Multi-location brick and mortars looking for annual revenue growth can increase in-store foot traffic and online conversions with a killer store finder strategy. Examples of those needing a better strategy are extensive and include companies like AAMCO, RadioShack, GNC, Domino’s Pizza, Gamestop, Godiva and Coach. There are hundreds of example brick and mortar businesses failing at local relevancy, such as Payless Shoes, Subway, KFC, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Jiffy Lube, Anytime Fitness, Lowe’s, JCP, Chick-fil-A, Staples, Petco and Best Buy. The list is exhaustive…Michael’s, Honda, LensCrafters, Toys “R” Us, Victoria’s Secret, Robobank, Men’s Wearhouse, Marshalls, Sleepy’s, Discount Tire, Costco, Zales and more. All of the above — leaving money on the table and failing at local relevancy.
Annual revenue growth for locally relevant brick and mortars only occurs for brands that pay close attention to 1) Social Media, 2) Mobile Campaigns and 3) Local Search, and all three converge at the Store Finder, AKA Store Locator. Being locally relevant is crucial for any brick-and-mortar business, and having a killer store finder/locator strategy is the key to being locally relevant.
Last week, I provided a review of good vs. poor performing store finders and showed you how to identify your local market opportunity. The primary message was to encourage you to determine the percentage of your stores on Page One. This is the first step toward finding out if you’re leaving money on the table and if so, how much. If you’d like help calculating this percentage, contact me directly at Paul.Bruemmer@gmail.com.
Did you know 97% of consumers are using search engines, smartphones and tablets to find information about your local businesses or brand on demand? (source: BIA/Kelsey).
It has become clear that a fully optimized store locator/finder for desktops and mobile devices will drive incremental increases in online organic search traffic, as well as in-store foot traffic.
Research shows savvy consumers have been finding local business information in new ways such as social networks, daily deals, couponing and apps.
- 15% of local searchers found local businesses from social networking sites
- 60% are using daily deals
- 80.6% of consumers use coupons (NCH, 2012)
- Our Store Finders produce a 25% in-store coupon redemption rate
- 1 in 4 people landing on our store location page redeem a coupon in-store
- 49% of mobile and tablet users use apps for local business searches
Locally Relevant Brick and Mortars Build Trust
Local search results were chosen almost 2 to 1 over organic results, which were the second choice (Localeze-comScore). The paid search results on top and along the right side scored lowest for both relevance and trustworthiness. This suggests consumers in local-search mode would rather get listing info with NAP (name, address and phone) than promotional advertising.
The study states this is further reinforced by the fact that local searchers’ post-search contact methods were:
- 38% via store visit (in-store coupon redemption)
- 29% via phone
- 12% via online contact
Discovery and automation is the key to making the changes necessary for successful and complete Local Search optimization. For multi-location businesses to achieve maximum profitability, 1) determine your percentage of coverage, 2) make sure your data is accurate and consistent across all aggregators and devices and, 3) update your business data with search engines and IYPs periodically.
One Central Dashboard with Automation Is Key
Did you know you can centrally manage everything from one dashboard and automate for top efficiency?
Retailers have much to gain by using local search marketing tactics and optimization tools like a Store Locator to boost revenue online and in-store. With the increase in smartphone/tablet adoption, there is a huge demand for accurate, local business information by consumers on-the-go and on the couch.
By consistently displaying complete, current business information in local search engines and directories, you can increase your bottom line considerably.
Enterprise level brands with multiple locations are best served by using automation to manage multiple business listings providing all or most of the desired services indicated below with the use of local and mobile search software solutions:
- Claim the brand’s managed listing
- Verify each business location address and telephone number
- Provide enhanced content
- Business hours, directions, reviews, etc.
- Payments accepted
- Localized description
- Local categories
- Local images
- Local coupons
- Local phone reporting
- Social network links
- Unmanaged URLs
- Links to store pages
- Links to mobile pages
Research shows mobile users have a greater propensity to purchase from a local business immediately upon completing a search than PC or laptop users do. Tablet users in particular have a higher likelihood of making a purchase. This means local optimization for mobile devices is essential for retailers in today’s business environment. A concentrated effort on Local Search optimization can provide exposure to a cache of consumers shopping on-the-go with mobile devices.
Automate & Optimize Business Listings For Accuracy & Consistency
Provide users and search engines with the features and information about your company that most prospects are looking for. There are six basic features users want and search engine look for on a local store locator page:
- Images: storefront, employee of the month, manager, products, services
- Location Information: address, phone number, hours of operation, holiday hours, in-store services provided, local descriptions, manager announcements
- Promotions: coupons, loyalty programs, COOP branding/promotion, events, tent sales, community events, sponsorships
- Social Influencers: Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, Yelp and others, check-ins, Likes, sharing, share via email, share via text, text to phone
- UX (user experience) Features: click to call, click to driving directions, text to share, loyalty sign-up, m-commerce, gift card purchase/management
- Rich Media: video, YouTube, product images, COOP advertising/promotion, reviews
You can perform five basic steps to optimize your store locator for visibility in search engines and directories:
- Location Pages. Build a location page for every location using relevant and updated content. Whether you have one or one-thousand store locations, the process is the same; however, using Web Store Locator Software to generate store location pages is much more scalable and cost efficient.
- Mobile Pages. Build a mobile location page for every location with user-friendly mobile calls-to-action.
- Local SEO Best Practices. Optimize and add all six of the above business features to each location landing page, ensuring you include updated information such as local descriptions, content and Microdata or RDFa markup to help the engines and directories understand every detail about each of your business locations.
- Submit To Engines and Directories. Submit all of your individual location landing pages to each local search engine and directory. Make sure to enhance your Maps and Google Places pages, linking your location landing page URLs.
- Submit To Information Services. Submit each of your individual location landing page URLs and all of your updated business information to Information Services that feed IYPs (Internet Yellow Pages). For instance, you can create bulk feeds and submit to InfoUSA, Axciom and LocalEze.
Optimize, Publish & Distribute
Most data feeds provided to Search Engine Local Maps and Information Services, IYPs data are not optimized or enhanced. You must be able to optimize and update your data feeds daily or weekly with accurate, current location data changes, new store info, business hours, holiday hours, etc.
Optimization of these feeds is an essential component of the big picture in local search optimization. It’s important to understand that providing a vendor with the basic location data requested by the engines is not enough. There are several very important fields within the data feed that must be optimized and kept updated including categories, descriptions, images, coupons, phone number, links to store page, links to mobile page, etc.
Search engines cross-verify their data with IYP data — when all of your store data matches, it becomes trusted verified data, resulting in the best organic rankings and traffic for your business.
If you need help to fully evaluate the performance functionality and potential of your current store finder to boost your Ecommerce and In-Store sales, feel free to contact me directly. I can help you get started on your way to Page One visibility in the SERPs leading to increased traffic and conversions.
A killer bolt-on SaaS CMS store finder will provide the automation for organizing ‘data fidelity’ through all stores, search engines, maps, IYPs and business data aggregators. We see an average of 3 to 7 page-one listings across Google, Yahoo! and Bing for each city where a client has a physical store location.
Retail Store Finder – 466 store locations in 409 cities, averages three (3) page one listings in Google, Yahoo! and Bing for every city where they have a location.
Dealer Finder – 561 dealership locations in 502 cities, averaging seven (7) page one listings in Google, Yahoo! and Bing for every city where they have a location.
Manufacturer Locator/Finder – 1,061 dealership shop locations in 799 cities, averaging three (3) page one listings in Google, Yahoo! and Bing for every city where they have a location.
Evaluate your store finder today.