Macy's has acquired New York-based concept shop Story and named Rachel Shechtman, Story's founder, as brand experience officer.
Read more: cnbc.com
Macy's has acquired New York-based concept shop Story and named Rachel Shechtman, Story's founder, as brand experience officer.
Read more: cnbc.com
When I wrote about The Golden Age of x86 Gaming, I implied that, in the future, it might be an interesting, albeit expensive, idea to upgrade your video card via an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.
I’m here to report that the future is now.
Yes, that’s right, I paid $500 for an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to fit a $600 video card, all to enable a plug-in upgrade of a GPU on a Skull Canyon NUC that itself cost around $1000 fully built. I know, it sounds crazy, and … OK fine, I won’t argue with you. It’s crazy.
This matters mostly because of 4k, aka 2160p, aka 3840 × 2160, aka Ultra HD.
Plain old regular HD, aka 1080p, aka 1920 × 1080, is one quarter the size of 4k, and ¼ the work. By today’s GPU standards HD is pretty much easy mode these days. It’s not even interesting. No offense to console fans, or anything.
Late in 2016, I got a 4k OLED display and it … kind of blew my mind. I have never seen blacks so black, colors so vivid, on a display so thin. It made my previous 2008 era Panasonic plasma set look lame. It’s so good that I’m now a little angry that every display that my eyes touch isn’t OLED already. I even got into nerd fights over it, and to be honest, I’d still throw down for OLED. It is legitimately that good. Come at me, bro.
Don’t believe me? Well, guess which display in the below picture is OLED? Go on, guess:
@andrewbstiles if it was physically possible to have sex with this TV I.. uh.. I'd take it on long, romantic walks
— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) August 13, 2016
There’s a reason every site that reviews TVs had to recalibrate their results when they reviewed the 2016 OLED sets.
In my extended review at Reference Home Theater, I call it “the best looking TV I’ve ever reviewed.” But we aren’t alone in loving the E6. Vincent Teoh at HDTVtest writes, “We’re not even going to qualify the following endorsement: if you can afford it, this is the TV to buy.” Rtings.com gave the E6 OLED the highest score of any TV the site has ever tested. Reviewed.com awarded it a 9.9 out of 10, with only the LG G6 OLED (which offers the same image but better styling and sound for $2,000 more) coming out ahead.
But I digress.
Playing games at 1080p in my living room was already possible. But now that I have an incredible 4k display in the living room, it’s a whole other level of difficulty. Not just twice as hard – and remember current consoles barely manage to eke out 1080p at 30fps in most games – but four times as hard. That’s where external GPU power comes in.
The cool technology underpinning all of this is Thunderbolt 3. The thunderbolt cable bundled with the Razer Core is rather … diminutive. There’s a reason for this.
Is there a maximum cable length for Thunderbolt 3 technology?
Thunderbolt 3 passive cables have maximum lengths.
0.5m TB 3 (40Gbps)
1.0m TB 3 (20Gbps)
2.0m TB 3 (20Gbps)
In the future we will offer active cables which will provide 40Gbps of bandwidth at longer lengths.
40Gbps is, for the record, an insane amount of bandwidth. Let’s use our rule of thumb based on ultra common gigabit ethernet, that 1 gigabit = 120 megabytes/second, and we arrive at 4.8 gigabytes/second. Zow.
That’s more than enough bandwidth to run even the highest of high end video cards, but it is not without overhead. There’s a mild performance hit for running the card externally, on the order of 15%. There’s also a further performance hit of 10% if you are in "loopback" mode on a laptop where you don’t have an external display, so the video frames have to be shuttled back from the GPU to the internal laptop display.
This may look like a gamer-only thing, but surprisingly, it isn’t. What you get is the general purpose ability to attach any PCI express card to any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port and, for the most part, it just works!
Linus breaks it down and answers all your most difficult questions:
Please watch the above video closely if you’re actually interested in this stuff; it is essential. I’ll add some caveats of my own after working with the Razer Core for a while:
Make sure the video card you plan to put into the Razer Core is not too tall, or too wide. You can tell if a card is going to be too tall by looking at pictures of the mounting rear bracket. If the card extends significantly above the standard rear mounting bracket, it won’t fit. If the card takes more than 2 slots in width, it also won’t fit, but this is more rare. Depth (length) is rarely an issue.
There are four fans in the Razer Core and although it is reasonably quiet, it’s not super silent or anything. You may want to mod the fans. The Razer Core is a remarkably simple device, internally, it’s really just a power supply, some Thunderbolt 3 bridge logic, and a PCI express slot. I agree with Linus that the #1 area Razer could improve in the future, beyond generally getting the price down, is to use fewer and larger fans that run quieter.
