It’s no news that the global pandemic of 2020 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by a landslide. A McKinsey Global Survey shows companies have sped up digitizing their internal operations and consumer and supply chains by three to four years, while the share of digital products has accelerated by a remarkable seven years. We spoke to the many digital changes small business owners made to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic in a previous post, but while 83% of U.S. shoppers will admit that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way they shop, it may not be in the ways you think.
Launching a digital shop was a crucial move for businesses working to stay afloat amid quarantines and closures. However, the increasing consumer desire for convenience and their growing social consciousness demonstrates that local search efforts still matter. Here’s why local search should still be a high priority for your small business:
Why Local Search Still Matters for Small Businesses
1. The pandemic created an upsurge in hybrid shopping behaviors.
But as the world opens back up and things return to normal, consumers are seeking out the convenience of local pickup and delivery options. The ease of online shopping combined with the convenience of local pickup or delivery has become more appealing than ever, with 50% of U.S. shoppers stating they foresee themselves selecting curbside pickup options long after the pandemic is over. As search habits shift from “clothing store near me” to “clothing store near me curbside pickup,” brands will want to ensure they are not just meeting consumer desires for hybrid shopping options but also employing keyword tracking and listing optimization tools that keep them in the know on what nearby consumers are searching for online; allowing them to optimize their online strategy for local search.
2. Local shopping is on the rise.
Last year’s pandemic ignited an increased awareness of the importance of local community on a global scale. Shutdowns and stay-at-home orders redirected consumers to be more socially and locally conscious, and their shopping patterns confirm this. Google has shared that there has been a 20,000% increase in “support local businesses” searches globally year over year! As a result, SMBs should be optimizing for these types of searches across their marketing efforts.
3. All businesses benefit from optimizing for local search—even those that are online-only.
Yes, that’s correct. Even online-only businesses benefit from optimizing for local search. When you consider that 93% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product and 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, local SEO makes sense. Learn more about why online-only businesses should still focus their efforts on local search in our previous blog post here.
Get up to speed on local search with these training sessions: