For many people, the future of stationary business is not in a good light. Some even fear that it will gradually be completely replaced by online trading. Although these concerns are not completely unfounded, the numbers are still different.
According to a recent consumer survey by JDA Software and Centiro, 90 percent of revenue is generated in local offline commerce. Nonetheless, local businesses need to act now if they want to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of digitization – both in the B2B and end-user markets alike.
Be available online anytime, anywhere
The consumer of today naturally moves between the online and the offline world. In doing so, he is more and more following the “ROPO” principle (research online, purchase offline), which means that he researches online for information about products or services in order to then buy them offline. Companies should take advantage of this behavior as it offers tremendous opportunities for more offline business. After all, providing your (potential) customers with all the information they need, such as opening hours, business addresses or current customer evaluations, at exactly the right time gives them a clear competitive edge today.
It is therefore essential that companies have a good online presence that goes beyond their own website. The increasing use of mobile devices not only boosts online commerce, but also allows users to search on different apps, websites and directories for local shops, offers and service providers on the move. Just the search for offices in the area has increased significantly, according to an evaluation by Google. Consumers are increasingly looking for detailed information such as “open shops near me”.
Companies can effortlessly manage such data through a location marketing platform and have it automatically played on multiple networks, search engines or navigation services. This ensures that information that potential customers find about a store on the web is always up-to-date and can be found when they are interested in a product or service.
To top the search engine ranking include
The search for products, services or other services is often online and on the go on the smartphone. The goal of any company should therefore be to be among the first hits on Google in the local search. Because most consumers click on one of the first results that the search engine displays. A good local SEO strategy is therefore of enormous importance. Search engines take into account the surrounding environment, site-specific keywords that have been deposited, as well as responses to customer feedback when answering search queries.
Do not underestimate importance of customer reviews
Many potential customers make the purchase of a product or service dependent on reviews of others. Appraisals emerge both in the search engines and in social networks. It’s no longer just about restaurants that are rated, but companies from all sectors, from B2C to B2B. Especially with negative customer feedback, it is important to react as quickly as possible and not to ignore it. Adequate and individualized customer welfare responses show consumers that the company is responding to criticism and actively working to solve the problem. This type of customer communication binds consumers to the brand and has a positive impact on brand awareness.
Cross-location: ensuring a uniform brand image
Companies with multiple locations should be careful to provide their customers with a consistent brand image across all locations. For this reason, the same information should be available everywhere, and customer feedback should be consistently addressed at all sites. Because the reputation of each individual location has an impact on the reputation of the entire company. The gap between a coherent corporate image and site-specific communication about the use of a central platform can be closed. This also enables consistent and careful support of each location – both online and offline.
Digitization affects everyone – not just trade
The networking of online and offline business does not only affect stationary retailing. Established companies such as the industrial group thyssenkrupp, Deutsche Post or the motor insurance provider HUK-Coburg have already recognized how important this link is and are setting a good example. They all manage their locations with a location marketing platform, creating a single online presence that enables them to be better located by potential customers. Using new technologies offers companies the opportunity to compete with each other in the future in order to compete successfully in offline business.