Twice this year Google has attempted to buy a leg up in the local commerce arena and twice they have failed. Last January they made a run at Yelp and last week the target was Groupon. Google, it would seem, is convinced that the small business local market is the next source of growth for them and they really haven’t come up with an effective way to get a piece of the local ad business. They do have some assets that could be useful in the local commerce battle, specifically maps and places but certainly those assets aren’t enough to get the big gun engaged, the Google ad platform. Anyway, the point is that Google once again validated that local is one of the important trends in the new world of commerce that is rapidly gaining momentum and I’d say validated in a “big” way considering the almost $6B offer Google made for Groupon, a company with somewhere between $500M – $2B in revenue (depending on who’s report you believe).
I started talking about the new world of commerce in this post a few weeks ago and it’s getting clearer to me just what trends are coming into play to create a new approach to commerce. The first trend is the move to a hyper-local approach to business as evidenced by Google’s attempts to get engaged somehow in the local ad business. Here are what I believe are the key technology and behavioral shifts that are driving “new” commerce:
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