67- The hu­man ad­dress

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CEO of Rent the Run­way, be­lieves a dis­rup­tive ap­proach is the an­swer. “The de­liv­ery net­work needs to be com­pletely ripped up and re-cre­ated,” she said at this year’s South by South­west In­ter­ac­tive. “We need to put UPS and Fedex out of busi­ness... The only way for e-com­merce growth to be eco­nom­i­cally vi­able is if the de­liv­ery net­work changes.”

The startup Shyp an­nounced “ad­dress-free ship­ping” in Oc­to­ber 2015; cus­tomers have user­names synced to phys­i­cal ad­dresses and de­liv­ery pref­er­ences. Just as apps such as Venmo re­place bank de­tails with a sim­ple user­name, peo­ple send­ing pack­ages now only need to re­mem­ber who they’re send­ing an item to. The ad­dress lists we now store dig­i­tally may soon seem as ob­so­lete as the Rolodexes of decades past.

At the tech­nol­ogy con­fer­ence WSJDLIVE in Oc­to­ber 2015, the com­pany re­vealed a new ser­vice that ex­pands ac­cess to its search data for re­tail­ers, al­low­ing them to build geo­graphic heat maps based on prod­uct searches across the US. The ini­tial ver­sion of this Shop­ping In­sights tool in­cludes data about more than 5,000 prod­ucts avail­able through Google Shop­ping, tar­geted to 16,000 US cities and towns, up­dated monthly.

The Shop­ping In­sights data re­veals sur­pris­ing ge­o­graph­i­cal pat­terns— the ex­am­ple pre­sented at the con­fer­ence was that de­mand for Min­ion out­fits was three times as high as de­mand for Star Wars cos­tumes in Madi­son, Wis­con­sin, while the ra­tio was re­versed in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia.

Google also con­tin­ues to de­velop its Lo­cal In­ven­tory Ads pro­gramme, which al­lows mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing to be tar­geted to con­sumers based on whether a given prod­uct is in stock at nearby retail out­lets, and even in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on how far away a con­sumer is from a given store. “Re­tail­ers’ mis­take num­ber one is that they are sim­ply not there at the con­sumer's mo­ment,” global vice pres­i­dent of prod­uct man­age­ment and shop­ping at Google, said at World Retail Congress 2015 in Rome. “We see our­selves as a con­nec­tor, we con­nect con­sumers with the re­tailer they need.”

Why it’s in­ter­est­ing: Why it’s in­ter­est­ing:

Google is find­ing new ways to build com­plex, nu­anced data pools on con­sumer be­havio8ur and har­ness th­ese in­sights for ad­ver­tis­ing. The in­creased de­sire of con­sumers for real-time, lo­ca­tion- sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion also speaks to the grow­ing im­por­tance of mo­bile in driv­ing retail.

Shyp by Jack Smith, Joshua Scott and Kevin Gib­bon, San Fran­cisco

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