If you’re putting a heavy hitter GPU in the Razer Core, I’d try to avoid blower style cards (the ones that exhaust heat from the rear) in favor of those that cool with large fans blowing down and around the card. Dissipating 150w+ is no mean feat and you’ll definitely need to keep the enclosure in open air … and of course within 0.5 meters of the computer it’s connected to.
There is no visible external power switch on the Razer Core. It doesn’t power on until you connect a TB3 cable to it. I was totally not expecting that. But once connected, it powers up and the Windows 10 Thunderbolt 3 drivers kick in and ask you to authorize the device, which I did (always authorize). Then it spun a bit, detected the new GPU, and suddenly I had multiple graphics card active on the same computer. I also installed the latest Nvidia drivers just to make sure everything was ship shape.
It’s kinda … weird having multiple GPUs simultaneously active. I wanted to make the Razer Core display the only display, but you can’t really turn off the built in GPU – you can select "only use display 2", that’s all. I got into several weird states where windows were opening on the other display and I had to mess around a fair bit to get things locked down to just one display. You may want to consider whether you have both "displays" connected for troubleshooting, or not.
And then, there I am, playing Lego Marvel in splitscreen co-op at glorious 3840 × 2160 UltraHD resolution on an amazing OLED display with my son. It is incredible.
Beyond the technical "because I could", I am wildly optimistic about the future of external Thunderbolt 3 expansion boxes, and here’s why:
The main expense and bottleneck in any stonking gaming rig is, by far, the GPU. It’s also the item you are most likely to need to replace a year or two from now.
The CPU and memory speeds available today are so comically fast that any device with a low-end i3-7100 for $120 will make zero difference in real world gaming at 1080p or higher … if you’re OK with 30fps minimum. If you bump up to $200, you can get a quad-core i5-7500 that guarantees you 60fps minimum everywhere.
If you prefer a small system or a laptop, an external GPU makes it so much more flexible. Because CPU and memory speeds are already so fast, 99.9% of the time your bottleneck is the GPU, and almost any small device you can buy with a Thunderbolt 3 port can now magically transform into a potent gaming rig with a single plug. Thunderbolt 3 may be a bit cutting edge today, but more and more devices are shipping with Thunderbolt 3. Within a few years, I predict TB3 ports will be as common as USB3 ports.
A general purpose external PCI express enclosure will be usable for a very long time. My last seven video card upgrades were plug and play PCI Express cards that would have worked fine in any computer I’ve built in the last ten years.
External GPUs are not meaningfully bottlenecked by Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth; the impact is 15% to 25%, and perhaps even less over time as drivers and implementations mature. While Thunderbolt 3 has "only" PCI Express x4 bandwidth, many benchmarkers have noted that GPUs moving from PCI Express x16 to x8 has almost no effect on performance. And there’s always Thunderbolt 4 on the horizon.
The future, as they say, is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.
I am painfully aware that costs need to come down. Way, way down. The $499 Razer Core is well made, on the vanguard of what’s possible, a harbinger of the future, and fantastically enough, it does even more than what it says on the tin. But it’s not exactly affordable.
I would absolutely love to see a modest, dedicated $200 external Thunderbolt 3 box that included an inexpensive current-gen GPU. This would clobber any onboard GPU on the planet. Let’s compare my Skull Canyon NUC, which has Intel’s fastest ever, PS4 class embedded GPU, with the modest $150 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti:
1920 × 1080 high detail
Bioshock Infinite15 → 79 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider12 → 49 fps
Overwatch43 → 114 fps
As predicted, that’s a 3x-5x stompdown. Mac users lamenting their general lack of upgradeability, hear me: this sort of box is exactly what you want and need. Imagine if Apple was to embrace upgrading their laptops and all-in-one systems via Thunderbolt 3.
I know, I know. It’s a stretch. But a man can dream … of externally upgradeable GPUs. That are too expensive, sure, but they are here, right now, today. They’ll only get cheaper over time.
[advertisement] Find a better job the Stack Overflow way – what you need when you need it, no spam, and no scams.
Read more: blog.codinghorror.com
Stardew Valley is the gift that keeps on giving.
One day you could wake up to a new patch, another mod (if you play on PC), or in this case, a massive multiplayer update. Live today at 11AM ET, Stardew Valley receives its long-awaited multiplayer patch, which went into beta testing recently. All is well it seems and developer ConcernedApe has confirmed that it will be pushed live, as planned.
Interestingly there’s an addendum about the other versions in the statement today — “the multiplayer update will next be coming to Nintendo Switch, and then Xbox One & PS4.” So if you happen to play on Switch, you can expect a “soon(tm)” release in the near future.
