April 2020

But how can you use this knowledge to your advantage to develop a truly local-first approach? There are six ways electrical retailers can win in local search.

1. Optimise for searches at the transactional stage, not the discovery stage:

A 2018 study by Pi Datametrics analysed more than 12,000 of the most valuable and relevant Google search terms in the UK for homeware, plus the rankings of more than 73,000 returning websites. The study found Currys topped the electrical market for online share of voice, followed closely by Argos, beating some big-name American competitors. Currys and Argos of course have a large network of physical stores. The conclusion of the report was that they fared so well because people search for electrical goods at the transactional stage rather than the discovery stage. These purchase- ready customers want to visit a physical store.

2. Focus on your local data from a search perspective:

Knowing that your customers search with an intent to purchase, it’s time to enrich your local data. Businesses that match their online information to user queries are rewarded with prominent positions in search results pages. The questions you will need to answer include:

• Do you have accurate contact details – including up-to-date opening times – and good local photography?

• How many brands do you stock, and what are they?

• Is your in-store inventory available online? • Do you offer relevant product information?

Many a local branch will lose customers forever if the opening times are incorrect and a time- pressed customer has spent their precious time on a fruitless journey. You can also guarantee they will tell their friends about the experience – for all the wrong reasons.

3. Respond quickly to customer reviews (yes, all of them!):

A recent survey by BrightPearl found that 84 per cent of shoppers now read online reviews, with almost nine in 10 consumers considering them to be essential to their decision making. In the modern world of customer-centricity and the ability of everyone to broadcast their opinions, retailers can live or die based on the strength of their reviews strategy.

The survey also found that 76 per cent of

shoppers expect merchants to respond to reviews, and one in five consumers believe a reply should come within 24 hours. It is therefore crucial that you respond rapidly to any negative experiences. After all, customers may forgive a faulty product but they won’t forgive faulty customer service. The good news is the right technology

platform will enable you to do this in real time across all your locations – and across all the sites and directories that matter, from Google to TomTom to Facebook to Apple Maps. Get this right and our research shows you can expect an ROI of 3:1.

4. Offer relevant product and service information based on location:

This is about pulling out key relevant local information to boost contextual local search. If you are the only stockist in your area to offer free home delivery, retail a particular brand, or even offer late-night shopping, you have a great opportunity to stand out with the appropriate keywords. Ideally, you should also create unique landing pages to attract people searching for these terms. Take your national content and make it locally relevant.

5. Appeal to prospective customers with engaging local experiences:

Once you have your local listings whipped into shape and your content localised, you can begin to deliver truly targeted, appealing local experiences to your customers. As a good example, a retail client of ours wanted to increase

footfall and drive sales – in-store and online – for their store locations. We devised a promotion-led ad in a local Facebook format incorporating the pin placement of the store, giving users an easy choice to buy online or visit the store. To support this activity, we mirrored the promotion in local out-of-home advertising to help raise awareness of the brand, the store location, and the promotion. More traditional channels like pay per click (PPC) were used to reinforce the messaging for users in the target location, accompanied by local extensions (which direct users to Google Maps with no cost per click). If the user wants to go in store, this is all the information they need. If the user wants to engage online, they can easily click through to the ecommerce site.

6. Tailor the experience for converted customers to generate repeat purchases:

The rich seam of information provided from customers’ sales histories will identify crucial local information. For instance, if they have a tendency to buy goods at a certain time of year, make sure you communicate offers at the right time to generate a response.

The more touchpoints you have with the customer, the better the targeting – and the more compelling the offer. Localised data presents a rich picture of customer behaviour. So many retailers have invested millions in their branding without investing in the attention to detail required to understand how customers search and shop. By prioritising the local iteration of your brand and building up, you can win in this new local-first digital world.


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