Google Express, new name, new cities, plus alcohol

Google ExpressA year ago, a Google Shopping Express driver delivered a box of granola to a customer and a new idea was born. Since then. . . I don’t know what’s happened since then because I forgot the service even existed until I saw yesterday’s big announcement.

It’s actually a three-part announcement. First, Google Shopping Express is changing its name to Google Express. (Remember when Fedex was actually Federal Express?)

I want to order something just to get one of those cute, new parachute (not a drone) bags.

The name change doesn’t seem like a big deal but it’s both a risk and a good idea. Google Shopping Express is long and that’s why people naturally shorten it. But when you take out the word “shopping” does it sound like a fast search engine? Amazon Express – we get it. Google Express – not so sure.

41 percent of shoppers plan to spend more online this holiday season

PWC holiday onlineThey say there are two sides to every story and when we’re trying to predict what consumers will do it’s oh, so very true.

Last week, the National Retail Federation predicted a 4.1% increase in holiday buying this year. I’d call that cautiously optimistic. This week, PwC and Strategy& released their holiday predictions and it’s not nearly as rosy.

According to the “2014 Holiday Outlook: Top trends, consumer behaviors and implications for retailers” report, average household spend will drop from $735 in 2013 to $684 in 2014.

The problem is that darned, old economy. 72% believe that the economy is the same or worse than it was a year ago so conversely, they plan to spend the same or less than last year. That doesn’t mean they plan to buy fewer items, it just means they need to find better deals on the items they need.

Channel Sponsors

Positive fem-vertising makes women more likely to buy

A showerDove is known for their ethereal, ‘you’re perfect just the way you are’ ad campaigns but I don’t get it. Yesterday, I saw a TV commercial where women are asked if they want a make-over, then they’re offered nothing but a shower and Dove moisturizing body wash. The women laugh nervously – a shower?

At this point, I can only hope that these are actors and the whole thing is staged because the only thing worse than being told you need a make-over is being told you need a shower.

Dove calls these commercials empowering. All women are beautiful – as long as they have smooth skin.

At least they’re trying to push the right buttons.

Friday Round-up: Twitter fights for transparency and Amazon gets physical

celebrate-the-little-thingsDid you have a good week? Maybe you had a breakthrough? Sales are up, complaints are down – celebrate the good and let the rest go.

That’s the advice portion of the post, now on to all the news that was too (insert adjective) to print.

Twitter Fights for Transparency

Twitter filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for the right to publish their full transparency report. Right now, they’re forbidden from publishing the exact number of national security letters (“NSLs”) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) court orders received, even if that number is zero. Twitter feels that people have a right to know if the government is requesting information – and it’s not like they want to hand out names and dates. All they want is the right to say if it’s 1 request or 100.

The top 10 global brands: this time it’s personal

Interbrand just released their annual list of the most valuable brands in the world. What determines value? Three things:

  • The financial performance of the branded product and service
  • The role the brand plays in influencing customer choice
  • The strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company

Without looking at the chart, I bet you can guess who came out on top.

Top Global brands

Just looking at the top ten (the list goes to 100), a couple of things jump out.

First, there hasn’t been much change over the past year. The top six companies have maintained their rank even though one, IBM, went down 8% in value.

Ads coming to Snapchat? They’re already here.

SnapchatDigital clutter is a real thing. All those text messages and photos and videos piling up on your phone. . . if only they could simply disappear when you were done with them. . . .

That’s the concept behind Snapchat. Send photos and videos to your friends, they mark the ones they want to keep, everything else self-destructs seconds after it’s viewed. No more digital clutter and it’s also a super way to make sure mom never sees that sexy photo you sent to your new boyfriend.

Snapchat may have a bad reputation among those over 30 but for girls under 25, it’s magic.

The app has more than 100 million users. Business Insider adds on these facts:

Will polls make Google Plus posts more engaging? Yes or No?

When Google Plus announced the release of the new poll widget, the one thing they didn’t do was put up a poll asking people how they feel about it. Is it a welcome option or a poor attempt to keep people on the site longer?

We know people love polls. We can’t resist sharing our opinion when all we have to do is click.

I put up a poll, answered my own question then was surprised by the fact that two more people responded within minutes.

Polls on Plus

That’s more engagement than I’ve seen on Google Plus since I created my profile! Maybe there is something to this poll thing.

The trouble with Google Plus has always been a lack of agreement on the numbers.