Read more: destructoid.com
The embroidery artist with a graphic design background shared her most recent work on reddit where it briefly held the top spot on the popular subreddit /r/pics. To see more beautiful embroidery check out her work at the links below.
Read more: twistedsifter.com
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Costco and Sam’s Club are extremely popular in the United States, and while memberships are needed to buy items, the food courts are open to all.
We decided to compare the food from two of the biggest bulk retail chains in the country: Costco and Sam’s Club.
Both had nearly identical set-ups and price points, but Costco’s larger selection and shockingly good quality won out in the end.
Costco and Sam’s Club are shining basilicas of American bulk shopping.
Within their hallowed — and exclusive — corrugated-metal-and-concrete walls, shoppers grab pounds of pasta and peanut butter amid miles of aisles of marked-down goods.
There is virtually nothing that isn’t offered by these warehouse giants — coffins, cars, even vacation packages can be purchased through their services. And even Amazon can’t stand in the way of bulk efficiency, as Costco’s most recent quarterly earnings report showed.
And no matter which warehouse store you’re shopping in, you’re bound to get hungry. Luckily, both Costco and Sam’s Club have mini food courts to satiate hungry shoppers. While they may look rather bare-bones, make no mistake: under the right circumstances, the food can be shockingly good.
We visited a Costco food court and were floored by the quality and downright deliciousness of some of the options — it was suspiciously good. So, we decided to head over to one of Costco’s biggest competitors, Sam’s Club, to find out if its food could beat the best:
First, a recap of Costco’s highlights.
Costco has a fairly large amount on its menu considering it’s a tiny kitchen hidden within a bulk retailer.
This entire spread — cheese pizza, hot dog, three different sandwiches, a quasi-stromboli, a soda, and a churro — cost just over $25. That’s pretty impressive.
The pizza is fine, but nothing astounding.
It’s a large, doughy, slice that’s similar in taste to Pizza Hut — salty, with a slightly sweet sauce. It’s nothing special, but for $1.99, I wasn’t complaining.
These haunting photos of the retail apocalypse reveal a new normal in AmericaWe went to Best Buy after it decided to pull most CDs from stores and saw all of the changes it’s making to compete with AmazonWe visited Banana Republic and J.Crew to see which was a better store, and the winner was clear
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
I bought my 2016 Subaru Outback brand new a couple of years ago, but it took me months of researching and dilly-dallying to decide which make and model to go with. One of the main concerns I had was to make sure it would suit my family — both our two- and four-legged members.
At the time, I had two dogs — a rescue mutt named Dougal and an elderly basset hound named Stumpy. As I searched for the perfect car, I realized that their needs mattered just as much as mine, my husband’s and our daughter’s.
I’m certainly not alone in my pet-minded approach to researching a new vehicle. I reached out to some friends on Facebook and found that they had similar concerns.
What Dog Owners Want in Their Cars
Jennifer Hess, fellow wife, mother and runner living in Dayton, Ohio, shared her car-buying experiences with me.
“We purchased a Ford Escape a number of years ago so that we would have room for two dogs, two kids and [me and my husband] to travel,” she said. “We wanted enough room in the back so that we could safely transport everyone.
“It was important that the dogs had some space, and that we could safely put up a gate between the back area with the dogs and the backseat.”
And she found her dogs’ needs changed with time. “As our dogs got older, they had trouble getting into the Escape, so we looked into a minivan,” Hess told me.
They ended up choosing a 2012 Kia Sedona. “It gave them more room, allowed us to have the gate up for safety, and when the dogs were younger we were even able to have a crate completely put together for the dogs to travel in. It was also lower so they could get in easier. Or, if we had to help them in, it wasn’t nearly as high.”
Minivans are good family cars, and that’s true for furry family members as much as it is for humans. “With the minivan, it also gave us the option of putting seatbelts on the dogs and having them in a seat,” explained Hess.
Overall, what Hess and I were both looking for was spaciousness, a rear liftgate and some way to contain our dogs on the road — either with a gate or a safety harness of some kind.
While you can buy these items from many parts and accessories stores, the car itself is something you can’t change once you’ve purchased. It’s important to start with a vehicle big and versatile enough to fit your four-legged friends.
Best Cars for Dog Owners
Whether you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly options in a variety of sizes that meet an array of budgets. The prices listed below refer to new vehicles, but in most cases you can pay less for used versions that still offer the same dog-friendly features.
For the single dog owner or family on a budget, a hatchback provides plenty of space for all members of the family.
