Rethinking Physical Retail Search to Compete with Amazon

This piece by Booodl Co-Founder & CEO, George Freney, was originally published by Local Search Association.

The rise of location centric search poses a huge opportunity for physical retailers to thrive by increasing shopper visits. Store Discovery Optimization (SDO) is dedicated to this concept: making stores, brands and malls more discoverable, thereby helping to steal back sales from Amazon.

Gone are the days of aimlessly wandering from store to store looking for what you want. Our expectations have changed: shoppers are searching on-the-go and they expect the right answer, right when they want it. We’ve all experienced at some point the frustration of not being able to find a store selling what we want. It’s frustrating and time consuming.

Convenience is king, and the perceived convenience of online over in-store shopping is the main reason online shoppers choose that avenue. Just look at Amazon and the rise of the Alexa-powered Echo (now available in the UK and Germany). Shoppers can ask Amazon’s intelligent assistant, Alexa, to buy products they want when the urge strikes – and once they start, they’re part of the Amazon “echo-system” forever. Alexa is grabbing so much online growth, but a little SDO can change all that.

If we can make finding the right physical store as easy as it is to find what you want online, bricks and mortar retail will thrive. Let’s not forget that 90% of sales take place in-store and one third of mobile searches are location based!

The future looks something like this: “Siri, where is a store nearby that sells Nike shoes and takes ApplePay?”. If your store or brand is going to be found for relevant location based searches (whether voice or otherwise) you need to optimize your online presence and get acquainted with Store Discovery Optimization today.

Here are three quick ways retailers can drive more shoppers in-store:

1. Get on the Map

Shoppers go online to find what they want offline – are you discoverable? Make sure your business is registered on Google: My Business accurately and update it promptly when things change such as opening hours, address or contact details.

2. The Social Side

Social media sites, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, are key platforms for discovery. Often times, shoppers will follow you on social or come across your social profile, so this is a perfect opportunity to promote your offline store. Include your address in all social bios, post in-store pictures and offer exclusives on social for shoppers who visit your store.

3. Rank in Search Results

The most important way to make your store more discoverable is to be found for relevant location + brand/product searches on the likes of Google and Bing. With the rise of location based searches, this is a no-brainer and a huge opportunity currently being missed. If you’re based in Sydney’s Bondi and stock Nike exercise gear, you want to appear up top on Google when shoppers in Bondi search for ‘running tights in Bondi’. This is the heart of SDO. Think of it as SEO for physical stores. Having your store or brand listed on comprehensive and SEO optimized store directories, like Booodl, is a great way to achieve this and be found.

Location-centric search is on the rise and the time for physical retailers to capitalize is now. Can you imagine an Amazon dominated future with empty high streets and everything getting delivered by drones? That’s not what we want and SDO is the key to thriving retail places and communities.

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