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Why Is Best Buy Thriving In The Amazon-Age?

A bit of housekeeping.  You may have noticed a lapse in this weekly newsletter.  Please forgive me. 
Things Marketers Should Know
Why Is Best Buy Thriving In The Amazon-Age?
By Rob Bettis • Issue #1 • View online
A bit of housekeeping.  You may have noticed a lapse in this weekly newsletter.  Please forgive me.  I have been working through a new workflow to make the newsletter content better and easier to produce.  This is issue #1 of that new flow and I hope the improvements are noticeable and valuable.
Because of the lapse, you will notice some of the items below aren’t from this week.  I wanted to highlight several important items that happened since my last newsletter.  Moving forward, the stories will be more timely, unless there is value derived from zooming out and looking at the broader picture. 

Notables
If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably read my beliefs about the future of marketing - that it will be defined by human connection.
Rᴏʙ Bᴇᴛᴛɪs
Today, we measure marketing by attention. But, in an industry increasingly dominated by AI, Chatbots, & ‘Big Data’, the future of marketing will undoubtedly be measured in human connection.
——
The Future Of Everything That Matters In Digital Marketing https://t.co/sOGvLpzfzt https://t.co/Pn1Roe8Fhv
6:22 PM - 25 Jun 2018
Best Buy is already providing a wonderful example of this and I love it:
Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon - Bloomberg
Best Buy’s better-known Geek Squad deploys agents to help customers with repairs and installations. The advisors act as, in Best Buy’s language, personal chief technology officers, helping people make their homes smart or merely more functional. Some in this group worked on the Geek Squad, some as retail staff, a few were lured back to Best Buy, and at least one was employed by companies that Best Buy put out of business. They’ve already learned about the devices and appliances they can offer: TVs, sound systems, refrigerators, washing machines, security cameras, doorbells, garage doors, and smoke alarms, as well as Amazon Echo and Google Home and Apple HomePod, and smart shades and lighting and thermostats.
“Everyone thought we were going to die”
They’re supposed to establish long-term relationships with their customers rather than chase one-time transactions. They won’t need to anxiously track weekly metrics and, unlike the Geek Squad and blue shirts working in stores, they’ll be paid an annual salary instead of an hourly wage. Their house calls are free and can last as long as 90 minutes.
Best Buy, the last national electronics chain, is counting on these advisors to distinguish it from Amazon.com Inc., the company’s competitor, partner, and would-be vanquisher. With more than 1,000 big-box stores in North America and about 125,000 employees, Best Buy was supposed to have succumbed to the inevitable. 
Those years were about getting people into Best Buy stores and onto its website; Best Buy’s future will be about getting its people into homes. Joly, who made a surprise visit to talk with the trainees, explains the importance of this strategy: “That lets you have a real conversation. You can talk about what’s possible, be human, make it real.”
Instagram continues its march into e-commerce.
Instagram's new shopping bag icon adds e-commerce element to advertisers' Stories - Marketing Land
Starting today, certain advertisers can add a shopping bag icon to their Instagram Stories that will display more details about the featured product.
Clicking on the shopping bag icon can display various types of product information, including more images of the featured product, images of other products contained in the story, descriptions and pricing information for the product and links that lead directly to the brand’s website to purchase the product.
The announcement says users can shop from “select” brands in Instagram Stories, with more coming soon, so the shopping bag icon does not appear to be available to all advertisers at this time.
Twitter Continues Degrading Third-Party Clients
Twitter has a problem. A significant percentage of Twitter users (estimated at roughly 30%) access Twitter through a third-party client like Tweetbot or Twitteriffic. This alone isn’t a huge problem. After all, in the beginning of Twitter, there were only third-party clients. But now, many of Twitter’s ‘power users’ still prefer the third-party client experience.
But here is the real problem - Twitter is trying to find (and refine) its monetization strategy and most third-party clients filter out ads.
This leaves Twitter in an interesting predicament. Do they alienate the power users that made their platform mainstream or optimize for monetization?
If you look back at the previous few years, it seems Twitter is choosing the 💰.
As outlined in The Verge piece below, every few quarters Twitter announces new changes to the APIs third-party Twitter clients use to access the network. With each change, the window to offer a full-featured, third-party Twitter client gets a little smaller. Curiously, Twitter has also recently sunset it’s official Mac app, leaving many of its most loyal users scratching their heads.
Twitter is going to make third-party apps worse starting in August - The Verge
Twitter has long had a strange disdain for third-party Twitter apps, but it’s allowed many of them to pass under the radar for the last several years. That’s starting to change this summer, when Twitter will revoke a key piece of access that developers currently have to the service, replacing it with a new access system that limits what they can do. The changes aren’t going to make third-party Twitter clients useless, but they are going to make the apps somewhat worse.
The changes, which go into effect August 16th, do two main things: first, they prevent new tweets from streaming into an app in real time; and second, they prevent and delay some push notifications. Neither of these are going to break Twitter apps completely, but they could be very annoying depending on how and where you use it.
In a more recent Bloomberg piece, it seems Twitter is capitalizing on the recent Cambridge Analytica drama at Facebook to expedite (and mask) their timeline for eradicating third-party Twitter apps as a security/privacy enhancement:
The changes are part of Twitter’s efforts to avoid the public scandal that has befallen its larger rival, Facebook Inc. after it was revealed that one of its outside developers gave information on millions of users to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked on Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign. Since then, Facebook has made a slew of changes to limit how much user data is available to developers and other third parties. Apple Inc. has also changed its App Store rules to limit how developers use information about iPhone owners’ friends and other contacts.
To rein in the ability of bad actors to create spam on Twitter, the company is also limiting the volume of engagement. For instance, apps will be limited to tweeting and retweeting 300 times every 3 hours though they can apply for more access. The company is also making it easier for users to report apps that produce spam or invade user privacy.
Regardless of how you slice it, Twitter is slowly eroding the user experience on third-party clients, and in doing so, it is alienating many (very many) of the network’s early adopters and power users.
It will be interesting to see if the fallout from abandoning early adopters is offset by the advertising potential that exists only in Twitter’s official apps.
Follow Up
I wanted to provide a quick update from a post I authored last week.  In the post below, I outlined what I thought to be a hypothetical (but looming) scenario where Amazon blatantly undermines a brand selling its coffee in the Amazon Marketplace.  As it turns out, this scenario isn’t hypothetical at all. 
Retail Brands Still Don’t Understand Amazon
This week, while searching for my favorite whole bean decaf coffee on Amazon, I saw this very thing in the wild.  To my surprise, there were not one, but two Amazon brands advertised on the product page of the coffee for which I ‘Subscribe & Save.’  
Two ads for Amazon brands, both with "prime" billing. (Amazon puns!)
Two ads for Amazon brands, both with "prime" billing. (Amazon puns!)
Tools, Tips, & Tricks
If you are like me and you use Markdown to create written content, check out this open source tool that converts Markdown to Medium-friendly text. 
Markdown To Medium - The fastest way to get your Markdown post onto Medium
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Thoughts, comments, feedback, or inquiries?
Drop me a line - me@robbettis.com
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Rob Bettis

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