomous vehicles. Alphabet and Uber have been involved in a battle over intellectual property over the development of sensors for self-driving cars during the past year.

And while Uber is still the number one ride-hailing service, despite being banned from London, Lyft points out that this past year has been very successful. In its blog post, the company notes that that its service is now available to 95 percent of the U.S. population — up from 54 percent at the beginning of the year.

“While we’ve made progress towards our vision, we’re most excited about what lies ahead. The fact remains that less than 0.5 percent of miles traveled in the U.S. happen on rideshare networks,” Lyft’s statement says. “This creates a huge opportunity to best serve our cities’ economic, environmental, and social futures.”

Lyft has also been aggressively courting marketing partnerships with brands such as Taco Bell. The two collaborated on a “taco mode” campaign this past July.

Before that, General Motors’ app-based Maven program, is now in about 20 cities across the U.S. and Canada, struck a deal with Lyft in Atlanta as the auto brand seeks to expand the year-old car-sharing effort. A year ago, Lyft and Jet Blue also partnered to bring travelers service from the airport their their door.

As the role of geo-data supports the connection between online and offline, the auto industry will be at the center of the changing interactions between places of business and consumers. And that’s what underlies this funding in Lyft right now.

Carmakers’ future success will be measured in “miles traveled” as opposed to the number of cars actually sold, Adam Jonas, head of global auto research for Morgan Stanley, has opined in a study of the impact of driverless and connected cars will have on the automotive industry.

By 2030, cars will drive more than 19.6 billion miles globally — considerably higher than the 10.2 billion they traveled in 2015, Jonas has estimated. It’s worth noting that the pace of growth is much higher than the estimated production of cars and light vehicles during the same period.

“The natural solution appears to be more shared vehicles,” Jonas said. “Shared cars—taxis and cars operated by ride-sharing companies, but not car rental—in 2015 accounted for 4 percent of global miles traveled, but by 2030, Morgan Stanley estimates that number could reach 26 percent.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Inspiring the American Dream With Intelligent Design

Subscribe For The Latest Updates

Sign up for the Mortgage Geek newsletter and get access to articles curated just for you!