Instore shopping is seeing a revival but how does this gel with online shopping? The answer lies in beefing up your local search marketing.

Recent retail statistics show a notable resurgence of instore retail shopping. In the past few years the focus for bricks and mortar stores has been to build their online presence, now many are thinking it’s time to revisit and refresh the entire shopping experience.

Retail digital expert Colin James from OmniHyper® says the significant drop-off in online visits converting to sales is partly down to the traditional Christmas hangover, and this year there is a general concern about how well the economy will weather the curveballs expected for 2023. “Typically January sees people looking at their personal debts and thinking ‘I spent a bit much in the lead up to Christmas and I’ll hold off until I’ve paid down the credit card or eliminated some of my buy-now-pay-later.” “We are through that now, but the impact has led a slight change in consumer behaviour, seeing them back in town and shopping in-store.”

Mr James says consumer and business sentiment is generally negative, with many worrying about the economy as a whole.

“Going into 2023, people seem to be confident about their own finances and job security. However, there is a concern because New Zealand is now technically in a recession, there are fears Europe may go into recession at the end of this year when they go into their 2023-2024 winter. Then there is China, making a slow recovery,” Mr James says.

His advice to retailers is to have a look at their in-store shopping experience, and see just how well it integrates with their online experience.

“The current situation highlights the need for local search marketing to increase the visibility of the bricks and mortar part of the business.”

He says consumers are demonstrating they view online and instore shopping as one and the same thing.

“Local search marketing is about giving the customer a high-quality experience throughout the different contact channels. The customer is seeking a seamless and effortless encounter between your digital assets and a store visit.”

Specifically targeting local customers who are on the street, looking for your products and services right now.

“Online is driving offline sales. Research shows that 97% of consumers search online to find a local business, and 78% of local mobile searches result in off-line purchases.”

This approach does not recommend paid advertising, instead local search marketing should focus on suburbs, streets and search terms like ‘near me’. The goal is to encourage local customers to your physical location, to your website, or to pick up the phone and dial the store. Mr James says local search marketing is an approach that can be applied right across the retail sector.

“Out of the whole retail sector, hotels have the best understanding of local search marketing. We are pitching to restaurants and bars, the knowledge within the food and beverage industry is slowly growing.”

He says local search marketing can readily be applied to big box type retailers – from electronics to furniture, to sporting goods to pharmacies, to homewares to outdoor adventure shops. “Searches for ‘open now near me’ have grown by over 400% each year, in first world economies.”

Mr James says consumers are using mobile phones to conduct more than half of local searches. He has a good test for those businesses who consider their store is doing ok at local search marketing.

“If someone is standing on the street, not far from your store, will it pop up in the search results if they type in a product that your store sells?”

He says if your shop doesn’t pass this test, then it’s a good time to invest in digital marketing, regardless of the future state of the economy or online consumer trends.

Mr James says, with local search marketing, every day your brand has the opportunity to be the disruptor and not the disrupted.

Book a Demo

Get in touch and book a demo today with Nick Hollows from OmniHyper® [email protected] to talk about how investing in local search marketing can turn your business into a disruptor.

Get in touch and book a demo today with Nick Hollows from OmniHyper® [email protected] to talk about how investing in local search marketing can turn your business into a disruptor.

Book a Demo