Local SEO Strategies for Competing with Online Retailers this Holiday Season
The whole in-person experience is something that online retailers simply can't offer and should be leveraged by physical retailers, says Chatmeter’s Collin Holmes.
Throughout most of the year, brick-and-mortar retailers reign supreme, capturing about 90 percent of total sales made in the United States. However, as the holidays roll around, all bets are off. Online super giant Amazon continues to grow its authority in the market, with Prime memberships now topping over 90 million — and consumer surveys predict that shoppers are expected to attribute 51 percent of their holiday spending to online retailers, which would make it the first time ever to surpass in-store spending.
With holiday spending as a whole expected to rise to over $1 trillion this year, how can a local SEO strategy help brick-and-mortar businesses to compete with Amazon and other online retailers to capture more of the customer’s dollar?
Here are three factors to consider when implementing your marketing strategies that will bring you a step ahead from competitors this holiday season.
Omnichannel and Multiple Touch Points:
81 percent of shoppers will use up to six channels to find the best holiday deals. These include areas like search engines, social channels, word-of-mouth and the mobile web. Multi-Channel shopping opportunities and seamless omnichannel experiences will drive sales this holiday season.
What is important for brick-and-mortar retailers specifically is to optimize the customer’s online-to-offline experience. Customers should be able to hear about your deals online, do some additional research by reading through posts and comments on your store’s Facebook page and then be able to get directions to your closest location by finding your listings on Google Maps.
That is just one of many scenarios, but allowing customers to seamlessly transition from online-to-offline, all while receiving accurate and consistent information, is going to be key to driving in-store traffic and sales over the holidays.
A few strategies to help you facilitate that online-to-offline journey include:
- Using Posts to add timely information about deals and events to your Google My Business listing,
- Sharing localized content and sales to your Facebook store pages
- Adding Check-In offers to your Yelp listings that can be used when customers visit your store
Deliver an Experience:
Customers are becoming more enthralled by the idea of experiences rather than material items. Not only are they spending more on socializing and entertaining this holiday season ($480 towards experiences vs. $430 towards gifts), but they are additionally interested in a satisfying shopping experience.
The ability to see, touch and feel products is what has 85 percent of shoppers preferring to buy in-store. While 90 percent say that the in-store expertise of knowledgeable employees is an added bonus and makes them more likely to buy. The whole in-person experience is something that online retailers simply can’t offer and should be leveraged by physical retailers.
Here are some strategies to help you improve and deliver a better in-store experience:
- Read reviews and understand your customers’ sentiment to know exactly where and how you can enhance the customer experience
- Create in-store only promotions which gives customers the feeling of exclusivity
- Merge online and offline experiences through social media with things like photo and hashtag contests
Optimize for Local Search:
Back to the basics, but still extremely important. Optimizing your listings for local search is something that should be done year round, but it holds true for the holiday season. Customer’s have a tendency to search for products and services rather than specific brands and companies, and this is no different during the holidays.
Optimizing your listings will earn you visibility in the local search rankings and generate foot traffic as holiday shoppers search for their favorite gift ideas.
Most important steps for holiday listing optimization:
- Update your listing information – Add holiday hours and make any seasonal changes, be sure your address is correct, and your website and phone number are accurate
- Manage your reviews – reviews can be the deciding factor between a customer visiting your store or a competitor’s
- Leverage photos and videos – Rich media content like photos and videos gives people searching online a better understanding of your store and what to expect
**Collin Holmes is the founder and CEO of Chatmeter.