The bonus news roundup segment that accompanies each episode of the EDGE is a great way for you to hear about the latest digital marketing headlines from the perspective of industry experts. The latest features host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann along with special guest Jeroen Corthout, Co-founder and CEO of Salesflare. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 368 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast: 


Why Whole Foods is trying out a ‘dark store’ as part of its vision for the future of grocery shopping online

From Kelly Tyko on USA Today we learn that Why Whole Foods is trying out a ‘dark store’ as part of its vision for the future of grocery shopping online. The Amazon-owned grocery chain is officially opening its first permanent online-only store in Brooklyn, New York. Like other retailers’ online-only stores, also known as dark stores, the store will not be open to the public.

  • Erin Sparks: This is a new evolution of grocery stores that are more like distribution hubs since they’re only for delivery and curbside pickup. It’s a different approach for these kinds of B2C (business-to-customer) retailers. 
  • Jeroen Corthout: This makes a lot of sense. Amazon acquired Whole Foods because it wants in on the grocery delivery vertical and buying a grocery company was the only way it could do that since Amazon lacks experience in this industry. But right now grocery shopping online with delivery is cost prohibitive both for the company trying to do it and in many cases for the consumer as well, so they have to figure out how to get the costs down if they want it to catch on and be sustainable after the pandemic.
  • Erin Sparks: There’s a lot of adaptation happening now around online buying and home delivery. And it makes sense that the pandemic is forcing companies to figure it out.


Walmart to launch its Walmart+ membership service

According to Ben Unglesbee on MarketingDive, Walmart to launch its Walmart+ membership service. Walmart unveiled its new membership program, Walmart+, that ties together unlimited free delivery from stores and other benefits. The service costs $98 a year, or $12.95 a month. Along with unlimited delivery, the service includes fuel discounts and a Scan & Go checkout option for in-store shoppers. The membership becomes available to all shoppers starting September 15.

  • Erin Sparks: The cost of the Walmart membership is nearly identical to Amazon Prime. And they’ve got a lot firmer grasp on the grocery side of the operation than Amazon.
  • Jeroen Corthout: Walmart has to make more inroads in aspects that Amazon on is good it if they’re going to stay competitive, so this move makes sense. And the same is true of Amazon, which has to get better at the things Walmart is good at (like groceries). Amazon Prime is hugely successful. Now the question is whether people will do BOTH Amazon Prime and Walmart+. How many retail memberships will people be willing to pay for? Walmart needs to provide very clear benefits to consumers with this program, and they must also tie into their general competitive advantages. Walmart needs to match Amazon’s shipping features and then try to do better than Amazon at the shopping experience, which won’t be easy. How will it be different?
  • Erin Sparks: Yes, Walmart will need to differentiate in some way(s) and have to make it worth the consumer’s investment relative to Prime. They will also need to innovate like the way Amazon did by making all Kohl’s stores extremely convenient drop-off points for Amazon returns. Walmart already has the convenient locations factor going for them.


World Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Market Analysis 2020-2026

Yahoo Finance reported on World Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Market Analysis 2020-2026. This market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of around 15% during 2020-2025. The market is driven by the increasing digitalization of enterprises across the industry verticals and penetration of cloud technology and various service models. However, data and security concerns and stringent government rules & regulations are restricting the growth of the market.

  • Erin Sparks: This must be welcome news to you, Jeroen, since your company is in the CRM software market.
  • Jeroen Corthout: Yes, that growth forecast is backed up not only with good evidence but also anecdotally in my own experience. We are definitely seeing healthy growth on Google search in terms of CRM software in general, and also specifically at Salesflare. Also, many of the companies we’ve been in contact with over the past few months who were previously only thinking about adopting CRM software now realize (thanks to the pandemic) how much they really do need CRM software and the value it can deliver. To really understand where your leads are coming from, as well as why some pan out and others don’t and to know at what point in the pipeline each lead and customer is at—you really need software to help with that, no matter how small or large your company.

Connect with Jeroen Corthout and Salesflare

Twitter: @JeroenCorthout (


Facebook: @salesflare (


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