Local communication

One third of mobile requests driven by local interest

Check store availability of a product and find it elsewhere if needed; get in touch with the store to make sure that the product is available; use Google Maps to reach your destination ; get an accurate idea of the price of the product in other stores before reaching for your credit card… the use of mobile devices is becoming essential in the consumer’s purchasing process. And  as you probably know Google, the search engine industry heavyweight,  follows user behavior very closely. Furthermore, this behavior is studied and analyzed and allows them to come up with such indicators such as: 30% of requests made on mobile devices are driven by a local interest. This kind of statistic must be looked into!

What’s the challenge? Win over mobile customers

What was Nick Leeder, Executive Director of Google France, implying when he claimed in the Journal du Net, a French online high-tech news site, that 30% of mobile requests are driven by local interest? Well, simply that the drive-to-store or, in other words, the use of internet and geolocation services to lead a customer to a selling point, has become crucial. It is often referred to as traffic redirection, drawing customers from the web to the physical point of sale.

Customers generally search for:

  • Practical information to make their visit to the store easier: opening days and hours, services provided (drive-in, cafeteria, delivery…), postal address, telephone number, etc.
  • The best route to the point of sale: with a possibility to generate itineraries from Google Maps.
  • Reviews from other customers on the products they plan to purchase / stores they want to visit
  • Comparisons with competing products / similar brands

So, are we leaning towards a generalized drive-to-store? Customers are more and more frequently using practical  ”Drive-to-store” applications to make their purchases, such as:

  • Being informed of the real waiting time at checkout
  • Finalizing an order online and picking it up at the store right away
  • Providing customers with product demonstrations, advice and customized discounts…

Store and product locator

For all of this to be possible, advertisers must define an extensive mobile strategy and use an efficient local search engine referencing method. A mobile site with responsive content will help them appear at the top of mobile search results, be visible on Google Maps and improve their contact with the selling point by, for instance, providing a telephone extension number.

The last topic to address is the definition of the strategic axis: store locator, product locator, or both. The former consists in providing directions to the closest store and improving visibility of a brand’s outlets in search results. The latter allows customers to find stores around them that sell the product they are looking for.

Soon, we will be able to measure the impact of digital actions by the evolution of visits to the selling point

One third of requests are driven by a local interest… this is not information that the Californian giant is ready to ignore. Google recently launched “Store Visits”, a new feature embedded in the Google Maps app that demonstrates how these searches can be used to help bring customers to the stores. This feature, only available for American advertisers for now, is able to calculate how many visits have been generated by mobile searches. It allows advertisers to follow web users through every step of the purchasing process and estimate the number of visits to a store based on the customer’s geolocation compared to the store’s position.

Soon available in Europe on Google Maps (Android or iOS devices), users will simply have to switch on the app’s “location history” to activate it.

Knowing that one third of mobile searches are driven by a local intention is essential information to attract increasingly connected consumers and lead them to the stores. This is especially the case when you consider that smartphones also allow customers to call the stores directly! Looking after your mobile e-reputation is crucial… More than an asset, it is a necessity, a key prerequisite for your store digital strategy.