Looking Ahead to SMB: Welcome to the Local Commerce Universe

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The Local Commerce Universe is expanding.  What does this mean?

“It’s a new way to look at the integration of all the elements of the local commerce ecosystem,” says BIA/Kelsey analyst Abid Chaudhry. “This includes traditional media, social, mobile and the on-demand economy and continues through SaaS platforms that take the conversation about local/SMB way beyond advertising.”

As the evolution of BIA/Kelsey’s longstanding “OS for SMBs” framework, we examined the Local Commerce Universe in an analyst roundtable this week (video embedded below). It will also be the central theme of BIA/Kelsey SMB later this month.

When we began planning this year’s SMB event in Denver, we made several commitments. The first was to mix up the formats and try some new things on stage to bring greater energy and a sense of fun to the stage. Another commitment was to book fewer speakers and give them more time to share their ideas in depth. A third commitment was to kick off the event with our own analysts giving a talk that challenges the audience to think differently about the local/SMB space.

BIA/Kelsey analysts Mike Boland and Abid Chaudhry will lead this talk on the morning of the event’s first day (Sept. 29). Earlier this week, we conducted an analyst roundtable to preview the key themes of that talk, and some key themes that will pervade the conference.

One of the nuggets that stood out is Chaudhry’s local commerce universe framework.

“What will be introducing in Denver is our view on how to put this all together…into one cohesive narrative,” Chaudhry said. “I’m excited to talk about that and have it be a theme that we will speak to throughout the event.”

Building on Abid’s framework, Mike shared a few trends he sees driving significant change in how SMBs will acquire and retain customers and operate their businesses. The first is the shift to a post-search world, driven by the proliferation of mobile apps.

“Search after a decade of dominance is being displaced as the main front door to local commerce,” Mike explains. “As user engagement migrates to mobile, apps have take share as that entry point. That creates a lot of challenges because apps aren’t as interconnected or interoperable as the Web. This changes the rules.”

The second trend Mike highlights is the growth of messaging apps and their emerging role as a “local commerce engine”. The growth of messaging is being driven in part by trends in Asia, notable the ubiquity of WeChat.

Both of these development have a potentially profound impact on the products that SMB facing sellers will take to market, and going deeper, may fundamentally change the role they play in the local commerce universe.

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You can view the full roundtable below. Note at the end of the video we offer a special code that will give viewers $200 off their registration fee for BIA/Kelsey SMB 2015, Sept. 29-30 in Denver.

 

 

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