The 2018 Honda Fit (MSRP $16,190) might look small on the outside, but thanks to a versatile seating arrangement, it’s perfectly sized for small to medium dogs. Honda uses what it calls a “Magic Seat” in the second row. This 60/40 split seat offers four modes: “long,” “tall,” “utility” and “refresh.” These fancy terms essentially mean you can fit your dog, groceries and IKEA flat-pack box in the car all at once.
For a slightly larger hatchback, consider the 2018 Kia Forte5 (MSRP $18,300). The Forte5 offers 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which can accommodate one or two small or medium dogs. You can also accessorize with all-weather floor mats, which make cleaning the dog hair from your car that much easier (no vacuum cleaner required).
Crossovers combine the spaciousness of SUVs with the fuel economy of midsize cars. They’re also ideal for small families with a couple of dogs, or single drivers with larger dogs.
Subaru markets itself as dog-friendly, so it’s no surprise the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek (MSRP $21,795) offers plenty of room for your four-legged friends — up to 55.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, to be precise. My good friend Tim owns a Crosstrek that, with the seats folded, perfectly fits his greyhound-weimaraner mix and great Dane.
Subaru sells such dog accessories as leashes and collars, so your canine companion can show his love of your Subie as well.
Another good crossover option for dogs is the 2018 Toyota RAV4 (MSRP $24,510). You can opt for an all-weather liner package, which includes rubber floor mats and a rubber cargo cover to help protect the crossover from dog hair (and drool).
SUVs are often thought of as gas-guzzling behemoths, but they’re more fuel-efficient than they used to be. Plus, they provide plenty of interior space for you, your family and your dogs.
The 2018 Ford Flex (MSRP $30,285) looks a little boxy but provides ample space for pretty much any occasion. It can seat up to seven, making the Flex ideal for medium-sized families with a dog or two. When the second- and third-row seats are folded flat, the vehicle offers 83.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Plus, its unique style will help you stand out on the road, if that’s your thing.
One of the most recognizable SUVs on the road is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. The two-door model (MSRP $27,495) is the most affordable version, but the four-door model (MSRP $30,995) provides easier access to the rear seats for both people and pooches.
Since the Wrangler has been around for so long, you’re likely to find a used model for a more affordable price that provides canine-friendly amenities.
Minivans are the ultimate vehicles for dog-loving families, as Hess found when she was car shopping. They’re large and low, making it easier for older or less athletic dogs to climb in.
The 2019 Honda Odyssey (MSRP $30,090) includes automatic climate control to keep your dogs warm or cool on the road. The van also features “Magic Slide” second-row seats, which make it easier to put your dogs in the third row. .
If you splurge on the Touring model (MSRP $44,660), you’ll also get a built-in vacuum cleaner ideal for keeping the interior clean from dog hair and mud. Honda added this feature to the Odyssey in 2014, so look for a used model to save money, while keeping the same perks.
The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica (MSRP $26,995) was introduced in 2017 to replace the outgoing Town & Country model. It offers up to 243 seating configurations, allowing you to experiment with what meets your needs. The third-row seats fold into the floor, so you can make a flat lounge area for your furry friends.
Like the Honda Odyssey, the Chrysler also has an optional vacuum cleaner in the Pacifica Limited (MSRP $43,795). However, since the Pacifica is a new model, you’re unlikely to find a used one with a vacuum.
So dog owners — before buying your next car, make a list of features you need, then research options within your budget. Whether you buy new or used, you’ll find plenty of choices that cater to your two- and four-legged family.
Catherine Hiles is a car owner, parent and pet guardian who appreciates her Subaru’s all-weather mats when it comes to dog hair. She lives in Dayton, Ohio.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Read more: thepennyhoarder.com
Posted by MiriamEllis
What if a single conversation with one of your small local business clients could spark activity that would lead to an increase in their YOY sales of more than 7%, as opposed to only 4% if you don’t have the conversation? What if this chat could triple the amount of spending that stays in their town, reduce pollution in their community, improve their neighbors’ health, and strengthen democracy?
What if the brass ring of content dev, link opportunities, consumer sentiment and realtime local inventory is just waiting for you to grab it, on a ride we just haven’t taken yet, in a setting we’re just not talking about?
Let’s travel a different road today, one that parallels our industry’s typical conversation about citations, reviews, markup, and Google My Business. As a 15-year sailor on the Local SEO ship, I love all this stuff, but, like you, I’m experiencing a merging of online goals with offline realities, a heightened awareness of how in-store is where local business successes are born and bred, before they become mirrored on the web.
At Moz, our SaaS tools serve businesses of every kind: Digital, bricks-and-mortar, SABs, enterprises, mid-market agencies, big brands, and bootstrappers. But today, I’m going to go as small and as local as possible, speaking directly to independently-owned local businesses and their marketers about the buy local/shop local/go local movement and what I’ve learned about its potential to deliver meaningful and far-reaching successes. Frankly, I think you’ll be as amazed as I’ve been.
