Reaching customers in your vicinity has never been more important. A 2019 research review by Google revealed that “Where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries increased by over 200% from 2017 to 2019. But what about 2020?
We all know that 2020 was no ordinary year (no reason to explain why). As a result, Google saw a tenfold increase in searches for “curbside pickup” and “safe shopping”. To help consumers shop safely and easily from the stores in their community, Google added a ‘Nearby’ filter to Search, allowing shoppers to see if an item is available in a nearby store and whether the store offers curbside pickup, in-store pickup or delivery.
In other words, consumers are still showing an interest in buying from local stores even though lockdown restrictions have forced people to shop more online.
When people look for information online, they want to find the answers to their questions quickly. This is especially true for people browsing nearby businesses. Google My Business can help you share information like how late you’re open and what safety measures are in place. However, sometimes people are looking for answers to more specific questions like “Do you make gluten-free pizzas?” or “Is there nearby parking?”.
As a verified business you can easily answer these questions and connect with your (potential) customers through Google Maps. Once you turn messaging on from your Business Profile, you can start replying to customers on Google Maps from the business messages section in the ‘Updates’ tab.
Today’s consumer is research-obsessed and tries to make as informed decisions as possible before leaving the house. Since the beginning of 2020, people have initiated more than twice as many messages to retailers from Business Profiles on Search and Maps. To meet this demand for information, Google added more ways for consumers to engage with retailers last year. In addition to clicking on the “Message” button on your Business Profile, customers can now start a conversation from any post you create. And if they try calling and you don’t answer, they will be prompted to send a message.
Of course, information is only valuable if it is updated and correct. Having wrong business information on your profile, like wrong address or opening hours, can potentially hurt your store as it negatively affects the customer experience. For retailers with multiple locations it can be difficult to always keep information on all locations up-to-date and reply to all messages. With a centralized platform it is possible to manage location data for all your locations across 125+ platforms and engage with your customers. This allows you to strengthen your online reputation and create a seamless brand experience.
If you want to know more about how to create a better ‘Near Me’ experience for your customers, reach out to us for a chat about your business and needs.