Location Weekly – Episode 447

Kicking off the new year with exciting news from various industries.

This week, our podcast starts with a new app for location based tool rental Leveld, Canada Goose creating store experience with snow and ice and JP Morgan Chase offering DashPass to premium cardholder members.

We continue with a groundbreaking step from the longest running musical of broadway, the famous Phantom of The Opera becoming the 1st in the industry to leverage Alexa, Earth Fare going with Mood Media for upgraded digital signage and Sprint & Wirecard teaming-up on IoT payments.

Well, a busy week for location based marketing is never a surprise and Location Weekly is once again here to update you on all that is going on. Do not forget to let us know what you think after you listen!

And if you want to read it?
Here is the full transcript:

Location Weekly – Episode #447

[Asif] All right. We’re back with your favourite podcast show of the week. This is Location Weekly, episode number 447. And we’re recording live on January the 13th. Hope everyone is well. Aubriana. How are you?

[Aubriana] I’m doing great. It’s early Monday morning. It is still dark here and rainy. And we are recording much earlier than usual because we’ve got lots going on. But we are here for you guys and excited to deliver some stories on location. How are you doing?

[Asif] Yeah, I’m good. I’m good. It’s it’s absolutely it’s early. But, you know, I have to. Aubriana is accommodating me. I have to hop on a plane to get to NRF. We’ve got an LBMA event there tomorrow evening with Carsten and some Europeans members and whatnot that are gathering together there. And I’ve got a couple other events while I’m there as well. So busy week, but they’re all busy weeks. Aren’t they. So…

[Aubriana] They are. We’re both accommodating because we have internal strategy meetings the next few days here for GathrLab. And so, yeah, we’re just so in a few different directions.

[Asif] Cool. Well, why don’t we just jump right into it then? We’ve got three industry news stories, three-member news stories, and as always I’ll let Aubriana start us off.

[Aubriana] All right. Well, I’m going to kick it off with more of an announcement of a new company that’s coming on the scene in the share economy. And I like this one. I think this is pretty cool. It’s called “Leveld”. I really like the name because when you hear what it is, it makes complete sense, but it’s just level with a D. No, not e.d. So Leveld. And it is for location based tool rentals. So let’s say you have a special project. You need some special tools. You can rent some tools without having to go to Home Depot and probably pay way more than you would. And also, if you have lots of tools that you know are not currently being used, you could make a few bucks by renting those out. So it’s obviously it’s enabling specific tool and equipment rental from nearby locations and people it’s peer to peer transactions similar to what we’ve seen with like I’m trying to remember all the different ones, the like the moving stuff, the moving ones. I’m trying to I know Iike Bungee there’s a few other ones. I know. I’ve used some of them. Yeah. And so, yes, very similar to all of those except with tools. And so right now this is currently in. It’s called Innovation Depot, which is kind of an incubator, you know, type of play that’s based in Birmingham, Alabama, of all places, which is kind of random, but it’s there. 2020 velocity accelerator cohort. So each company that’s another is like eight companies. I think that they’ve chosen each of them are receiving 50.000 $ from the Velocity Fund, which is supported by regents’ Bank, BBVA, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, UAB, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and comes help a bunch of other ones. Right. Construction companies, all of these different companies that have, you know, put money in and to be a part of this and the companies go through this 13 week business and leadership development course and then at the end. And so this started, just starts today, actually. And this will culminate on what they call Demo Day, which is an island city on April 21st. So we’ll see how level does. But, you know, I think this makes complete sense. Like, you know, something like a pressure washer. You know, we had to borrow a line from our neighbor or we were gonna get one from Home Depot. But they’re kind of pricey. So something like this is a great option, I think. And also, you would I don’t know about you, but for me, you would much rather give a few bucks to somebody who maybe needs to make some more money on the side rather than the big corporation down the street that makes a lot of money. So I liked it. Good story.

