Ep 30: Walmart Deliveries for SMBs, SMB Social Media Disconnect, Apple Maps Reviews

Ep 30:  Walmart Deliveries for SMBs, SMB Social Media Disconnect, Apple Maps Reviews
Photo by CardMapr.nl / Unsplash

Part 1 Video Starts 00:13 -  GoLocal: Walmart's Last-Mile Delivery Service for SMBs

Part 2 Video- Starts 8:28 - The SMB social media disconnect: what SMBs THINK consumers want is not what they want

Part 3 Video- Starts 15:25 - With recent roll out of Apple Map reviews, how should a business or agency be thinking about them?

Reference Articles:

  1. GoLocal: Walmart's Last-Mile Delivery Service
  2. The SMB Social Media Disconnect
  3. Small Business Now Report: What Customers Want to See in 2021 and 2022
  4. Reviews on Apple Maps: A Complete Guide

Transcript: Episode 30

Greg: All right. Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 30 of the near memo with Mike David and me. Greg. And, um, we're excited to now be in the top 1% of all podcasts in terms of longevity. I think, um, if non

David: listener base, if not listener base

Greg: and listener base too, it's why we're taking million dollar sponsorship opportunities just to contact us at this email address anyway.

Um, no, we're, it's, it's, it's been fun and, and, and we're. As they say in all the tech press releases, we're just getting started. One of my favorite tech cliches. So on that note, we've got a lot of stuff to talk about this week. As we take a look at the world of local search, social and commerce or search social and local conferences, the case may be.

And so, um, that's, uh, that's the topic for David's item, uh, with the Walmart. So why don't you dive in for

David: sure. So Greg [00:00:59] highlighted. I think it was Wednesday's newsletter, uh, this past week a program that I had not been aware of, uh, called go local from Walmart, which essentially is a. Sort of like a gig style, local delivery service, where they, uh, they sort of handle the logistics of, of recruiting drivers and delivering, uh, physical goods in a certain, a certain area.

Um, sort of like, uh, Amazon prime, same day delivery, but for, uh, for Walmart goods. And the interesting thing that Greg highlighted this, uh, this week is that that's now expanding. Uh, to small businesses or, or presumably anybody who's in the Walmart marketplace as a seller can now leverage this, um, this on-demand kind of local delivery service.

And it struck me that I, I, I also remembered a press release from last year that Walmart and Shopify have already partnered, [00:01:58] um, where Shopify sellers now have a fairly easy. Uh, integration into the Walmart marketplace and it just, it strikes me, this opens up a lot of really interesting opportunities for small businesses, uh, to combine potentially the, not just the.

Th the, the built-in audience that walmart.com is already potentially bringing to a small business, uh, econ, an e-commerce small business. Um, but also the, you know, potentially the SEO leverage that you can get from walmart.com, product inventory pages, as opposed to your own, which you're probably not going to rank, you know, on a very small site.

And then also Walmart handling this sort of local. Uh, fulfillment, um, potentially it really gives a way for local businesses to, to scale into another channel very, very easily. Um, and I think that that's, it's just a really like Walmart as an innovator, you know, is not necessarily two words you'd put together very often, but it seems like they're making a real [00:02:57] go at, uh, at, at at least chipping away at, at sort of Amazon's e-commerce domain.

Um, and partnering, partnering with small businesses as opposed to putting them under, um, which has been their historical emo in the brick and mortar space. So a very interesting story and, and kudos to Greg for, for highlighting it, uh, because despite the fact that we all follow similar sources, I think, uh, Uh, that one had not come across my inbox.


Greg: well, I mean, what's, what's interesting to me is I think as you point out is that Walmart and or Walmart plus Shopify represents this alternative universe now for small business merchants, you know, you can, you can exist entirely outside of the Amazon ecosystem and potentially, you know, be successful.

The one. Thing that, um, might be an issue for some very small businesses is the API integration, you know, so that, so you don't have to be a Walmart seller market, part of the marketplace to use the go local. [00:03:56] Uh, delivery infrastructure. Obviously, if you do both, it's potentially beneficial as you point out.

But what about that issue of if

David: forget, given they already have it given that they already have this partnership with Shopify, theoretically that that's the integrations

Greg: ready to go. I could place, but apparently you have to do an API integration for the, for the delivery side of it. So that's the

David: only, which I would suspect is coming very soon, given that.

VP of business development at both companies are already connected so well that's obviously, yeah, it's an obstacle, but I see this as a pretty natural, relatively short term follow on that is kind of exciting from a, you know, potential standard.

