ShopTalk 17: Retail Brands Focus on Amazon ‘Work Arounds’

For many brands and retailers, working around Amazon is the new reality – even as they participate in Amazon’s marketplace, and/or use Amazon Web Services, fulfilment and payments. Amazon “work arounds” were clearly the main focus for the 5,600 attendees at ShopTalk17 this week in Las Vegas. Those taking the stage were clearly bent on re-establishing themselves as “fashion … 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

(Revised) Complaints About Merchant Circle

For the past couple of days, I’ve been besieged by “comments” that look like they are from small businesses who are complaining about Merchant Circle’s aggressive voice mail promos. Merchant Circle is a new company that is designed to generate small business traffic via SEO/SEM, Free DA, enhanced listings and other state-of-the-art techniques. When someone posts a … Read more

How Amazon Will Use Whole Foods as a Local Retail Anchor and Lifestyle Platform

Whole Foods has been rescued by its $13.7 Billion sale to Amazon, which should not only be able to leverage WF’s 431 stores with upscale shoppers, but amplify it with personalization, promotions, Prime Now delivery, and a broader selection of high margin lifestyle goods (which account for a high percentage of Whole Foods’ profit). Whole … Read more

LSA18: Yelp’s Chad Richard On The ‘Decentralization of Reservations’

Digital reservations are seizing on SaaS cloud-based models and becoming the norm not only for Open Table-oriented white table cloth restaurants, but fast casual restaurants, beauty salons, spas and even hospital emergency rooms and Department of Motor Vehicles. Yelp SVP of Business and Corporate Development Chad Richard, speaking at LSA18 this week in Chicago, said a “decentralization of … Read more

Merchant Circle Seeks to Provide YP Alternative

“Small business,” “marketing tools” and “viral marketing” = a new generation of Yellow Pages that will really help businesses get more local customers. Or so hopes Merchant Circle, a well-funded startup that officially launches in June. “People who sell FEAR like the Yellow Pages cannot sell the hope that the local Internet delivers, said President and … Read more

Zvents Sees 35% Growth; Touts Power of Newspaper Network

Zvents, the events lister, is reporting 35 percent year-over-year growth with over eight million unique visitors, largely due to its powering events for 285 local media brands, including major newspapers and the NBC owned-and-operated TV stations. CEO Ethan Stock cites Quantcast data showing Zvents Media Network as the 250th most used net on the Web, ahead of Citysearch … Read more

Vertical Focus: TakeLessons Raises $6 Million

Specialized verticals are a major part of the new marketplaces environment. One vertical we like is TeachStreet, a portal that helps consumers find teachers, and then helps sign them up and process payments. Along the same lines is TakeLessons, a five-year-old teacher site that is exclusively focused on hooking vetted music teachers with students. The San Diego-based … Read more

Rethinking Deals after Facebook and Yelp Pullbacks

Facebook and Yelp are downsizing their separate deals initiatives after launching them with some fanfare. Facebook is now limiting its deals to users that check-in to businesses; and Yelp is sharply reducing the number of deals that it features, while continuing to support self-serve efforts that are integrated with other Yelp ad products. Are these pullbacks a sign … Read more