February 6, 2017

Amazon Fires a Super Bowl Warning Shot to Brick-and-Mortar Businesses


If you were watching the Super Bowl 51 ads closely, you might have noticed Amazon putting brick-and-mortar retailers on notice. During a 10-second spot known as “Finger Lick,” a couple in their home watching television restock on Doritos by telling Amazon Alexa to “reorder delivers from Prime Air.” Then a voiceover announces, “Look for delivery soon” as a drone hovers outside the couple’s window. Very clever.


The ad was another reminder that Amazon is going to continue stepping into the turf defended by U.S. businesses that manage multiple brick-and-mortar locations. Amazon has already launched drone delivery in the United Kingdom, and getting necessary government approvals to do the same in the United States is going to take some time. But make no doubt: Amazon has the muscle and money to fight U.S. brick-and-mortar businesses for on-demand customers.


We saw other signs of Amazon’s intent when the company launched physical book stores and then announced the roll-out of Amazon Go grocery stores, which promise a frictionless shopping experience. But brick-and-mortar businesses don’t have their hands tied behind their backs. They have plenty of tools at their disposal to compete. For instance, Walmart’s pilot Pickup and Fuel stores offer dedicated drive-through for shoppers to pick up online grocery orders, and 7-Eleven has been piloting drone delivery in Nevada for months.


We recommend that brick-and-mortar retailers:


  • First set a foundation for stronger location marketing by getting the basics right: for example, ensure that your location data is accurate and that your content is optimized for search, especially mobile search.


  • Take a closer look at your customers’ on-demand habits. As Google has been noting for months, consumers in general are using mobile devices in “micro-moments” to make split-second decisions about where to go and what to buy.


  • Capitalize on something that Amazon does not have: an in-store experience. For instance, how well are you taking advantage of event-based marketing to create in-store promotions and integrating those promotions with your online content?


At SIM Partners, we work all the time with brick-and-mortar businesses to strengthen their location marketing through our Velocity platform, which manages location data and content. (In 2016, we introduced “Ride There with Uber” functionality to Velocity so that your customers can order Uber rides to your business directly from your location pages.) Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

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