A BIA/Kelsey study shows 97% of consumers research products online before making local purchases with 58% using coupons in their local area and 19% making appointments online for local services. As a result, many ecommerce merchants and multi-location brick & mortar businesses have expanded their online presence.

happy shopper

Happy customer finding your store/s online!

The most frequently searched-for data are: nearby store locations (address/phone), store hours, products/services offered, directions, coupons/offers, in-store pickup info, etc. All this information can be provided through store location finders.

A Store Location Finder represents a multi-location businesses online. Each store location is represented by a store location landing page that users see when they search for your business on Google, Yahoo, Bing and business information directories like YellowPages.com, SuperPages, Yelp, etc.

When you manage and enhance your brand in the above engines and directories, displaying all of your business data with consistency, the results are twofold: (1) the engines and directories deliver accurate information to users and (2) you achieve higher search rankings, more traffic and more conversions.

Killer Store Location Finders Boost Ecommerce

Scalable optimization using a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform allows you to increase search traffic through local and organic search results. Shoppers see your store location finder data without the need for constant IT labor and upgrades on your part.

Without an optimized Store Location Finder, you get fewer conversions and lower customer satisfaction while diminishing the value of your brand. You also significantly reduce the market opportunity for each store/office location or dealership.

Currently, mobile is the preferred device for consumers conducting research and buying goods online in the U.S (2013 Mobile Path-to-Purchase study). Since 40 percent of mobile searches are local (20% on desktops), why miss the traffic and conversions?

It’s important to optimize your store location finder displays, which you can do manually or by using a store finder SaaS platform. (Disclosure: I advise firms that provide and/or distribute store location finder software.)

Good Examples of Poor Performing Store Location Finders

Most retailers currently do not optimize their store finders for traffic and conversions; thus, their listings are missing many of the informational components users are looking for. For instance, check the examples below displaying a poor store locator with unsatisfactory results for “Coach” and “Michaels.”

The Coach store finder is missing search by current location, search by city, search by neighborhood, enhanced localized data, microdata markup, local store images, registration, rich media (video), local promotions, links to circulars, social check-in’s. The Coach store finder has no individual store location landing page with localized content and no SEO best practices. Coach is missing 70% of its local market online.

Coach store locator

7 out of 10 Coach stores are not found in search engines online or on mobile devices.

Michaels store finder is missing microdata markup, local store images, registration, social check-in’s, rich media YouTube (video) and links to circulars. No location page content, no local keywords, no local anchor tags, no local headlines and no local alt tags, i.e., no SEO best practices. Michaels is missing 90% of its local market online.

michaels store locator

9 out of 10 Michaels stores are not found in search engines online or on mobile devices

 Good Example of an Excellent Store Location Finder

On the other hand, below are example results of a sporting goods retailer optimizing its store finder on the Web and Mobile, showing that this retailer has truly maximized its marketing opportunity. 10 out of 10 (100%) sporting goods retailer stores are found on the first page in search engine online and on mobile devices.

sporting goods store page

excellent sporting goods store location landing page

Since this retailer has 466 multiple locations, it was particularly advantageous to use a scalable store finder SaaS platform that integrates with the Marketing Department, major search engines, directories and business data aggragators.

sporting goods top listings

#1 Organic Listing, #1 and #2 Local Map Listing.

Because this sporting goods retailer optimized and enhanced its store finder so well, its regional stores achieved multiple 1st page positions for the keyword sporting goods, in the market locations it serves. Note how this provides the best user experience and obtains placement in the top preferred position on page one of the SERPs for Local and Organic.

Identify Your Local Market Opportunity

The first thing you want to do is to identify your local market opportunity. When your individual stores, offices or dealerships can’t be found on the first page of search results for their strategic keywords in the cities where they’re located, shoppers searching in those cities won’t find them on desktops, smartphones and tablets.  It’s important to get a sense of your local market coverage.

Identifying your local market opportunity can be labor-intensive. The process is shown below, followed by the results of using a store locator for a multi-location women’s clothing retailer is shown below:

  1. Create a list of all the cities where you do business
  2. Research and identify your top 5 high-volume topics or keywords
  3. Estimate your local monthly search volume for those topics or keywords
  4. Estimate your Market Share, (percentage of local purchases)
  5. Determine your Average Order Value (AOV)
  6. Multiply Market Share x AOV to get your total market opportunity
  7. Determine percentage of cities with no 1st page coverage (each keyword)
  8. Multiply total market opportunity x percentage with no coverage
local coverage

Lack of local coverage identified

 

lack of coverage

Lack of organic and local search listings in cities with stores

Once you’ve identified your local market opportunity, you will have a much better understanding of the lost opportunity you’re facing without an optimized store location finder. Again, without 100% digital coverage in all cities and business locations, you’re leaving money on the table — probably a lot of it.

To fully evaluate the performance functionality and potential of your current store finder to boost your Ecommerce and In-Store sales, contact me directly or visit my Store Locators link to get started.

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