Greg: So, so, so just a quick, quick question. So we talked some time ago, uh, with April Underwood, who's got a, um, Who's got a new startup that just raised a re relatively

David: nearby, right.

Nearby. [00:04:55] Yeah.

Greg: We recently raised, I think a $21 million series, a, something like that in the last couple of months. And what she's trying to do is, I mean, they're still trying to figure out all the dimensions of this, but th but it's a kind of end to end. E-commerce enabling enablement service for small businesses.

They, they, they help them market online. They pick up the goods, you know, they, they handle the logistics of delivery. So this is, this is a sort of, uh, uh, you know, another effort to do something like this, you know? Um, and as we all know, the small business market is so. Heterogeneous and diverse and fractured that there's going to be no single winner or multiple winners even, but, um, on the, on the B2B side, at least what do you, what do you think about the outlook for, for somebody like her in this kind of environment now with, with, with, uh, you know, these big players.

Handle kind of [00:05:54] consolidate distribution

David: and yeah, I mean, I think that there's a place for her, for sure. Regardless of how successful this Walmart rollout is. I think. You know, clearly Shopify at least thus far has sort of begun and ended with the online purchase and that this, that there is a place for multiple sort of last mile players.

Um, and I think that she has, uh, she has every chance of succeeding. I mean, yes, Walmart's a big company with a lot of resources, but this isn't clearly is not the only thing that Walmart does. Uh, and so the, her sort of laser focused on this problem, I think, you know, she could still. Very well succeed. So, and we certainly, at least I certainly wish her luck.

Greg: Absolutely.

Mike: It's not clear that Walmart can support many businesses developing into this API. It's not clear that they can support businesses that have problems. We don't, there's a lot of distance from here to there, but as far as Walmart not being, you don't think of them being innovative. I mean, obviously I grew up in a period where [00:06:53] they innovated massively around supply chain and have pushed that lead to really be the biggest retailer in the world.

So, you know, and then we also see Amazon proposing opening 30,000 square foot stores in Ohio and California.

David: I should say, I should qualify that as being a technology innovator, right.

Greg: And employee employment innovator. Although I think, I mean, I think that, I think the culture of Walmart has changed somewhat over time for the better,

Mike: yes.

I do see the likelihood that these marketplaces become hegemonic one or two of them, it's likely that that's going to happen. Right. I mean, it lends itself to that, whether it's Amazon and Walmart, we don't know, but that's a very likely outcome given how the network effects and all the other things

Greg: work online.

Well, I mean, that's, that's the sort of strange paradox or disconnect between the consumer [00:07:52] side of the, and the sort of B2B world, right? The, the Scott Brown. 85,000 logos now on the B2B side, and you've got like three, you know, on the three or four on the consumer side. And it's just, it's kind of crazy, I guess.

I guess part of the reason for that is because there's still so much consolidated power on the consumer side that everybody's all the, uh, the effort is going into sort of the, the, the back end. Um, so, um, So, I guess I'm, I'm up next, uh, with a, um, kind of tidy into the small business theme, uh, there was a call rail report last week that we wrote about that was kind of interesting about, um, small businesses and what they want and what they're doing with digital marketing.

We talked about their need for strategic advice, as opposed to just sort of delivering leads. And there's a kind of follow on to that. There was a constant contact piece that came out. That was pretty interesting because it talked about [00:08:51] what, I mean, it talks about a number of things it's in the, um, I think it's in the Monday newsletter, but it, but it, it kind of conveys a disconnect between.

Um, small business marketers and their audience, and you know, it, it consistent with the, with the call rail findings, social media is the top channel that is used. So typically what you get is you get social media, email and websites as being one, two and three, depending on the survey with social media in a invariably at the time.

Um, and so that th this is, this is consistent with that 63% of the small businesses using social media to promote themselves 55% have a website, which was slightly higher than the CallRail number, but still kind of dull, not very high it's shockingly low. And then, and then 52%, 52% doing, doing email marketing.

But what's interesting is that on the consumer side, they also asked consumers. When do you typically tend to buy what prompts you to make purchases [00:09:50] emails? Number one, text messages. Number two. Call out to lead Ferno and, uh, social media number three. So you've got a 43% gap between social media, the number one promotional tool and social media, the, the, the, you know, the consumer buying channel.

And that was just an interesting point that goes to the larger, um, question of whether or not these sort of small business owners. Uh, really know their customers and really know their customer's behavior. And they were, the survey also showed that they were pretty confident that they did, they understood, but the, the consumer data suggests that they don't, they're not really in sync now.

