The Future of Commerce: How Bar Louie Found Success

 

The future of commerce is always changing. Consumers’ buying patterns consistently evolve, causing multi-location businesses to rethink marketing efforts. While digital marketing and a focus on localization have been necessary, the pandemic intensified its importance. Previously, every business location or franchise could operate the same way, but this is no longer the case.

 

Today, service hours and hours of operation are no longer determined by corporate. Brands need to take a more localized approach to ensure their consumers and communities are up-to-date and informed. Bar Louie is an excellent example of a multi-location restaurant that leveraged c-commerce and local SEO to strengthen its localized marketing efforts and remain profitable amid the pandemic. We’ll get more into that next, but first, let’s take a look at the shift to local and the future of commerce and what it means for your multi-location business.

 

The Shift to Local First

 

The Localized Marketing Imperative, a study commissioned by Forrester on behalf of SOCi, found that consumers turn to digital channels like search and social platforms for the most accurate business information during the pandemic. The study also found that 61 percent of marketers see localizing their digital marketing as the largest untapped opportunity for their businesses. Brands that are effectively localizing are growing 3x faster than their peers. In the world of multi-location marketing, localized marketing is no longer a suggestion; it’s a must to grow your business and increase sales.

 

 

 

The Future of Commerce

 

The future of commerce is all about conversation and convenience at the local level. While e-commerce increased some amid the pandemic, we saw a significant increase in c-commerce. C-commerce happens when a consumer hears about a product online but goes to the actual store location to make the transaction. When you look at the consumer journey today, consumers spend most of their time in local social and search.

 

We’re seeing social media becoming more conversational. Local social is the place where local businesses communicate with potential customers, sharing information about their products and services. This typically occurs in the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. Consumers are also having conversations with each other about local businesses. As a multi-location business, it’s essential to be aware of these conversations and take part in them.

 

A lot of consumers are also spending their time on local search platforms, specifically Google. When consumers search, they already have a defined need, and they’re searching to see where they can get that need met. It also adds to the convenience aspect for consumers. If your business doesn’t have your local search platforms optimized, you could be missing out on opportunities. The higher your company ranks on Google, the more likely you will be visible in relevant search results.

 

Getting the Most Out of Conversational Marketing 

 

If you need to be convinced further that conversational marketing is the place to be, consider the following. Seventy-eight percent of purchase decisions are influenced by social. Similarly, one out of every three minutes consumers spend with media is on social platforms. Local social media is more critical than ever before. Bar Louie recognized the importance of social and developed a local social strategy that helped distinguish themselves from the competition.

 

For instance, Bar Louie understands that local social media is now a platform for customer service. Consumers can recommend restaurants through Facebook while also leaving ratings and reviews. As a multi-location marketer, you should be paying attention to these recommendations and reviews and respond to them. If a consumer shares a negative experience with your waitstaff, it’s essential to address that review in a timely and personalized manner. Similarly, if a consumer shares a positive experience, a short “Thank you, [name]!” can go a long way to reinforce their loyalty. Leveraging social media to drive conversation and expand your customer service efforts is essential.

 

While it’s crucial to maintain your local social channels to have conversations with consumers and potential customers, shoppable social is an added benefit. Social commerce is expected to grow 35 percent in 2021, and Facebook is currently the number one platform where users most regularly use the “shop now” feature. Again, Bar Louie realized the added benefit that shoppable social can have in sales and started incorporating it into its localized marketing efforts. For instance, in Facebook posts, Bar Louie highlights a link to its available menu for take-out. If your multi-location business provides opportunities for consumers to shop directly from your local social channels, you increase your sales opportunities.

 

How SOCi Supported Bar Louie to Achieve Success

 

Now that you’ve seen how Bar Louie leveraged local social media to its benefit, it’s time to learn how they did it. Before your multi-location business can focus on conversational marketing, it’s vital to ensure that each of your business locations has its local social page. Connecting at the local level is a critical aspect of conversational marketing, and it can’t be done without local pages.

 

Bar Louie found that timely, localized messaging drives engagement and sales when it comes to conversational marketing. For instance, Bar Louie’s University of Central Florida location posted on a Friday evening about its Saturday and Sunday brunch. This timely and localized post performed well on social media. Bar Louie’s individual store locations also focus on integrating content that moves consumers from a discovery phase to an experience. Take the example below. By posting appealing imagery of their food, Bar Louie creates a sense of FOMO for those who don’t dine at their restaurant.

 

While Bar Louie did most of the work when it came to developing a strong local social strategy, SOCi supported them along the way. SOCi’s social media management solution deploys localized content across 100s or 1,000s of business locations that resonate with your target audience. This content is deployed at scale while maintaining brand consistency at both the enterprise and local levels.

 

 

Bar Louie also leveraged SOCi to help boost their convenience marketing efforts. Through SOCi Listings, Bar Louie maintained updated and accurate business listings across all locations, improving their ranking on Google. SOCi Listings empowers multi-location businesses to manage business listings at scale and effectively optimize online presence and local search rankings. Bar Louie has 98 percent of their listings claimed across business locations, with 95 percent having complete profiles on GMB. The high percentage of claimed local listings paired with accurate listing information is a recipe for success.

 

Convenience and Conversation – The Winning Combo 

 

Bar Louie’s success proves that convenience and conversation marketing is effective. If your multi-location business isn’t already focusing on your local search and social efforts, it’s time to get started. Now is the time to double down on technology-fueled localized marketing to take advantage of the shift to c-commerce. If you need help getting started, SOCi is here for you. For more information on how SOCi can help you perfect your local social and search efforts while also boosting other aspects of your localized marketing strategy, request a demo today!