At the very least, I hope reading this article will inspire you to have a conversation with your local business clients about what this growing phenomenon could do for them and for their communities. Successful clients, after all, are the very best kind to have.
What is the Buy Local movement all about?
What’s the big idea?
You’re familiar with the concept of there being power in numbers. A single independent business lacks the resources and clout to determine the local decisions and policies that affect it. Should Walmart or Target be invited to set up shop in town? Should the crumbling building on Main St. be renovated or demolished? Which safety and cultural services should be supported with funding? The family running the small grocery store has little say, but if they join together with the folks running the bakery, the community credit union, the animal shelter, and the bookstore … then they begin to have a stronger voice.
Who does this?
Buy Local programs formalize the process of independently-owned businesses joining together to educate their communities about the considerable benefits to nearly everyone of living in a thriving local economy. These efforts can be initiated by merchants, Chambers of Commerce, grassroots citizen groups, or others. They can be assisted and supported by non-profit organizations like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).
What are the goals?
Through signage, educational events, media promotions, and other forms of marketing, most Buy Local campaigns share some or all of these goals:
Increase local wealth that recirculates within the community
Preserve local character
Create good jobs
Have a say in policy-making
Decrease environmental impacts
Compete with big businessesDo Buy Local campaigns actually work?
Yes – research indicates that, if managed correctly, these programs yield a variety of benefits to both merchants and residents. Consider these findings:
1) Healthy YOY sales advantages
ILSR conducted a national survey of independent businesses to gauge YOY sales patterns. 2016 respondents reported a good increase in sales across the board, but with a significant difference which AMIBA sums up:
“Businesses in communities with a sustained grassroots “buy independent/buy local” campaign reported a strong 7.4% sales increase, nearly doubling the 4.2% gain for those in areas without such an alliance.”
2) Keeping spending local
The analysts at Civic Economics conducted surveys of 10 cities to gauge the local financial impacts of independents vs. chain retailers, yielding a series of graphics like this one:
While statistics vary from community to community, the overall pattern is one of significantly greater local recirculation of wealth in the independent vs. chain environment. These patterns can be put to good use by Buy Local campaigns with the goal of increasing community-sustaining wealth.
3) Keeping communities employed and safe
Few communities can safely afford the loss of jobs and tax revenue documented in a second Civic Economics study which details the impacts of Americans’ Amazon habit, state by state and across the nation:
While the recent supreme court ruling allowing states to tax e-commerce models could improve some of these dire numbers, towns and cities with Buy Local alliances can speak plainly: Lack of tax revenue that leads to lack of funding for emergency services like fire departments is simply unsafe and unsustainable. A study done a few years back found that ⅔ of volunteer firefighters in the US report that their departments are underfunded with 86% of these heroic workers having to dip into their own pockets to buy supplies to keep their stations going. As I jot these statistics down, there is a runaway 10,000 acre wildfire burning a couple of hours north of me…
Meanwhile, Inc.com is pointing out,
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the end of the Great Recession, small businesses have created 62 percent of all net new private-sector jobs. Among those jobs, 66 percent were created by existing businesses, while 34 percent were generated through new establishments (adjusted for establishment closings and job losses)”.
When communities have Go Local-style business alliances, they are capitalizing on the ability to create jobs, increase sales, and build up tax revenue that could make a serious difference not just to local unemployment rates, but to local safety.
4) Shaping policy
In terms of empowering communities to shape policy, there are many anecdotes to choose from, but one of the most celebrated surrounds a landmark study conducted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance which documented community impacts of spending at the local book and music stores vs. a proposed Borders. Their findings were compelling enough to convince the city not to give a $2.1 million subsidy to the now-defunct corporation.
5) Improving the local environment
A single statistic here is incredibly eye opening. According to the US Department of Transportation, shopping-related driving per household more than tripled between 1969-2009.
All you have to do is picture to yourself the centralized location of mainstreet businesses vs. big boxes on the outskirts of town to imagine how city planning has contributed to this stunning rise in time spent on the road. When residents can walk or bike to make daily purchases, the positive environmental impacts are obvious.
6) Improving residents’ health and well-being
A recent Cigna survey of 20,000 Americans found that nearly half of them always or sometimes feel lonely, lacking in significant face-to-face interactions with others. Why does this matter? Because the American Psychological Association finds that you have a 50% less chance of dying prematurely if you have quality social interactions.
There’s a reason author Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series about life in a small town in North Carolina has been a string of NY Times Best Sellers; readers and reviewers continuously state that they yearn to live someplace like this fictitious community with the slogan “Mitford takes care of its own”. In the novels, the lives of residents, independent merchants, and “outsiders” interweave, in good times and bad, creating a support network many Americans envy.