So when social commerce really kicks in Facebook and Instagram are doing it too, tucks doing it, Pinterest is doing it. You know, all the platforms are doing it to varying degrees. When that really kicks in, then you may, then you may see a change. Um, but right now there seems to be a pretty big gap between what small businesses think their [00:10:49] customers are doing and what the customers say.

They're actually.

Mike: And this is a gap that Dave gave a nice hot local youth for the last 10 years. Literally, it's been very consistent as sort of misalignment of resources with, right?

Greg: So interestingly, Utah

David: goal, you know, goals, goals with channels, right? I mean, social media is incredibly useful channel, just not a particularly transactional one.

Um, and so if businesses, you know, are consistently saying, oh, I want, you know, what do you want to do with your digital marketing? I want to get more clicks. Social media is not the place you should look for that. If you want to say, I want to grow my brand and build awareness and I'll build loyalty with my great social media works really well for that, but it's definitely email and search when it comes to, you know, where, where you're actually going to get done.

Well, interestingly

Greg: search isn't even on here strangely, maybe it's further down. Yeah. But, and, and then in the CallRail sets, uh, survey, uh, you know, I, I, I mentioned that it was only [00:11:48] 15%, one, 5% of these businesses doing SEO or local SEO, which was kind of another shocking tracking number, but. The point you bring up in a way is about multi-channel coordination of your marketing, right?

People sort of thinking of one channel for awareness and another channel for transactions. I think historically that's been very, very difficult for small businesses who really want to focus on fewer channels or concentrate their efforts on one area

Mike: it's been hired for big

Greg: business. Absolutely.

Absolutely. Yeah. It's a, it's a mess. I mean, tracking, you're tracking your, your leads across, you know, sort of multi-touch attribution and what really is working. Is as much a nightmare for many enterprises as it is for small businesses. But, but you know, Mike, you were talking before we started this call about your, um, your hair cutter.

Your arrest, what do you call it? It's a lot. Your stylist.

Mike: My, uh, I wouldn't call it stylist given the consistent cut [00:12:47] for the last 40 years, but, but she's a stylist. I'm not a style

Greg: receiver who, who may not intellectually understand. I mean, you were talking about it in a slightly different context and understand some of the principles of marketing, but it's a very savvy, intuitively savvy business person.

Um, pretty well for herself during this COVID period. Um, you know, I, I wonder why more small businesses don't sort of extrapolate from their own behavior into, into marketing, right? Like everybody uses Google. Why don't they just make that leap? I'm using Google. So it must have my customers also.

Mike: Right for her, her primary communication with clients who she now deals with directly is SMS, which is, which had reached out to her.

Greg: Right. Which is sort of ironically the cutting edge now in a certain weird weirdness.

Mike: Correct. And I mean, the reason is that she's intuitively in touch with people's needs. She listens when they say I need X, she does X. [00:13:46] Right. And that's really, she's empathetic. And. Smart in that sense and that sort of type of intelligence, and as a result has been able to survive, even though there's a shit storm going on.


Greg: I just curious why more small business owners don't take their own experience or their anecdotal experience of their friends and family and customers. And then use that as a

Mike: guide. Although, interestingly, I did offer to do a sort of Google my business pro bono for her. And she said, let me think about it right now.

You know, I'm not looking to grow my business. I'm very happy with the one-on-one relationships I have, but I'll, I'll get back to ya. So, you know, and I understand about given that she is basically creating a boutique experience. Everybody, her shop is only open to you when you're getting your hair done.

Even though it's got four seats, it's only you right now. An incredible experience for me, it was like, whoa, this is nice. And

Greg: Mike, how [00:14:45] did you find your stylist? What, what methodology she

Mike: did? She was the stylist. She was the one, my wife.

Greg: I'm giving you an opportunity.

Mike: I know I'm missing the cue, but it didn't add well, if you could pretend like it was word of mouth referral.

Greg: All right. But that's yes. So

Mike: she was willing to come to my house. He cut my hair on the porch during the depth

Greg: of the view to get to her shop. And you didn't know how to get to her shop. How might you go about doing that? Might you have taken, do you use apple maps? And speaking of apple maps,

Mike: I don't, I haven't checked with her.