[Asif] Yeah, I do, too. I think it’s you know, it’s a great spin on kind of the whole sharing economy model, whether it’s Uber, Zaarly or TaskRabbit or all these kinds of companies we’ve talked about over the years. I think this is a market that you know works well in this type of category. I think these typically these types of tools that you’re talking about, whether it’s a pressure washer or a floor sander or something like that, it’s not something you necessarily need, you know, to go and buy and have like is part of your regular tool arsenal on a regular sort of week to week basis. But periodically you need this kind of thing if you’re doing some kind of renovation, special clean up or, you know, whatever it is, make over on a floor or a room or whatever. And you want to have access to the right tools. Right. Because the right tools get the job done properly. Right. Instead of trying to, you know, Mickey Mouse it. So but yeah, we’ve all been there. We’ve all kind of gone to Home Depot or Lowe’s and kind of rented a tool or up here in Canada we used to have this company called Stanley that would rent tools. And, you know, it’s not cheap and I like the idea of just finding somebody nearby using location data, you know, to kind of take a tool that somebody owns and kind of it’s this or underutilized, you know, sort of, you know, the under economy right up, just kind of finding new ways to generate revenue off of goods you already have. And in a similar way, it early used to know, like, if you want to go skiing, it’s your first time. You go buy any set of skis, you know, find somebody on your street who is a regular skier. Maybe they have an old pair, maybe they got a pair that they’re not using right now or whatever, and you can rent them from your neighbors and that kind of thing. And I think it makes a ton of sense to me like that. I like that it’s in a start-up incubator environment. I like that they’re kind of got a little bit of seed capital and kind of a support of of a community that’s always good for startups like this to be in those kinds of environments.
We have many of them up here in Toronto or the Waterloo area and so on. We’re sort of just breeding startups and kind of pushing them out into the world. So, yeah, I’m excited about it. I think it’s it’s an interesting market. And, you know, we’ll see how it plays out, I guess, but, Leveld, cool.
All right. Shifting gears now, coming coming to my, you know, my hometown here in Toronto, which is the headquarters for Canada Goose Holdings Inc. Now Canada Goose, if you’re not familiar with it, they’ve got these really expensive winter parka jackets. You know, they’ve been a big thing up here for a number of years. I know they’re quite popular in the U.S. right now. I don’t know if you if you own one of these Aubriana. You’ve seen them around Atlanta. Might not.

[Aubriana] No.

[Asif] It might not be the place where you need one of these. But in New York, apparently they’re everywhere. But it’s a very well, you know, a very, very big popular brand with celebrities and many folks. It’s a thousand dollars U.S. for basically a parka. So these things aren’t cheap. But in order to promote sort of the merits of the and the quality of this product, what they did up here this year is they just opened up a new sort of showroom type store.
You walk in, it’s filled with snow. The temperature in there is -12 C, 10 F. To get in into the room, you know, the temperature controlled room, you have to cross this thing called the crevasse, which is an icy rock face. And like, literally, they have ice like on a floor that you’re walking and it’s cracking and all that kind of stuff. So they’re trying to kind of create this wintery sort of you’re outdoors, you know, walking in the snow, in the ice and feeling the temperature environment all put together with 4K video walls of Canadian landscapes. And so it’s a complete experience center. And obviously you put on one of their coats and you kind of walk through this experience and you feel how warm and cozy and what a thousand dollars can buy you is. And all of that. And then there’s like a touch screen tour guide kind of experience. You know, it’s described in the article I read is the Disneyfication of retail. And I think that’s that’s true. It means all of that. How do you create experiences? How do you get people to kind of feel and embrace and, you know, think about what it would be like if they had this, you know, this jacket on in the environment. So kind of fine. Kind of cool. The interesting thing about it is you can’t actually buy the product from the store. So they don’t have the they don’t carry any inventory there. It’s basically an experience center, kind of promote the brand and get you connected with it and then you can order your product from the store before you leave and then it’s shipped out to really catalog. So from the touch screens and all that sort of stuff. So really, really interesting. Kind of cool. I get to go see if it’s still, still operating. I wouldn’t mind checking, you know, in person. So.

[Aubriana] You should definitely check it out. You know, I remember like when I was in college having a big puppy The North Face jacket was all the rage and you had to have one. But they were like 500$. And so I save my money and me and my boyfriend at the time – now it’s my husband – we went to New York. We bought our The North Faces. And it was like a big deal, but we did not have an ice room to walk through. But yes, I think this is really cool. I love that it’s a good experience. I kind of it kind of makes me hesitate to say, like, why would they not have an inventory right there? Because I think, like, when you’re touching and feeling and trying something, you definitely want to be able to walk out the door with it. But I think this is great for experience, great for obviously putting the actual product to the test. Probably not so great for employee claims. Slip and falls like frigid weather. I don’t know, but it sounds like a fun, fun thing to test out. You should definitely go see it.