This societal setup must be a winner, as well as a bestseller, because the Cambridge Journal of Regions published a paper in which they propose that the concentration of small businesses in a given community can be equated with levels of public health.
Beyond the theory that eating fresh and local is good for you, it turns out that knowing your farmer, your banker, your grocer could help you live longer.
7) Realizing big-picture goals
Speaking of memorable stories, this video from ILSR does a good job of detailing one view of the ultimate impacts independent business alliances can have on shaping community futures:
I interviewed author and AMIBA co-founder, Jeff Milchen, about the good things that can happen when independents join hands. He summed it up,
“The results really speak for themselves when you look at what the impact of public education for local alliances has been in terms of shifting culture. It’s a great investment for independent businesses to partner with other independents, to do things they can’t do individually. Forming these partnerships can help them compete with the online giants.”Getting going with a Go Local campaign, the right way
If sharing some of the above with clients has made them receptive to further exploration of what involvement in an independent business alliance might do for them, here are the next steps to take:
First, find out if a Go Local/Shop Local/Buy Local/Stay Local campaign already exists in the business’ community. If so, the client can join up.
If not, contact AMIBA. The good folks there will know if other local business owners in the client’s community have already expressed interest in creating an alliance. They can help connect the interested parties up.
I highly, highly recommend reading through Amiba’s nice, free primer covering just about everything you need to know about Go Local campaigns.
Encourage the client to publicize their intent to create an alliance if none exists in their community. Do an op ed in the local print news, put it on social media sites, talk to neighbors. This can prompt outreach from potential allies in the effort.
A given group can determine to go it alone, but it may be better to rely on the past experience of others who have already created successful campaigns. AMIBA offers a variety of paid community training modules, including expert speakers, workshops, and on-site consultations. Each community can write in to request a quote for a training plan that will work best for them. The organization also offers a wealth of free educational materials on their website.
According to AMIBA’s Jeff Milchen, a typical Buy Local campaign takes about 3-4 months to get going.
It’s important to know that Go Local campaigns can fail, due to poor execution. Here is a roundup of practices all alliances should focus on to avoid the most common pitfalls:
Codify the definition of a “local” business as being independently-owned-and-run, or else big chain inclusion will anger some members and cause them to leave.
Emphasize all forms of local patronage; campaigns that stick too closely to words like “buy” or “shop” overlook the small banks, service area businesses, and other models that are an integral part of the independent local economy.
Ensure diversity in leadership; an alliance that fails to reflect the resources of age, race, gender/identity, political views, economics and other factors may wind up perishing from narrow viewpoints. On a related note, AMIBA has been particularly active in advocating for business communities to rid themselves of bigotry. Strong communities welcome everyone.
Do the math of what success looks like; education is a major contributing factor to forging a strong alliance, based on projected numbers of what campaigns can yield in concrete benefits for both merchants and residents.
Differentiate inventory and offerings so that independently-owned businesses offer something of added value which patrons can’t easily replicate online; this could be specialty local products, face-to-face time with expert staff, or other benefits.
Take the high road in inspiring the community to increase local spending; campaigns should not rely on vilifying big and online businesses or asking for patronage out of pity. In other words, guilt-tripping locals because they do some of their shopping at Walmart or Amazon isn’t a good strategy. Even a 10% shift towards local spending can have positive impacts for a community!
Clearly assess community resources; not every town, city, or district hosts the necessary mix of independent businesses to create a strong campaign. For example, approximately 2.2% of the US population live in “food deserts”, many miles from a grocery store. These areas may lack other local businesses, as well, and their communities may need to create grassroots campaigns surrounding neighborhood gardens, mobile markets, private investors and other creative solutions.
In sum, success significantly depends on having clear definitions, clear goals, diverse participants and a proud identity as independents, devoid of shaming tactics.
Circling back to the Web — our native heath!
So, let’s say that your incoming client is now participating in a Buy Local program. Awesome! Now, where do we go from here?
In speaking with Jeff Milchen, I asked what he has seen in terms of digital marketing being used to promote the businesses involved in Buy Local campaigns. He said that, while some alliances have workshops, it’s a work in progress and something he hopes to see grow in the future.
As a Local SEO, that future is now for you and your fortunate clients. Here are some ways I see this working out beautifully:
Basic data distribution and consistency
Small local businesses can sometimes be unaware of inconsistent or absent local business listings, because the owners are just so busy. The quickest way I know to demo this scenario is to plug the company name and zip into the free Moz Check Listing tool to show them how they’re doing on the majors. Correct data errors and fill in the blanks, either manually, or, using affordable software like Moz Local. You’ll also want to be sure the client has a presence on any geo or industry-specific directories and platforms. It’s something your agency can really help with!
