Improving customer acquisition, customer retention and conversion with Local Search as a Service
There’s no doubt about it: localisation is well and truly on its way to becoming a central part of our everyday lives. The Local Search as a Service (LSaaS) platform helps businesses identify new customers at the local level, linking physical points of sale and the location of nearby potential customers. For retailers with a significant online and in-store presence, LSaaS generates additional traffic via user recommendations, improving conversion rates and encouraging customers to begin the purchasing journey.
Localisation data: where supply meets demand
When looking to improve brand visibility – particularly search engine rankings – it’s essential to make sure your business is referenced on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Waze, etc., while guaranteeing key information regarding trading name, opening hours, and contact details is kept up to date. It’s equally important to provide accurate information about address changes, including store openings and closings or moves.
A few notable exceptions:
- Fewer boutiques as a result of increased franchises (where information may be administered by a third-party/franchiser)
- In-store presence in department stores or other multi-brand stores (information subject to change and/or outside the parent brand’s control)
The solution for increasing or maintaining online visibility while optimizing presence management? Centralizing localisation data (e.g. restaurants, agencies, points of sale) before synchronising with Google My Business, a move that will significantly improve local referencing and thereby increase traffic. Not only do local searches make up an impressive 25% of all searches, over half of these searches subsequently result in a purchase. It’s therefore crucial that brands begin to master the possibilities of Local Search.
Localisation data: putting the customer and the retailer on the same page
Currently, the Store Locator widget can usually be found on every page viewed by the customer, encouraging them to visit the nearest point of sale to finalise or collect their order. Some B2C stores explicitly ask online visitors to share their location in order to localise them more effectively. This encouragement of the Web-to-Store approach has numerous significant benefits:
- The brand’s point-of-sale network is clearly displayed to potential customers seeking a product or service. As a secondary benefit, the brand is brought closer to its customer base, as highlighting physical points of sale at the local or regional level increases perceived proximity.
- The customer is reassured that they’ll find a point of sale nearby. In 2015, 90% of Millennial Americans still intended on visiting in-store when making a purchase.
- The customer can also visit in-store to receive advice or further information about a product or service. This 2016 IPSOS study (in French) found that over half of French shoppers attached significant importance to where they made their purchase – making location an important factor in determining and influencing their shopping habits.
- Finally, the most important benefit for your business: more in-store visits = more potential in-store sales!
Localisation data: bringing out the best both in customer and retailer
The travel industry is an excellent example of how localisation can work to significantly improve the overall customer experience, despite obvious problems of distance, shipping and transport, and cultural or linguistic differences. When UX is optimized in this way (via accurate, high-quality information; personalized or adapted offers and promotions), the customer is more likely to trust the retailer with respect to subsequent services, including those with high added value:
- Real-time updates relating to order status, including delays, technical problems, transportation issues at point of departure or arrival (train stations, airports). This is particularly important in today’s digital age, where near-instantaneous information sharing can significantly influence brand perception.
- Welcoming customers upon arrival with personalised services planned ahead of time, including baggage handling, taxi or other transport reservations, automatic check-in, room service
- Offering customers practical information for added peace of mind (hotel, restaurant, pharmacy, local laundry services, etc.)
- Transmitting relevant information to help establish a personalised ‘travelling profile’, based on customer habits and behaviour (usual destinations, travelling frequency, special requests or preferences, etc.)
Similar to the the travel and hospitality industry, today’s leading e-retailers are seeking ever-stronger links with their customers, encourage brand loyalty and building a relationship that will last for years to come. Not only will boosting customer loyalty help to generate future revenue for your business, it’ll also cut costs, given that retaining existing customers is less costly than recruiting new or potential prospects. In other words: building customer loyalty pays off!
When effectively integrated into the world of online retail, localisation ticks all the boxes when it comes to marketing’s three commandments: build awareness, create desire, and incite to buy. Localisation targets potential customers within a clearly defined perimeter, offers precise, up-to-date information on nearby points of sale and proposes tailored, relevant promotions and offers adapted to the customer’s individual circumstances. The more leading online retailers become familiar with the key issues facing e-commerce today – namely customer acquisition and conversion -, the more important customer retention becomes when looking to keep an edge on competitors.