[Asif] They didn’t say for most customers, like when you kind of walk out and you order from the digital catalog before you leave, the product is shipped like same day, like you should get it, you know, the same day. So at least you can really.

[Aubriana] That’s almost instant gratification.

[Asif] Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know if it’s like using fulfillment by Amazon or what. I don’t know. But it’s quite cool experience. I like it. I’m going to go to see if I can track it down and check it out.

[Aubriana] Good. All right. So our next story is kind of more, I would say, like in the loyalty play. And I think this is a really cool story. This is JP Morgan Chase. And so if you are a Chase Sapphire, Freedom or Slate cardholder, you now have an extra perk. So definitely take advantage of this and check this out. But you can now have a DoorDash subscription. So this is great. You know, if you like to order for convenience or, you know, you just don’t feel like getting in the car with the kids to go find something to eat when you’re running low on groceries. I love DoorDash. I love all of this convenience apps. You know, Instacart, any of those things will now consumers are going to be able to have unlimited food orders for zero delivery fees and a discounted or reduced service fees. So for Saphire Reserve and preferred members, they get a whole year membership, which is valued at over a hundred dollars. And then if you are a let’s see, freedom, freedom unlimited, freedom student and Slate member, you get three months for free and then the remaining nine months, you get a 50% discount. So what I really like about the story is it’s like finally, you know, a bank or a credit card or, you know, a credit union. Any of those things are providing real loyalty and value here because this is something that most people use.
So I like that there’s like real rewards here and not just some crazy point system that gives you some discount on something later in time that we really know you can probably go find cheaper somewhere else in that moment. So this kind of reminded me recently I’m a Verizon wireless subscriber and one of the perks I got was I got a free year’s subscription to Disney+, which just came out. And so I was very excited about that. You know, I have little kids. Disney+ is awesome. I’m not having to buy like all of these movies anymore. And and so, you know, to me, I was like these are types of partnerships and rewards and things that not only provide the company insight on their consumers, but also provide real value and rewards an increased value. So it made me feel like I want to continue to be a Verizon wireless subscriber because they get me, they’re giving me more. I have good service. All of these other things. Right. And I think that probably JP Morgan Chase consumers will feel the same with a loyalty or kind of a perk like this. I like the story. I want to see more like this, more partnerships like this in 2020, more loyalty plays like this and less of the, you know, crappy points for redemption and things like that.

[Asif] Yeah, I think I completely agree. I think this is a really solid partnership. I think this is a great benefit to card cardholders. You know, and I think for me, I was thinking, is you were talking about kind of the data analytics side of things, obviously, you know, what we’re doing with GroundLevel on the cannabis side. And one of the things that we were trying to do there is help brands understand what the affinities and kind of cross-promotional opportunities are between different brands that are complementary or services. And I see that here. Right. Like in this sector, if you look at it, we say, OK, you know, we’re providing our cardholders a value added service here. But, you know, the question is, is that OK? These people are. You know, they’re eating anyways. They’re going to certain restaurants. These restaurants have dash pass, you know, customers. And there’s a good correlation between our member base and and the customers of these restaurants and who are using Dash, you know, already, or we can tell that they want to. And so finding ways to for logical kind of data, you know, sort of validated partnerships, I think makes a ton of sense. Right. And so, yeah, I’m excited about this. I hope that we’re going to see more of these. I mean, there’s good value here. So it’s a 100$ for DashPass membership. Right. So, you know, just providing that is you know, just something you get is a chase card holder member. You know, I think it’s kind of cool. I’m a little bit envious. We don’t have this up here in Canada. So bring it. Bring it on. Come on. So come on, Amex. Come on. Let’s go. Yeah. So but good value there all around and I hope to see more partnerships like that.

So that’s our three industry news stories for this week. We’ll shift over now to our member news. And I’ll start that off with a story about our good friends at Amazon and in particular, Alexa have teamed up with the Phantom of the Opera.

[Alexa] I didn’t find a device named TV.

[Aubriana] Sorry, that was Alexa, heard her name, apparently.

