As the holiday season approaches, stores and consumers alike are gearing up for a big shopping season. Although eCommerce continues to grow as a popular method for quickly cranking through the shopping list, the vast majority of consumer spending is still happening in local stores. Even if the actual point of purchase isn’t on the computer, many shoppers are still using the internet to research purchases before they actually make them. According to Forrester Research, 41.4% of offline sales were influenced by the web in 2011.
Online sales measure in the billions of dollars, but in-store sales influenced by web research account for TRILLIONS of dollars of retail sales. With social media and mobile usage increasing among consumers, retailers must adjust their marketing activities in order to be more effective. Here are some ways businesses can take advantage of the recent consumer behavior trends.
Offer deals to mobile shoppers
Consumers who are researching a product at home are much earlier in the purchase process than consumers who are researching products on their mobile device inside of a store. Usually shoppers on their mobile devices are ready to make a purchase and might even be under a rather urgent time constraint. Local businesses can take advantage of this by offering discounts to on-the-go mobile shoppers. This slight nudge might be enough to influence a consumer into purchasing from you now as opposed to holding off and undertaking a little bit more research.
Make sure your business has a large presence
Local search sites are another property frequently visited by consumers in the research phase. Different sites, however, have much different characteristics. Internet yellow pages sites are intent on helping people quickly find contact information for local businesses, where sites like Yelp and Citysearch specialize in providing users with detailed customer reviews. In order to maximize the chances that consumers find your business, you need to make sure that your business has a presence on as many search portals and directories as possible.
Make sure your business information is correct
A survey by Pew found that 36% of people turn to internet search engines or portals in order to find information about local businesses. Since people rely on the internet more than any other source for local business information, it’s important to make sure that your information is correct and up-to-date across the web. You wouldn’t keep a billboard up or keep a television ad running if your business information was incorrect, so you had better be sure that your information is right in the places people are searching for you.
Do you know how your business looks online? You can check it out with our free business listings diagnostic report here!