Alphabet’s Waterfront Project in Toronto Runs into Turbulence

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has run into turbulence on the way towards the creation of a dramatic new waterfront neighborhood in Toronto. The project may still get a greenlight, but tech players hoping to leverage the next wave of urban development would do well to note its problems as a case study. Tech players, of course, are envisioning … Read more

RBC Deploys Digital Services, Investments to Drive Next Generation of Customers

Longtime local search and ad network exec Darby Sieben took something of a leap of faith in the new commerce environment last June when he joined RBC Ventures, the venture arm of the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the world’s largest banks. Indeed, RBC Ventures (RBCV) is driving the hypothesis that businesses can be among … Read more

Banks See ‘Scale’ As Their Advantage Over Digital Disruptors

With the incredible riches of the next wave of commerce awaiting, it’s a race of the incumbents versus the innovators. “The race is for the incumbents to fix things before innovators get distribution,” ” suggests Global Payments SVP of Global Product Frank Young. That was one of the basic themes this week at the fourth … Read more

Tim Armstrong On DTC Growth: Look to Tier 2 Markets

Commerce beats media, and appeals to outgoing media executives looking for their next chapter. It was that way for IAC head Barry Diller, when he left Fox and took over QVC and HSN in the late 1990s. Following in his footsteps is former Oath/AOL leader and Google sales executive Tim Armstrong, who has started The DTX … Read more

Book Review: Kidder’s ‘New to Big’

Giant companies buy other companies all the times with the goal of diversifying, maintaining revenue growth and leveraging their infrastructure (See Disney, Fox). Such acquisitions are designed to be “Big to Bigger.” But can companies seed their own farm teams via new business units, startup acquisitions and partnerships? Can they truly transform their companies to … Read more

RBC’s ‘Ownr’ Aims to Convert SMBs to Banking Customers

Banks are an essential cog in the wheel for SMBs. While they’ve been increasingly disintermediated in the digital era, they are often relied on for loans/credit, payments, notary and other services. Can they put themselves front-and-center for SMBs? That’s the goal for RBC Ventures, a Toronto-based arm of The Royal Bank of Canada, which serves 16 … Read more

American Express Cuts Back: Big Impact on SMB Digital Marketing Support?

American Express is under the knife, as it cuts $1 billion in spending with the end of its Costco and JetBlue co-branded cards. The cutback will probably cut into many of the forward looking promotion and marketing projects that Amex underwrites with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Uber, Pinterest and others. It will also lead to the departure … Read more

ShopTalk17: Retailers as ‘Hyperlocal Shoppable Destinations’

Macy’s, Sears and JC Penney’s are closing dozens of store locations. Others will follow. So the question arises: Can stores use digital tech and e-commerce to save themselves? The value of their real estate, alone, certainly incents them to highlight their stores, instead of just selling online. At ShopTalk17 in Las Vegas last week, executives from Target, Williams-Sonoma and Staples weighed in … Read more

ShopTalk: Google and PostMates Make the Case for SMB Deliveries

Fast and Free (or cheap) delivery is being positioned to retailers and restaurants by a growing group of companies as a key strategic asset that helps them compete with Amazon. Google has entered the marketplace with Google Express. It competes against such companies as Postmates, InstaCart, DoorDash, Deliv and Uber. There are doubters out there … Read more