Google Mobile Consumer Report

The Consumer Journey in a Million Little Moments

Last week, Google’s Matt Lawson wrote an article called I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store that details how the advent of the smartphone has irrevocably changed the way consumers discover, research and purchase products and services.

With the variety of ways and ease with which consumers can access information, marketing has become a pursuit that requires considering all possible channels that a consumer might travel through on their way to a purchase. Perhaps the channel with the biggest impact is local search.

According to the article, searches related to stores or activities that are “near me” are on the rise, largely because it has become so easy to find this information. “Google search interest in ‘near me’ has increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority come from mobile—80% in Q4 2014,” writes Lawson.  People were wrong when they predicted the end of the brick-and-mortar store—consumers still want to be able to buy things and bring them home that day.

Some retailers have adapted their tactics in response to this. Macy’s, REI and PetsMart are trying to create ads specifically targeted at consumers looking for local shops, with the end goal being instant gratification for the customer. Inventory advertising systems are being put in place, so that ideally a shopper can know instantly that J. Crew is selling the shoe they want in the right size—and that there is only one pair left.  It’s like some kind of neo-classical economic utopia where consumers have perfect information and can make the right decisions.  Hayek would like this stuff, is all I’m saying.

So what should marketers take away from this? Well, as we always say, whether you are a big company or small, you need to make your local presence visible to digital consumers so you can capture organic traffic when they search for your brand or the products you sell in a specific geography—whether it is a town, a ZIP code or “near me.”

The simplest, most effective way to do this is by publishing local landing pages for every single one of your locations. Once you capture this traffic with your local pages, you can convert searchers to purchasers (online or at a physical location) with useful, localized content and relevant calls-to-action.  Every “I-want-to-go moment” in the consumer journey is a potential sale for your brand—but without a properly executed local digital marketing strategy, too many of those moments will culminate in visits to your competitors.

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