A hyperlocalized content powerhouse
Build proud content around the company’s involvement in the Buy Local program.
Write about all of the economic, environmental, and societal benefits residents can support by patronizing the business.
Motivated independents take time to know their customers. There are stories in this. Write about the customers and their needs. I’ve even seen independent restaurants naming menu items after beloved patrons. Get personal. Build community.
Don’t forget that even small towns can be powerful points of interest for tourists. Create a warm welcome for travelers, and for new neighbors, too!
Link building opportunities of a lifetime
Local business alliances form strong B2B bonds.
Find relationships with related businesses that can sprout links. For example, the caterer knows the wedding cake baker, who knows the professional seamstress, who knows the minister, who knows the DJ, who knows the florist.
Dive deep into opportunities for sponsoring local organizations, teams and events, hosting and participating in workshops and conferences, offering scholarships and special deals.
Make fast friends with local media. Be newsworthy.
A wellspring of sentiment
Independents form strong business-to-community bonds.
When a business really knows its customers, asking for online reviews is so much easier. In some communities, it may be necessary to teach customers how to leave reviews, but once you get a strategy going for this, the rest is gravy.
It’s also a natural fit for asking for written and video testimonials to be published on the company website.
Don’t forget the power of Word of Mouth Marketing, while you’re at it. Loyal patrons are an incredible asset.
The one drawback could be if your business model is one of a sensitive nature. Tight-knit communities can be ones in residents may be more desirous of protecting their privacy.Digitize inventory easily
30% of consumers say they’d buy from a local store instead of online if they knew the store was nearby (Google). Over half of consumers prefer to shop in-store to interact with products (Local Search Association). Over 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition (Bright Local).
It all adds up to the need for highly-authentic independently-owned businesses to have an online presence that signals to Internet users that they stock desired products. For many small, local brands, going full e-commerce on their website is simply too big of an implementation and management task. It’s a problem that’s dogged this particular business sector for years. And it’s why I got excited when the folks at AMIBA told me to check out Pointy.
Pointy offers a physical device that small business owners can attach to their barcode scanner to have their products ported to a Pointy-controlled webpage. But, that’s not all. Pointy integrates with the “See What’s In Store” inventory function of Google My Business Knowledge Panels. Check out Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, CA for a live example.
Pointy is a startup, but one that is exciting enough to have received angel investing from the founder of WordPress and the co-founder of Google Maps. Looks like a real winner to me, and it could provide a genuine answer for brick-and-mortar independents who have found their sales staggering in the wake of Amazon and other big digital brands.
Local SEOs have an important part to play
Satisfaction in work is a thing to be cherished. If the independent business movement speaks to you, bringing your local search marketing skills to these alliances and small brands could make more of your work days really good days.
The scenario could be an especially good fit for agencies that have specialized in city or state marketing. For example, one of our Moz Community members confines his projects to South Carolina. Imagine him taking it on the road a bit, hosting and attending workshops for towns across the state that are ready to revitalize main street. An energetic client roster could certainly result if someone like him could show local banks, grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants how to use the power of the local web!
Our industry is living and working in complex times.
The bad news is, a current Bush-Biden poll finds that 8/10 US residents are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about the state of democracy in our nation.
The not-so-bad news is that citizen ingenuity for discovering solutions and opportunities is still going strong. We need only look as far as the runaway success of the TV show “Fixer Upper”, which drew 5.21 million viewers in its fourth season as the second-largest telecast of Q2 of that year. The show surrounded the revitalization of dilapidated homes and businesses in and around Waco, Texas, and has turned the entire town into a major tourist destination, pulling in millions of annual visitors and landing book deals, a magazine, and the Magnolia Home furnishing line for its entrepreneurial hosts.
While not every town can (or would want to) experience what is being called the “Magnolia effect”, channels like HGTV and the DIY network are heavily capitalizing on the rebirth of American communities, and private citizens are taking matters into their own hands.
There’s the family who moved from Washington D.C. to Water Valley, Mississippi, bought part of the decaying main street and began to refurbish it. I found the video story of this completely riveting, and look at the Yelp reviews of the amazing grocery store and lunch counter these folks are operating now. The market carries local products, including hoop cheese and milk from the first dairy anyone had opened in 50 years in the state.
There are the half-dozen millennials who are helping turn New Providence, Iowa into a place young families can live and work again. There’s Corning, NY, Greensburg, KS, Colorado Springs, CO, and so many more places where people are eagerly looking to strengthen community sufficiency and sustainability.
