Going Local…..Getting Closer to Home

Several interesting items have crossed my screen recently and they all point to the increasing importance of all things local.  For example eBay has just launched same day delivery for some of its products in certain markets….as always San Francisco gets to go first along with Las Vegas….(SF always gets to play with the cool stuff first). In general terms if it can’t be streamed real time I can wait a day or so to get something delivered. eBay is initially targeting local businesses looking for same day delivery of business supplies. I think that’s a little like cheating as these companies are typically set up for same day in town delivery so it’s a natural fit. It’s going to be harder to shorten those delivery chains for products not already set up for same day delivery. I recall back in the early days of dot com 1.0 there were a bunch of companies attempting to do things like grocery delivery and pretty much anything else online. Amazon has made a huge business doing what Sears and Roebuck was doing back in the days of the wild west. It’s a traditional paradigm brought up to date and made more local by technology. What’s much tougher to do is changing the paradigm rather than substituting sub components…either way local is driving the opportunity. Google recently announced ZIP code targeting and congressional district allowing politicians of all stripes to reach out to their constituencies through search. Will it make politicians more honest or interesting….probably not, but it will allow those who want to to target down to a level which they used to have to do door to door. It’s the same problem with a technology solution.

At the base of much of this change is the smart phone which is revolutionizing how we do a range of things. Amongst them is search. Mobile search is showing dramatic growth and as always the advertisers are lagging  behind usage. We spend over 10% of our time looking at mobile devices but they only garner 1% of ad spend. The logical advertiser base for the kind of intensely local products and services is also the most technology averse and skeptical group; the Small to Medium Business. That audience loves proven ROI…let’s expand the paradigm to a larger audience, imagine a scenario where a local business could advertise on search to a hyper local audience paying commission on deals driven to them through search or mobile media. Social media should (in theory) be a great source for similar transactions.

The lines of communication are compressing, we can order anything online and maybe get it delivered locally same day. Our politicians can get to us easier, advertisers, national and local can reach out to us based on our location and interests. The traditional barriers to privacy and access are being chipped away at as part of our pact with technology and convenience. Feeling a little claustrophobic by now…yeah me too.

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