It’s easy to think of online and offline retailers as arch-nemeses in the battle for ultimate shopper supremacy. In reality, online and offline retailers are cut from the same cloth as most, if not all, customer-buying journeys will crisscross between the online and the physical world at some point. For retailers looking to make the most of online and physical economies, discoverability is your biggest asset.
SDO: SEO for offline retailers
With 90% of all shoppers preferring to shop in store rather than online, bricks-and-mortar stores have got this sales thing in the bag, right? Not necessarily. Discoverability is still one of the most important assets for shop owners in today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven economy. Enter SDO.
SDO (Store Discovery Optimisation) is SEO for the real world. Similar to SEO, SDO is about converting relevant online searches into shopper visits and sales. All retailers want to increase store traffic offline, so rethinking traditional SEO techniques and applying them to hyper-local marketing makes perfect sense. Picture this: a consumer trying to find a store selling a type of product or brand enters in said details online and discovers numerous nearby physical stores selling what they’re after. Done deal.
You may be thinking that this sounds similar to Google Maps or TrueLocal, and you’d be right. Discovery apps like Google Maps and TrueLocal can benefit brands by showcasing their physical location, opening hours and customer reviews, however, are more akin to business directories like the Yellow Pages. They don’t go down to the product category level, meaning they’re missing key opportunities when nearby shoppers want what they sell.
Virtual product placement
Store Discovery Optimisation ensures the right store gets found by the right shopper. Instead of just being able to search for a ‘shoe store on George Street’ for example, SDO goes a step further and allows consumers to search with deeper keyword phrases, such as ‘high-waisted pants on George Street’. It’s not perfect yet, but the results you get are far better than if you did the same via Google. Being able to place desired products right under the noses of expectant consumers in a timely fashion is the best sales conversion most retailers could expect.
SDO will help the physical retail industry thrive by helping shoppers find the right store. Before retailers were able to organise data on websites and be indexed by search engines, finding the right online retailer was no easy feat. There was no inventory data available at all! That’s why SDO is such a huge leap for physical retailers – it puts them on the same playing field as online retailers in terms of search and discoverability.
Local is the new black
With nearly half of all offline purchases made after a successful initial online interaction, today’s retailers cannot afford a dwindling online identity. The research online purchase offline (ROPO) journey is still dominant among shoppers, with many looking for key touchpoints such as location, accessibility, product information, imagery, customer reviews, etc. to first draw them in online before making a purchase offline. Without these key touchpoints, a consumer will start to question the validity of a brand and move on – there are plenty of other brands out there to see.
SDO gives brands the boost they need to attract local shoppers right when they are ripe for the picking. It’s time to get discoverable or get left behind.
Are you missing out on sales because your store isn’t easily discoverable? We can help. Contact us to start increasing shopper visits and sales today.