As you read this, the internet is a tribe of close to 5 billion people worldwide. Out of which around 96% own a smartphone and use it to access the internet. This massive scale of access & ownership is leading to rapid shifts in consumer behaviour worldwide Consumers don’t go online anymore – they live online. Any information they are seeking today is just a few taps away right in their palms. A consumer’s search for information is always an opportunity for a relevant product or service to intercept, present the right answers and navigate the consumer to a solution.
In the backdrop of the recent global pandemic, this behaviour has accelerated further and so is the opportunity to connect with consumers digitally. As consumers take to the internet to look for information, a substantial number of their information seeking is hyperlocal in nature. The number of “near me” searches has increased by more than 200% in recent years, according to Google and has been the most prominent growth trend as consumers navigated the pandemic. Reports also show that *78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases.
These trends have prompted brands to notice the importance of converging the physical and the digital world. Hence having a strong digital hyperlocal strategy for their physical stores is of utmost importance. Through a hyperlocal focus, brands can cater to the digitally connected consumers who prefer to interact with brands near their location, thereby enabling the online-to-offline journey or even an online to online journey for their physical store While most stores experienced a decline in organic foot traffic due to pandemic, brands with a well thought through hyperlocal strategy safeguarded and improved business by acquiring new customers digitally.
Unlike other forms of traditional marketing, hyperlocal marketing is extremely targeted. Customers who perform “near-me “ searches have a high purchase intent. As per a recent Google study for the automobile industry, 7 out of 10 discovered their dealers online, and then contacted or walked into a showroom. 86% Tier 2 & Tier 3 buyers relied heavily on online resources before buying or visiting a retail outlet.
Customer Journeys have become complex today. Consumers register a brand at multiple touch points – online and offline. But most of the customer journeys today include digital media with the consumer seeking answers to “what” and “where”. Your storefront is where you want these customer journeys to end. Do you have the right path to guide the customer along this journey? How can you create a level playing field for your physical stores in this digital-first journey? A well-managed digital presence for your retail stores is the key to answering these questions and unlocking these opportunities.
The power of hyperlocal is to turn each location into its own unit of success. There are multiple components which can help you in the process to tap into high intent customers who are in the buying mode by providing relevant information to them at a local level.
Having a robust hyperlocal approach ensures that no matter how many business locations you have, your physical locations are easily discoverable by your customers when they perform a near me search and can easily engage and transact.
Cornerstones of a good hyperlocal strategy:
- Reach users in time of need with the right information: The moment users go to a search engine and do a local search it is evident that their probability to interact with a brand is high. A brand can tap into this opportunity by featuring in organic results of search engines & maps – delivering relevant and accurate information. A good hyperlocal strategy would ensure that each and every location have the same digital storefronts, correct information, and contact details for making the consumer journey smooth.
- Be in Real-time: Ensuring each and every location in digital space has real-time updated information, updated offers and a seamless commerce journey. This will also help in retaining customers by bringing them back to your locations whenever they want to repurchase or buy a new product.
- Hyperlocal Customer Experience: Go as personal as possible with the use of vernacular language in your location’s digital presence. This enables a brand to showcase products and services as per the local preferences and also helps them in creating unique journeys from the intent-based discovery online to a physical point of sale.
- Create Seamless Digital Connection Opportunities: Capture enquiries to your physical locations, by creating strong digital channels of communication through chat. Our analysis suggests that customers who engage in chat with the locations have a higher probability to convert than those who call the locations.
- Delight & Influence Customers: Make sure your locations are responding to customers’ ratings and reviews. Potential customers get influenced by your store’s or branch’s reviews. Turn this to your advantage by capturing the delight of existing customers. Their good words will do a world of good for your business.