She's on apple maps. She is on Google. All

Greg: right. Enough with this, with this hairstylist. So

Mike: speaking of apple maps, as I wrote an apple, uh, introduced reviews, apple maps that are just reviews, it sticks. This week, I wrote a detailed guides, apple review, apple maps, reviews, and your media. And [00:15:44] it's interesting, uh, both as a indicator of long-term direction of apple.

Um, it's interesting because what does it say about what will happen to their relationship with Yelp? Um, for example, and it's interesting because it seems to imply that apple is moving towards a discovery environment as part of part and parcel of a bigger plan. Well, I know from people talking to people in the industry that apple has been going around asking for the big listing services to provide original photos.

I know that we know that iOS 15 is going to have any more visual, uh, Siri search function, where they show pictures more predominantly, uh, Apolis clearly been developing spotlight and Siri as a search function within the phone. And I, so I, somebody asked me, you know, what should a business do? And I went to look at a couple of clients, 30 to 50% of their web traffic was coming from iPhone.

Obviously a [00:16:43] lot of that was coming through Google, but Levon to 22% of their new clients were coming directly from apple in one form or another. Now, as David pointed out in the pre-check, that's probably. Navigational or recovery searches, but it does indicate that there's a fair bit of action there going on.

Obviously apple perceives it as a long-term opportunity. And so I think small businesses and businesses in general should minimally manage it. They're listing at apple, perhaps even get a few reviews there so that they sort of are covering their reputation basis and they need to keep an eye on it as a potential replacement for reviews, it Yelp reviews and Facebook reviews and everybody else because Google, apple plays the long game and.

The fact that they've started this now means that three or four years from now, they're going to be serious about us. Like they are, you know, they're serious now about maps. It took them a long time to get there, but [00:17:42] I think it's true. We

Greg: jump into, um, more discussion about this just real quickly, cause I know your, your piece is great and it gives people a very detailed overview of the, some of the differences with Google.

Could you just quickly summarize, because I don't think you mentioned that. How, how has, how has the new apple maps native. Tools, how are they different from Google?

Mike: Right? So it is, it doesn't allow for any text input, which is unusual, but it does have a number depending on the industry you're in, it's a thumbs up or thumbs down top level evaluation and then two or three additional attributes about that business that you can thumb up, thumb down.

Which they then present only in summary. You can't go in and see who left a review. So you can only see that 92% are happy. 95% found the customer service. Good. And that is displayed very prominently on a local business listing in apple maps. Uh, but no texts. Kind of CRA it's halfway between a [00:18:41] rating and review.

It sort of has more information than a rating by virtue of having attributes, but doesn't have the nuance of written text, which makes Apple's job of moderation a whole lot easier. All they have to worry about is whether the pictures are obscene or not, or violate some, one of their codes. So it makes moderation easier.

Because of these are known identities. Everybody has to have a apple ID. It's much easier for mot for managing and kicking people out of the review program. If it's abused at billows where you've been, in fact in one place are viewed. They said I'd been there the day before on the, um, the panel. And, uh, they knew I'd been very, I actually had just rode my bike in front of it, but they thought I'd been there.

So there's, I think in terms of spam of bait, I think it's, it's, it's a breath of fresh air to have a general review site. That's going to have this type of control. Uh, and it may save the review industry from the likes of Google and Amazon.

David: I'm struck by [00:19:40] the, uh, how opposite Yelp the whole experience is.

Uh, it is the, to your point, there's not even a place to leave any texts. It is the anti long-term. Review to it's reduced to its purest form, uh, essentially with the thumbs up, thumbs down. So, um, I think that that's interesting given how focused on user experience apple is as a company that, uh, they've clearly, they've clearly done the research that I think all three of us have suggested Yelp, uh, think about, uh, in terms of what consumers actually want, uh, when they're, uh, Where to go, where to go, what, uh, who to, who to buy

Greg: from.


Mike: and an interesting sidelight on the Yelp story when their breakup with Google in 2008, 2009 was largely due to the fact that Google wanted an international review recently. Worldwide and Yelp just wasn't able or willing to deliver that. And one guesses [00:20:39] that apple has a similar worldwide need. They released this in 68 countries and 28 different languages.

And, you know, in one country they're using Foursquare in another country they're using Yelp and other countries are using TripAdvisor. So one assumes they have a similar need for worldwide consistency of presentation and quality. And, uh, and again, it's likely to grow very slowly. Three or four years, right?

I think a couple of David's. Did

Greg: you have a follow-up that you wanted to say? Yeah. So a couple of, couple of points that I would make, um, you know, Yelp had its elite squad, which was sort of the, the, the core group that was, that was trusted and doing a lot of the reviews, at least early on Google. Took that concept and then blew it up and now, you know, has 150 million or whatever.

