Local Retailers Win When They Optimize for Local Search

modifiedA related article entitled “Local Search Marketing, Accuracy Trumps Distribution” may be viewed on CMO.com

Retail success has long been largely dependent on physical location. Selecting commercial space requires consideration of many factors including demographics, socio-economics, competitive proximity, traffic patterns and more.  Multi-location retailers apply a great deal of strategy when opening a store.  Mall retailers will swap locations when premium space becomes available so that they are more visible to consumers passing by.

Today, however, location means more than capturing the passer-by.  Location also means being found by the digital searcher.  70% of consumers research local products and services on a desktop and then use their mobile device to get where they want to go.  A consumer that has decided to visit your store is in buy-mode.  Will they find you?  Did you take steps to ensure that a consumer would know that you changed locations in the mall?  Will your store be located where the “X” marked the spot?  Is the premium location really premium if a consumer shows up at the doorstep of another business instead of yours?  How much revenue will you miss out on?

I recently shared the results of our original research, which examined local search behaviors of more than 1,000 consumers in the United States. We discovered that consumers are frustrated with location search. The frequency of time that a consumer is led to the wrong destination using web-based directions is unacceptably high.  The impact on brands is significant and you have the power as a retailer to prevent a negative experience with your brand.

If a consumer can’t find you, especially when they are ready to buy, what is at stake? Revenue for sure, but brand loyalty will also suffer as a result of a negative experience.  We actually found that 73 percent of consumers say they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information. Specifically, 67 percent lose trust if they get lost walking or driving to a location.

Our research showed that 56 percent of consumers rely on Internet search engines to find retailers. Therefore, you should pay attention to optimizing Internet search engines with location data that will help customers find you.  Search engines are powerful mechanisms for capturing and converting prospects into customers.  The availability and accuracy of searchable information online about your business is paramount to building and sustaining a solid customer base.

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