… And It Affects Your Marketing Strategy in a New Way
During COVID, the world embraced e-commerce. But there was parallel interest in supporting local businesses and preserving the integrity of local communities. These two developments are not as contradictory as they might seem at first.
Consumers Still Favor Shopping Locally
The pandemic forced businesses to digitalize their services and widen the options for consumers to engage in new ways, e.g. click and collect, online meetings etc. This allowed customers to take the journey that’s most convenient for them.
- 70% prefer to shop locally. More than half of those do so even when it’s less convenient or more expensive than shopping online.
- 60% are more likely to buy something online when they can return it to a store. This indicates that the in-store experience also matters even when the purchase happens completely online.
- 82% will potentially shop locally after the pandemic: 43% plan to do most of their shopping in store, 33% will shop both online and offline, while only 6% aren’t sure yet.
11% More Local Engagements Globally in 2020 Despite the Pandemic
In 2020, consumers worldwide were seeking more information about local businesses. Their ‘near me’ queries increased by 8%. The number of indirect queries grew by as much as 23%, which means more consumers were searching for categories (“bookstore near me”) as opposed to brands (“Powell’s Books near me”).
A growth in local queries naturally led to a growth in local engagement. Google My Business profiles stimulated an average of 349 actions by local customers per month in 2020 – an increase of 11% compared with 2019.
This increase in customer actions included 32% more website clicks but also a 37% increase in phone calls to the local businesses in question. This shows that consumers sought alternative, and safer ways to find information.
Businesses Need to Digitalize for Growth
Not every industry could grow their local engagements in 2020. However, businesses got more local traction when they were able to digitalize their offering.
Industries that increased local engagements are
- Retail: +18% local engagements
- Finance: +10% local engagements
- Businesses & services: +34% local engagements
- Community & government: +93% local engagements
How Businesses Embrace the Future of Local
After interviewing various marketing experts, we analyzed their insights and tips and identified 5 best practices:
- EXPAND YOUR CHANNELS
- THINK ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS’ CONVENIENCE
- KEEP YOUR LISTINGS UP-TO-DATE
- PROACTIVELY ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
- ENABLE YOUR TEAMS TO CONTRIBUTE TO BUSINESS SUCCESS
Want more stats and insights? Download our report The New Face of Local.
For this report, we analyzed 80,000 mid-market businesses worldwide, surveyed 4,000 consumers in the US, the UK, France and Germany, and spoke to marketing experts from various companies across the world.