If you own a local shop, chances are you’ve noticed a big change in how customers find your business. In the past, you could run a Yellow Pages ad, send out mailings to draw in new business, or run coupons in the local newspaper. None of those techniques have worked since the dawn of the internet. Luckily, local business directories have filled in the gap.
Why Is It So Difficult to Get Consumer’s Attention?
Things used to be easier, didn’t they? But these days, we’re constantly surrounded by 24 hour news, nonstop activities for us and our kids, and most of us work full time jobs in addition to all of that. It can be exhausting.
That’s why so many people turn to the internet. They can simply find a website they like, order products with a click of the mouse, and then sit back and wait for those products to appear at their door. It’s fast, easy, and online stores are booming because of the convenience.
And if you listen to the doomsayers, you’ll hear that the internet has killed the retail business.
But that’s not necessarily true.
People Like to Shop
As easy as buying things online is, studies show that people still enjoy stopping in their local shops and buying things. Why? There are many reasons.
Here are a few.
If you’re going to buy a new shirt, don’t you want to touch it and feel the fabric? The same goes for a pair of earrings, that new wheelbarrow, or the new pillow for your bed. So many people buy things online and then have to return them because what they received isn’t what they expected.
And that goes for color options, too. When is the last time you tried to buy something from an online shop and had to select a color? You probably quickly learned that the way a color looks online is not how it looks in person. In fact, that red you see online may turn up maroon once the product reaches you.
And those are just a few of the many reasons why people like to buy from their local shops.
Another reason people like to go to their local shops to make purchases is that frequently, they can save money. Because here’s the deal: just because something is sold online, that doesn’t’ mean it’s less expensive.
In fact, by the time you add in shipping, consumers often pay more for something than they would have if they’d gone to a local store. Many online retailers now offer free shipping to overcome this barrier to sales. But let’s be honest — consumers are smart. Most of them understand that if they’re getting free shipping on an online good, that shipping charge is built into the sales price.
So, get the idea out of your head that shopping online is less expensive. That’s just something the online retailers have attempted to drill into people’s minds.
One of the biggest reasons why people prefer to shop locally has to do with returns. We all make mistakes when shopping, and if we have to return something to an online store, the process can be overwhelming. For instance, you will have to get in touch with the online store’s customer service department and ask for return instructions. This can take some time, depending on the store. Next, you will probably have to repackage the item, address it to the online store and take it to the post office. Some online stores offer to pay for returns, while many of them don’t. So, you may have to spend extra money to return the item.
Next, you will have to wait for the online store to receive the product and credit you for the sale. Again, this can take some time.
But when you need to return an item to a local shop, things are easier. Many stores only require that you save your receipt and bring back the item.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule:
People need people
Finally, another reason why people like to shop locally is that they get to interact with people. Consumers spend so much of their day online at work, when reading the news, or doing other fun activities. And all that online time results in a lack of human interaction.
But when they shop locally, they talk to people, get other’s opinions about their purchases, and even form relationships with the sales staff. None of this is possible when shopping online.
As you can see, there are many reasons why consumers like to shop at local stores. And local business directories can help these consumers find the right store for them. But before we talk about that, let’s take a look at the elephant in the room: the retail Armageddon.
What About the Retail Armageddon?
The death of retail stores has been all over the news lately. Experts are speculating that local shopping is dead, and soon, people will buy everything they need from online stores. Amazon and other large retailers are surely doing all they can to ensure that comes true.
But not all consumers are okay with that plan.
The truth is that yes, many local stores are closing across the nation. But let’s take a closer look at what’s going on.
Many of the stores that are closing also have online shops associated with them. In those instances, their customers may have decided that buying from them online was preferable to driving to the store. After all, many of these big box businesses don’t hire employees that can match the customer service skills and friendliness that family run local businesses do.
And we can’t ignore the fact that some of the stores that are closing simply don’t offer the goods or selection that today’s consumers want.
But perhaps the biggest thing we should look at is local marketing. In other words, did the closing stores employ local business directories in their local marketing efforts?
What Are Local Directories?
We’ve established that the Yellow Pages is dead. And people no longer look for coupons in their newspapers or check their mail for announcements about store openings. But one thing they do is look online when they want to make a purchase.
And almost 100 percent of them go to local business directories to find the stores they shop in.
The New Yellow Pages
Local business directories are the Yellow Pages of the internet. It’s the place where people go when they want to find local businesses or restaurants. And if a business can’t be found on local business directories, most consumers will never even know they exist.
Chances are, all those stores that are closing don’t have a business listing on any local business directories.
Here’s a short video that shows you exactly how local business directories work:
How to Get Your Listing on Local Business Directories
If you’re a consumer, you already know how to find local businesses on a local directory. You simply log on to the directory and type a keyword in the directory’s search bar. You can look for specialty shops, bakeries, restaurants, car repair shops, clothing stores, or any other local business you want to find.
But if you own a local business, you need to know how to create a free business listing on local business directories.
Here’s how to do it:
Yes, it’s mine!
Your first step in the process is to search for your business on the local business directory and then claim it as the owner. This will give you the right to take the next steps in the process.
Give them what they want
Consumers use local business directories to get the information they need to decide whether or not to visit a business. To make that decision, they need the business’ name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and anything that makes that business unique. For instance, if you own a local coffee shop, you might list the fresh pastries you offer or provide a list of your coffee flavors.
Fill in as many details as you can. The more you offer, the better your chances that customers will come to your store.
Tell us how you feel
Finally, once you’ve created your free listing on local business directories, it’s time to get some reviews. Customers trust reviews, and the more you have, the harder your local business listing will work for you. Ask happy customers to leave a review at every check out transaction.
Here is one more short video that walks you through the process:
Local Business Directories Are the New Marketing Tool
If you want to prosper and not just survive, you need to think like today’s consumers when it comes to local marketing. They aren’t looking in the same places anymore, and that’s why you need to take your marketing efforts online.
If you haven’t already set up your free local listing on local business directories, what are you waiting for? The time to bring new customers into your shop is now!