[Asif] Amazing. She’s always listening. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. Yeah. So she’s teamed up with the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, which is the first musical to leverage Alexa now. And so they’ve built this Amazon Alexa skill that lets fans order tickets and pay for them using Amazon Pay and Telecharge directly through their Amazon Alexa. They worked with an AI developer company called Broadw.ai which I love. The spelling is BROADW.AI. Yeah. Really, really cool. So obviously these guys specialize in working with musical theater and the Broadway scene.
And so the skills simply called Phantom. And. Yeah. Like I think it’s interesting. I think we’re going to see a lot of this this year in terms of just more and more skills being developed, more and more brands taking advantage of how they can use voice to simplify the ordering process in that we’ve talked a lot about our voice on this show and how commerce is being taken over with that and location search and how those things intersect. So I like this.

[Aubriana] I like it, too. I mean, the only thing I can think of is like the Phantom of the Opera theme song, kind of going through my head over and over again right now, which I will not sing just because I respect. I respect Broadway way too much for that we don’t want to do a huge disservice.
But yeah, I mean, for me, I’m like, well, how often are you actually ordering? You know, Phantom tickets. But I think it’s cool that it’s available, right? Again, like ordering through voice. The ability to do things more conveniently and quickly and easily. I always love that. So. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s fun and it’s with the art. So anything that we can do to elevate the arts and make it more convenient for people to participate in that I think is great.

[Asif] Yeah. I think if you can use this kind of skill like to order multiple different Broadway shows, it’s like if you’re a regular Broadway goer let’s say or theater goer in general. I think, you know, being able to kind of order tickets for any show, kind of just adding them into the mix here would be cool. So, yeah, I hope it sort of evolves into that.

[Aubriana] Yeah. I mean I like tickets to a show. So if you have any extra feel free. I’m in New York often. I would love to join you.

[Asif] Yeah. Yeah. We’ll meet my wife and I, we just bought tickets to a show and it’s coming to see in a couple of weeks. It’s what it’s called Come From Away. I don’t know if you… So it’s done very well. It’s this show about during 9/11 when all the flights were shut down and all the planes in the air had to find somewhere to go. They all landed in Newfoundland, up in Canada and a whole bunch of them. And so there was like all these people all of a sudden who landed there in this small little town. And all the locals basically took them into their homes and kind of like, you know, fed them and, you know, entertain them and do so. So it’s about that.

[Aubriana] Sounds like a beautiful story.

[Asif] Yeah, it’s interesting. All right.

[Aubriana] All right. Good date night. So the next story is about mood media. So I remember a few weeks ago we talked about how Mood Media was merging their three separate teams of Techno Media. So this seems to be sort of a small sample of what we can expect to come and what we’re gonna see from that so Earth Fare, which we used to have in our, just down the road. I loved Earth Fare’s great organic grocery store. I think it’s based out of Asheville, North Carolina. And unfortunately, it’s no longer here, but there are still some around. And they have a store in Charlotte, North Carolina. So this wonderful organic grocery store and they have upgraded their cafe now to digital signage from media. So there’s like the menu boards with targeted messaging that we talked about, you know, sort of bringing in that, you know, the timeliness of not only just like the menu and what’s available within the cafe, but, you know, different messages, live sports, streaming, weather conditions, all different announcements, kind of like, you know, filtering through so that the patrons and participants that are there in the cafe can kind of stay up to date. So, you know, for me, I’m like, this is nothing groundbreaking. But I think this is probably a small sample of what we’re going to expect to see in terms of more growth on the digital signage side of Mood Media and not just, you know, the music, a piece of what they’ve done and what we’ve been used to from media for so many years. So I like this. You know, I think that when one company is in control, maybe of some of these different things, you think about the different consumer touch points. So there’s the site piece of it. There’s the hearing piece of it. Right. And how that influences them and how that creates a better shopping experience and just make things more seamless instead of, you know, consumers maybe being down looking at their phone when they’re in the cafe, they can kind of be looking up and around the store and kind of taking in what’s around them and further enjoying what’s going on in that retailers location. So I like this. You know, I think this is, like I said, small story, nothing groundbreaking, but I think this is probably just a small taste of what we can expect to see from Mood Media in 2020.

