x5: Danier Is Back, Amazon Opens Convenience Stores & More

October 17, 2016 Eric Mercer



x5 is our news update that covers the 5 things that happen in tech each week and why they matter.

Amazon to open convenience stores

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning on launching physical convenience stores in order to sell perishable grocery items. This would involve shopping locations, as well as a drive-in pick-up service. The WSJ reports that Amazon could be opening one of these locations in Seattle as soon as within the next few weeks.

Why This Matters

Amazon already tried to get into the grocery business with Amazon Fresh, but it was slow to roll out and only available in a small number of locations around the US. This move would put Amazon even more directly in competition with retails giants like Costco and Walmart. Major retailers in Canada and the US have tried the drive-in pick-up approach, but have not been able to scale to widespread availability. This move also plays into the Amazon ecosystem, which has been rapidly growing since the introduction of Echo and Alexa. Now, a consumer could simply rattle off a grocery list to Alexa via the Echo in their kitchen, ask her to schedule the pickup for their commute home from work that day, and set a reminder with directions to the nearest pickup location. If a system like this were to come to fruition, it would ensure that some consumers never set foot in a grocery store again – which is a very big deal.


GM introduces ‘new advertising platform’ – OnStar Business Driver

GM unveiled the new platform at this year’s Dreamforce conference (hosted by Salesforce). The platform offers geo-targeted advertisements to drivers through a screen with the vehicle’s dashboard. Advertisements can offer driving directions to physical storefronts, as well as discount codes and sales offers that are emailed directly to the driver.

Why This Matters

This may well be a new channel for advertising. How long this will remain an advertising channel is yet to be seen. In the short term, the major obstacle that GM will have to overcome is serving up ads that are not considered a distraction (Waze currently serves ads once a driver has stopped) or that are considered annoying by drivers. Looking long term, we can see that we are moving towards autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, which will likely have an affect on car ownership. If consumers are sitting in their cars being driven around by AIs, there will be an opportunity for this new advertising channel to flourish: consumers will be more open to reading ads, even watching videos, and could simply press a button to change the route of the vehicle. Either way, this is another example of how our lives are becoming more and more connected through the development of the Smart Car.


Danier is back

Danier, previously knows as Danier Leather, is back in action under new leadership. The brand has dropped the word Leather from its name, which will allow them to expand their offering into other areas of outerwear and fashion. Stores are already opening in Ontario (Oshawa, Burlington and Newmarket).

Why This Matters

Some marketers believe that it is more effective to revamp a brand than create a new one (e.g. Old Spice). This is an example of that. Under their new ownership and leadership, Danier will attempt to win back the loyalty of Canadians. Many have speculated on why Danier failed. One common perspective is that the company discounted their goods so frequently and held so many sales that they trained their customers to wait until sales to purchase – causing immense financial strain and degrading the brand. The question now is whether or not they’ll be able to alter the brand perception with their new strategy.


Kraft Heinz to work with  Toronto startup Sampler

After winning Kraft’s “Digital Innovation Challenge”, Sampler will participate in a “Test & Learn” campaign with Kraft Heinz Canada involving two of the company’s leading brands.

Why This Matters

Another example of a Canadian startup that is gaining traction and attention from a large US client. Sampler offers its clients the ability to hyper-target which consumers they would like to deliver product samples to. This offering could significantly impact the way CPGs engage in sample-marketing, as well as dramatically improve the ROI on sample (something CPGs struggle with).


Drone-maker Zipline delivers medical supplies to Rwanda

Zipline International has developed a partnership with the Rwandan government to deliver medical supplies around the country. The drones use fixed wing technology, rather than quadricopter like most drones, which allow them to fly longer distances. The drones drop their packages roughly 40 feet above their targets.

Why This Matters

This is another great example of how drones can be used to improve life around the world. This program was built specifically for countries that lack the infrastructure to transport important supplies (like medicine) around the country. Because these countries lack the proper infrastructure, many people can die from the spread of common and curable diseases. This program is an un-intrusive way to deliver supplies without having to train the local aid workers on how to pilot or use the drones.zipline-international-inc-drone-i_cbc_ca

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