In today’s connected world, many say it has become easier to shop online than in our own backyard. The rise of online sales is largely due to improvements in technology that, for the most part, has left many bricks and mortar stores behind.
Every day Amazon and Wayfair compete for the attention of your customers on digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Not only do the large, online stores compete for your customer’s attention, they’re simultaneously competing for the ad inventory on these networks, thereby jacking up your price to advertise.
Meanwhile, businesses with a physical location have an opportunity that Amazon and Wayfair don’t, and that’s reaching the people who are closest to them. Small and medium businesses need to amp up their digital game and why not advertise and build an ongoing relationship on a platform that plays to your advantage of having a physical location?
Location, location, location
For businesses that rely on a lot of foot traffic, it makes sense to be located in a high foot traffic area, such as the downtown core. However, even being one-block off the main drag can mean the difference between your business being successful and not. Simply put, if people don’t know your business is there, they can’t visit.
Nearby search has fundamentally changed the behaviour of local shoppers and there’s a significant benefit to retailers of using geo-technology to advertise hyper-locally as a means to drive more traffic to their businesses. Incorporating geographic proximity technology into advertising means businesses that are not located on the busy routes remain visible to customers who use “near me” functions on their smartphones. Near me searches have strong commercial intent—people are looking to solve a problem, or fulfill a need right now. Google’s Consumer Insights has reported a 900%+ increase in “near me tonight/today” searches in the past two years.
According to Google, “People now expect search technology to find the places in their area where they can get what they need. This more-informed shopper no longer has to waste precious time driving around town to multiple stores.”
Imagine you own a restaurant and place a sandwich board outside advertising a great meal deal. Your restaurant might just be around the block from where someone is currently standing, trying to decide where to eat, but you might as well be in another town for all the good the sandwich board does to capture that person’s attention. If they don’t see the message, they can’t act. Now imagine that same message appearing on someone’s smartphone as they search for restaurants nearby!
Restaurant activity is locally driven with 65% of smartphone users looking for a restaurant within walking or driving distance. Proximity and location are key selection criteria, before price and reviews. This can be seen by the fact that the time between searching and purchasing at a restaurant is immediate—47% of purchases happen within one hour.
In a study titled “Location, Location, Location: Repetition and Proximity Increase Advertising Effectiveness”, it was found that there was a higher return on advertising spend when advertising was directed towards people within 1 mile of a business, and in a mobile advertising experiment, there were more coupon redemptions at a store among consumers who are geographically close to the advertiser.
While many local retailers worry about increased competition from online retailers, mobile search results are showing the consumers’ need for immediate products and services, something online purchases can’t provide. Proximity advertising is a highly effective means of reaching qualified, localized customers who are steps away from your business! Use your marketing dollars to direct ultra-relevant messaging to geo-targeted mobile users and lead them right to your door.
For consumers, it means being a tourist but shopping like a local
Being a tourist in a new town, but trying to shop locally can certainly be challenging without knowing where to find the local businesses. That’s where our smartphones are an excellent tool to help find local businesses. Using the map tool, you can input your search, such as “Coffee and Tea” or “Restaurants” and see what’s around you.
GetintheLoop’s app uses geo-technology in its “near me” map function to take it one step further and also show you specific offers and exclusive experiences available at that location. At the tap of a button, you can see all of the local businesses on an interactive map that have offers and unique experiences on GetintheLoop, making it much easier to shop locally, wherever you are:
A click on any of the icons will bring up the business name, and how many offers they have:
The exact offers can be seen by a quick tap on the name of the business:
Next time you are visiting another town and you are tempted to swing by the big box retailer, consider instead using your smartphone to find a local option. It may not be your local economy that you’re helping, but if everyone has the same mindset, and shop locally wherever they go, all local economies eventually benefit.