[Asif] Yeah. No, I think this is a good story. Obviously, Mood Media has been a long time THE LBMA member company and they’re always kind of, you know, pushing the boundaries. We’ve talked about them a little bit on the show. You know, in the last quarter. And, you know, while we’ve never had a place in Canada that I’m aware of anyways, you know, it sounds like a fabulous place. And, you know, for me, the one of the interesting takeaways from reading this story is that they’re using something called the Mood Harmony Platform, which kind of brings all these digital assets together from a management perspective. And I guess I don’t know how many stores Earth Fare has now, but from sort of a head office perspective, from a management perspective, through the Mood Harmony platform, they are able to control they say 180 displays and 400 media devices across all of the stores. So I’m assuming this is like all the digital signage, all the audio music, music platforms, you know anything else that they’re using across the sort of Mood ecosystem has a central management capability and they’re able to kind of look at that and make sure that it’s all consistent and, you know, sort of working the same in every store and achieving the same goals and kind of looking at this or measurement and response from that sort of like a sort of a single dashboard. So I like that idea of it in particular. So, yeah, I mean, I expect we’ll hear more much more this year from Mood on the digital signage front. But for me, for me, the big the big plus here is sort of the centralized management control of the content across the store network.

All right. Our final story. Remember, story is about our friends at Wirecard, big German payments platform company recently entered the North American market and they’ve announced at CBS that they have teamed up with Sprint. And it is interesting. Back in, I want to say September, October, I was in New York for a sort of a Wirecard launch event that they put on in. And Sprint was one of the speaking companies there that they had brought to the event. And so is I’m reading this story this week, I was like, oh, OK. So they’ve finalize this agreement between the two. So they announced this at CBS last Wednesday. It’s a new collaboration that brings together Wirecard’s sort of commerce, payments platforms, together with Sprint’s curiosity platform, which is their IoT – Internet of Things platform. And together, they’re calling this the Internet of Payments. And so I like that term. I think it’s an interesting way to sort of bring these two environments together. They talk about sort of bringing the IoT Internet connected device sphere with sort of real time data always on and sort of how that sort of data flows, you know, from an IoT platform and how the commerce data from the transactions and all of that can kind of sync up with that. And I think it’s interesting because often, you know, you hear about, you know, whether it’s MasterCard or Visa, Amex or whoever we’re talking about. You know, you got these payment terminals, you get the transactions happening and sort of there’s there’s sort of the data that comes from that, which is extremely valuable in any retail setting. You’re kind of just know what transactions are like, what people are buying, how much they’re spending, what the average is, all those kinds of things. But often those you know, that data is not connected to other platforms. You know, we talk a lot in our industry about this three layer location cake at THE LBMA. I like this idea up through the middle layer of micro location technologies, beacons and Wi-Fi and all those types of technologies you know to kind of push offers and messaging and discounts and coupons and all that type of stuff to influence purchases. But what we often say is, is it sort of falls apart because this this internet connected device doesn’t then integrate to the transaction layer at the top of the cake. It doesn’t talk to the CRM or the loyalty systems or the actual payment platforms. And I think that’s kind of what this initiative speaks, you know, to me about. It is kind of the bridging of those two things of the IoT sort of knowing what’s going on and who’s there and what’s happening in the building and how you can link that up to the actual CRM loyalty transaction piece of the puzzle. So it’s a step in the right direction for me. Great collaboration between Sprint and Wirecard.

[Aubriana] Yeah. You know, I feel like Wirecard is one of those companies that we’ve talked a lot about in the past probably six months, and they’ve just been making a lot of big moves. You know, from an international front, left and right. And so it looks like they have been selecting some really good key players in terms of partnerships and how they are leveraging those relationships in order to work their way into new territories such is North America. I think we saw them in China, you know, before. And so we’ve kind of seen them really trying to diversify where they’re going and taking a multi-pronged approach. And so I think that’s really smart from a business perspective and obviously it seems to be paying off for them. So I would anticipate we’ll have more announcements in terms of like partnerships and teaming up on payments from Wirecard this year. If this trend continues. So…

[Asif] There you go. And that’s our show for this week. You’ve been listening to episode #447 of this week or no this week. I always say that, no, Location Weekly got to get it, 447 of Location Weekly. And we just thank you for listening and watching every week. If you have story ideas, please reach out to us. If you have feedback, criticism, you know, let us know about that, too. Please give us some stars, some likes, all that kind of stuff on whatever platform you’re consuming this on. And just thank you for listening, watching every week, guys. We appreciate it and have a great week.

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