BrainTrust Query: SoLoMo Strategies in Retail
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current
article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.
EBay is at it again. They
acquired Where, an advertising company that serves ads to mobile phones based
on the user’s location. Amazon also seems be buying up SoLoMo (Social/Local/Mobile)
companies, and Walmart’s acquisition of Kosmix indicates they’re entering the
fray. So that got me thinking what each might be planning.
This is nothing new for Amazon, which has made many technology acquisitions
over the years to bolster its e-commerce experience. They practically invented
social commerce with product reviews and lists, and their mobile apps have
been top notch. I haven’t seen much in the realm of local beyond their attempts
with AmazonFresh, their grocery delivery service in Seattle. I think they continue
to focus on leveraging technology to deliver the best online experience possible,
including leading-edge offerings of digital content. (Did you get your Amazon
cloud drive yet?)
After stumbling with Skype, eBay has made a few good acquisitions, especially
in the mobile arena where they are a clear leader. EBay Neighborhoods was their
best attempt to add social features to their platform, and they have done some
work within Facebook as well. Milo helps with local search, and GSI is an opportunity
to host other retailer websites. PayPal has the most game-changing potential
and continues to drive significant business. But the whole strategy feels like
keeping up with Amazon without truly differentiating.
There are few success stories for online retailers opening physical stores,
but it has always been much easier for established brick-and-mortar retailers
to go online. That puts Walmart at an advantage over eBay and Amazon. If they
can expand their webstore and tightly integrate it with established stores
(omni-channel), then they have a leg up on both Amazon and eBay. Walmart can
use its size to keep prices low, use local stores to cheaply ship products
to doorsteps, and use social and mobile efforts to accelerate all sales. I
wonder if “Project
Titan,” its online grocery test, is a first step in that direction.
of what these three giants do, every retailer needs to consider its own SoLoMo
strategy. Acquisitions aren’t required, but partnerships are better than starting
Discussion Questions: Which retailer — Amazon, eBay or Walmart — appears to be in the best position to take advantage of the SoLoMo (Social/Local/Mobile) opportunity at retail? Does a stronger online or brick & mortar component provide any ease of entry? What steps should guide any retailer’s initial SoLoMo strategy?