Whether you have a website or not, you are no doubt familiar that the smartphone is changing consumer behaviour with the explosive growth in “location-based searching”. For the in-store retailer, the emergence of local search represents a massive opportunity to reach local shoppers who are using discovery tools (like apps, search engines, directories) to locate products and the stores that sell them. Best of all, participation in these local discovery tools is often at no charge at all.

The key to acquiring free traffic from local discovery tools like Google, Yellow Pages, and Yelp is to ensure you are represented on the internet with relevant digital content. Relevance is based on shopper intent – or descriptor keywords like a brand (Nike) or category (shoes) – and of course, proximity. For example, a great local user experience search for “buy Nike running shoes, Toronto”, would utilize your geo-location and return results for stores in your area that your preferred search engine is able to tell sells Nike running shoes.

An exceptional search experience is a not just a “win” for shoppers. In fact, Google’s recent research only emphasizes the significance that an online presence has on a retailer’s bottom line:

·   94% of smartphone users searched local stores nearby
·   66% visited a store as a result
·   26% made a purchase

The evolution of user search behavior on web and mobile applications makes it easier than ever to introduce yourself to local consumers, hungry for instant gratification. As the shop local trend grows, the question becomes – can consumers find you in the digital jungle?

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