Video: Last Week in Local Nov. 20, 2017
Mike Blumenthal

Last week in local 11/20/2017

Join Local U for the latest public episode of Last Week in Local, a weekly conversation about the articles that attracted our attention during the past week ending Nov. 20th. This week features Mary Bowling & Mike Blumenthal.

If you have a special topic you would like us to discuss for our other weekly feature, the Deep Dive in Local, or if you would like to be on one or the other of our segments, reach out and send us the topic and your availability. If you are interested in sponsoring this weekly show also please let us know.


Amazon Go is nearing the finish line – Business Insider

Walk in, put some into your basket and walk out… volia you purchased it. Now they are coping with edge cases like 3 co-workers walk in in costume… can they recognize them (hmm begging to sound like a joke?).

Amazon to launch pop-up stores in specific Whole Foods markets

Amazon said today that Whole Foods customers in 100 stores will be able to shop for Alexa and Kindle devices. Special pop-up stores will open in several markets: Chicago, Illinois; Rochester Hills, Michigan; Davie, Florida; Pasadena, California; and Denver, Colorado. Amazon personnel in these pop-up shops will also be promoting Prime and Prime-related services.

America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning

America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning

The root cause is that many of these long-standing chains are overloaded with debt—often from leveraged buyouts led by private equity firms. There are billions in borrowings on the balance sheets of troubled retailers, and sustaining that load is only going to become harder—even for healthy chains.

The debt coming due, along with America’s over-stored suburbs and the continued gains of online shopping, has all the makings of a disaster. The spillover will likely flow far and wide across the U.S. economy.

Just $100 million of high-yield retail borrowings were set to mature this year, but that will increase to $1.9 billion in 2018, according to Fitch Ratings Inc. And from 2019 to 2025, it will balloon to an annual average of almost $5 billion.

The surge in demand for refinancing is also likely to come just as credit markets tighten and become much less accommodating to distressed borrowers.

The Cause and Consequences of the Retail Apocalypse

Private equity firms overburdened businesses with debt, and now workers are paying the price. Will policymakers do anything about it?

7 retailers that are ripe for acquisition 

Nordstrom, Abercombie & Fitch, Macy’s, Kohls and a  few more are likely to loose their independence as a result.

Google updates mobile product knowledge panels to show even more info in one spot

Products + Local Stores + Reviews in a new, totally immersive shopping environment. Google will be damned if they give one more product search to Amazon.

Where Is The Customer Love? A look at online reviews and customer fee…

All the current research in consumer reviews and how to best take advantage of the reality (hint: it’s not by buying them 🙂 )

Study Shows Big Drop in Consumers Visiting Websites after Reading Reviews – BrightLocal

We’ve been talking about this for over a year but many consumers are stopping at Google, reading the reviews AND then making a decision.

Do Review Stars on Google Help Click-Through Rate?

This study showed that review stars in search engine results significantly improve click-through rates, by as much as 35%.

Where to go next with your Google My Business listing

Placeable’s Brian Smith reminds us to make sure we are optimizing our GMB listings as much as possible. Some of the things he mentions that are pretty critical are getting your map pin and categories right.

ZipSprout | Matching businesses with local SEO and marketing opportunities.

Megan Hannay and her team at ZipSprout are busy getting a new product ready for market. It’s a tool for agencies to use to research sponsorship opportunities in different geographic areas. It will include a scoring system and filters to enable us to pinpoint the best opportunities for particular businesses.

At LocalU Advanced last week, Joel Headley talked about using schema to get more features in the SERPs. This solidified my perspective on schema – use it for the features it drives. You may have to partner up with big platforms that have partnered with Google to get some of the features.

Google rolls out AdWords promotion extensions, custom intent audiences & ad variations for testing

Offers are back in the form of AdWords “promotion” extensions. They allow you to easily add an offer to any existing ads you have.

Is Direct Traffic a Ranking Factor? – Web Marketing School

Martin MacDonald considers whether direct traffic is a ranking factor or not. There are good arguments in the comments by some really smart people, too. IMO, direct traffic is a result of building your brand, so it’s a good indicator of that whether it has anything to do with ranking or not.

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