Some marketing firms are visionary forerunners in this phenomenon, like Deluxe, which has sponsored the Small Business Revolution show, doing mainstreet makeovers that are bringing towns back to life. There could be a place out there somewhere on the map of the country, just waiting for your agency to fill it.
The best news is that change is possible. A recent study in Science magazine states that the tipping point for a minority group to change a majority viewpoint is 25% of the population. This is welcome news at a time when 80% of citizens are feeling doubtful about the state of our democracy. There are 28 million small businesses in the United States – an astonishing potential educational force – if communities can be taught what a vote with their dollar can do in terms of giving them a voice. As Jeff Milchen told me:
“One of the most inspiring things is when we see local organizations helping residents to be more engaged in the future of their community. Most communities feel somewhat powerless. When you see towns realize they have the ability to shift public policy to support their own community, that’s empowering.”
Sometimes, the extremes of our industry can make our society and our democracy hard to read. On the one hand, the largest brands developing AI, checkout-less shopping, driverless cars, same-day delivery via robotics, and the gig economy win applause at conferences.
On the other hand, the public is increasingly hearing the stories of employees at these same companies who are protesting Microsoft developing face recognition for ICE, Google’s development of AI drone footage analysis for the Pentagon, working conditions at Amazon warehouses that allegedly preclude bathroom breaks and have put people in the hospital, and the various outcomes of the “Walmart Effect”.
The Buy Local movement is poised in time at this interesting moment, in which our democracy gets to choose. Gigs or unions? Know your robot or know your farmer? Convenience or compassion? Is it either/or? Can it be both?
Both big and small brands have a major role to play in answering these timely questions and shaping the ethics of our economy. Big brands, after all, have tremendous resources for raising the bar for ethical business practices. Your agency likely wants to serve both types of clients, but it’s all to the good if all business sectors remember that the real choosers are the “consumers”, the everyday folks voting with their dollars.
I know that it can be hard to find good news sometimes. But I’m hoping what you’ve read today gifts you with a feeling of optimism that you can take to the office, take to your independently-owned local business clients, and maybe even help take to their communities. Spark a conversation today and you may stumble upon a meaningful competitive advantage for your agency and its most local customers.
Every year, local SEOs are delving deeper and deeper into the offline realities of the brands they serve, large and small. We’re learning so much, together. It’s sometimes a heartbreaker, but always an honor, being part of this local journey.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Read more: tracking.feedpress.it
Queen Elizabeth II is 92.
On Saturday, April 21, the venerable British monarch celebrates her 92nd birthday. On the throne since 6 February, 1952, she has reigned for more than 66 years. She’s both the longest-serving and oldest British monarch ever, breaking the records set by Queen Victoria (who died at 81 after 63 years on the throne), her great-great grandmother, in 2015.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
Meet Kevin David, ODi Productions, and Mike Vestil – four entrepreneurs who have each carved their own path to passive income and online business. This is our discussion. Enjoy! Add me on Instagram/Snapchat: GPStephan
Join the private Real Estate Facebook Group:
The Real Estate Agent Academy: Learn how to start and grow your career as a Real Estate Agent to a Six-Figure Income, how to best build your network of clients, expand into luxury markets, and the exact steps I’ve used to grow my business from $0 to over $120 million in sales: https://goo.gl/UFpi4c
Kevin David: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_MTE8H-i_spop-Gc9tOCDQ/
Kevin’s expertise extends through Amazon FBA, Shopify Drop Shipping, and Facebook Ads / Marketing.
ODi Productions: https://www.youtube.com/user/officialODi
Odi was able to rapidly grow his passive income through affiliate marketing online, growing to six-figures per month after only just two years.
Mike Vestil: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYONTR6PoZVJ4EcbOz3qdtw
Mike was able to grow his income through Shopify Drop Shipping, Amazon FBA, and online affiliate marketing opportunities.
For business inquiries or one-on-one real estate investing/real estate agent consulting or coaching, you can reach me at GrahamStephanBusiness@gmail.com
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: http://goo.gl/TPTSVC
Your money or your life: https://goo.gl/fmlaJR
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor: https://goo.gl/sV9xtl
How to Win Friends and Influence People: https://goo.gl/1f3Meq
Think and grow rich: https://goo.gl/SSKlyu
Awaken the giant within: https://goo.gl/niIAEI
The Book on Rental Property Investing: https://goo.gl/qtJqFq
Favorite Credit Cards:
Chase Sapphire Reserve – https://goo.gl/sT68EC
American Express Platinum – https://goo.gl/C9n4e3
Read more: youtube.com
Walgreens Boots Alliance taps Takeda Pharmaceutical's James Kehoe to take over as CFO.
Read more: cnbc.com