The latest number is, local guides are out in the world. And they're the primary sources of, of most of these reviews. Apple doesn't have anything comparable to that, but I'm aware of, so that, it'll be interesting to see that as a kind of expert variable [00:21:38] in terms of, they

David: do have fan boys like Mike though, but I wouldn't undressed.

I wouldn't, I mean, it's sort of a joke, but I wouldn't understand. The power of the sort of apple brand for certain people and wanting to help apple build out its review Corpus purely because of the affinity they have for the company. And if


Mike: search for an apple store in London or China, you will find apple reviews on those stores.

And unlike on Google

Greg: though, unlike a Google, they really do this sort of proximity as to spam control. You won't be able to. Right reviews all over the world as your customer, uh, you know, accustomed to doing Mike for all these things, it's all over the place

to make, or was, um, uh, uh, you know, what, we see what we see Yelp Yelp originated on the desktop and then had to adapt to the mobile environment and, and Google to a degree too. Although the reviews came later for that. This is a [00:22:37] purely, this is a native mobile experience. And I wonder if that is the driver behind the, the text removal.

David: It does also exist on the apple maps desktop app. I tested it this morning. It wasn't

Greg: believable, right? That's the Mo it's a mobile first existence and, and the desktop is a nice to have for them, but it's, but this is what a mobile design.

Mike: It's not a very nice app. It's the lamest app you've ever sat on the desk.

Greg: It's it's, it's, it's not primary here, but I mean, this is, this is correct. You know, writing a lot of texts, even if you could dictate it on a mobile device is problematic, you know, sort of dictating and then cleaning up the text with it, with your finger. After the fact, this is a much cleaner mobile experience, I think.

And then

Mike: in one presumes that they will moderate the images. Machine learning some human modern missionary

Greg: scam, whatever it needs, [00:23:36] whatever the acronym is. Never. I, I sort of did dyslexic CLI swapped the letters. So the final point on this item, I think is the, is the thing that you raised earlier with Mike, which is the, the discovery search piece of it.

I mean, one of the reasons, you know, Google has it's massive search. Experience. And then, and then reviews are a piece of that. You're looking for business

Mike: and a massive relationship with apple, right? That search experience.

Greg: You rely on Google to discover businesses that you don't already know about best, you know, Indian food, uh, cheapest, whatever, whatever.

And, and that's, and then you look at the reviews as a secondary matter right now, not withstanding what you were talking about with your current customers, that with their traffic, the Google. Apple doesn't really, I mean, they have Siri search spotlight search, but they don't really have any kind of comparable discovery experience.

I mean, does this sort of. More aggressive moves [00:24:35] in that direction, around local information.

Mike: I think it absolutely does. There are. I mean, we, you know, we've seen them, like I said before, we know that they're going out, looking for original photos, we know an iOS 15, they're looking to upgrade the search experience with spotlight more visuals.

So I think that, you know, an apple works very slowly and the six month development cycles. And so I think what we're seeing in spotlight and Siri is. A nation search engine. That is a feature of the phone rather than a standalone application. And I think it's going to take time for people to understand that I use it all the time, but I, as AF, as David pointed out, I'm an apple fan.

You know, and I'm sitting in a conversation with people and there's a point of fact, I just do a voice search and up comes, whatever the answer. And so I think it'll take people time to learn those behaviors, but I think ultimately they will. And I think apple is betting and I think it will be for the better of the environment all the way around businesses.

Greg: What's also [00:25:34] interesting. I mean, we're, we're sort of at time here, but what's also interesting is this.

Mike: That's right.

Greg: Well, it's, it's I, my personal theory is that people are not as wedded to Google on the phone as they are on the desktop. And then it's easier to displace Google on the phone, on the iPhone in particular.

And so I think, yeah,

Mike: yep. $15 billion. So you're right. So we'll

Greg: see

Mike: Google's payment to apple for last year's delivery up the iPhone users. It's a pretty astounding number.

Greg: Okay. All right. Well, um, there's always as always, there's more to talk about. We'll be back next week with more and thanks for joining us.

Thanks for listening. It's always read the newsletter. Subscribe, tell your friends, and do you want to say anything?

Mike: And we would love for you to join us in our weekly conversation for me, I think I've said this before. It's one time in a week where I get to think about [00:26:33] the big things that are going on and yeah.

That you can too. Thanks for joining us.