The number of mobile “near me” searches have exploded over the past two years, including 150% growth for “near me now” searches and 200% growth for “near me open now,” according to data from Google. As more consumers make last-minute shopping decisions, it becomes increasingly important for retailers to become among the top-ranking responses in these searches.
The vast majority of shoppers have used “near me” searches: 82% of the general population has done so at least once, rising to 92% among Millennials, according to a survey by Uberall. The most common “near me” search was for food, mentioned by 84% of respondents, followed by:
- Entertainment (56%);
- Banking (50%);
- Apparel (41%); and
- Personal care (38%).
- Provide Google the data it wants: Retailers must ensure their listing contains as much information as they can give, filling out all the data points that Google requests;
- Keep other search platforms current: Other search engines should be kept up-to-date as well; these give validation to Google and contribute to a brand’s ranking;
- Cultivate positive reviews: Reviews are also taken into consideration in search rankings, so retailers should rectify the causes of negative reviews to ultimately boost their rating; and
- Consider paid ads: Google is experimenting with paid ads for local search results, which can increase visibility beyond what is possible through search optimization alone.
While 48% of shoppers prefer performing “near me” searches with a particular retailer in mind, such as “Foot Locker near me,” companies should be prepared to capitalize on generic searches. Another 29% of shoppers generally search by type of product, such as “shoes near me,” and the remaining 23% look for a particular brand, such as “Nike near me.”
“In the survey that we did, 48% ranked searching for brand first, but it’s only 48%,” said Josha Benner, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Uberall in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “For the other 52%, the first thing they search for is a product, a service or a brand, but not the name of a location. You have to optimize to capture that traffic. That can be the traffic that defines whether you break even or whether you lose money.”
Maximizing the potential of generic “near me” searches is an exercise in search engine optimization (SEO): 60% of shoppers say they are “very likely” to click on one of the first two to three results, with another 33% saying they are “somewhat likely.” Benner offered some tips for retailers looking to improve their visibility:
The content that appears during a search is also important to maximizing a retailer’s impact. Google lists a variety of related suggestions in its search results, and a retailer with compelling photos and strong reviews can attract shoppers who hadn’t originally considered shopping there.
“If you have great compelling visuals, like photos, logos and really good content, you’re going to be shown on your competitors’ listings,” said Benner. “If you look great and you stand out, you might even get some traffic from your competitors.”
An Acquisition And New Funding Enhance Local Data Expertise At Uberall
Uberall is further bolstering its location marketing solutions through the acquisition of Navads, a listing and location data management agency. Together, Uberall and Navads will support nearly 700,000 locations for over 1,500 customers, including Shell, BP and McDonald’s.
Navads ensures business listings are optimized throughout their local search ecosystem, specializing in mobile navigation, autonomous vehicles and voice search. The capabilities will be merged with Uberall’s Location Marketing Cloud platform, which lets retailers manage interactions at the location level in real time across web sites, mobile apps, store locators, search engines, maps and other platforms.
Uberall has secured an additional $25 million investment as an extension of its Series B round, which was initially announced in February. The extension brings the funding round to a total of $50 million.
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