The Future of Retail: How Your Franchise Can Stand Out in Today’s Digital-First World
As we all know by now, COVID-19 has re-shaped almost every aspect of our world, retail included. In the world of retail, most of those changes are here to stay. Has your retail brand made adjustments to its localized marketing strategies over the past year and a half? Are you on trend with the future of retail? You’re about to find out. Throughout this blog, we’ll break down the future of retail and provide easy-to-follow steps your retail brand can follow to stand out in today’s digital-first world.
The Shift to Digital Is Here to Stay
As you can guess by the title of this blog, the shift to digital is here to stay. COVID-19 forced retail brands to ramp up their digital efforts. Consumers became accustomed to the added convenience that digital brings, so this trend isn’t going anywhere. What does this mean for your retail brand? If your business hasn’t already ramped up its digital offerings, that’s a good place to start. For instance, consumers should find information about your business easily and get essential information about its products and various locations, which means your local business listings and local pages need to be claimed and kept up-to-date.
Local Business Listings Fuel Local Search Results
You can begin with ensuring that your local business listings are claimed and accurate. Each of your 100s or 1,000s of business locations must have its listing complete with the precise address, phone number, hours of operation, and other essential details. When choosing where to do business, consumers will often conduct a local search on Google to research options “near me”. If your business has all of its local listings information updated, it will help your business rank higher on Google, while also providing consumers with the information needed to make a decision.
Local Pages Provide Convenience for Consumers
Your local pages are another place consumers will use to find information about your business. Local pages are location-specific pages created for each one of your business’s locations. Check out an image of a local page from Nekter Juice Bar. Optimized local pages can increase your visibility on Google and get more eyes on your retail brand. Ninety-one percent of customers start a local search first when looking for a business. If your retail brand has local pages connected to the local business listings that appear in localized search results, you’re increasing your chances of a consumer finding your business instead of the competition. For a more in-depth look at the importance of local pages and how retailers can optimize them, check out our blog on the topic.
While updated local listings and optimized local pages are a must for the future of retail, it’s easier said than done to scale the claiming, optimizing, and managing of 100s or 1000s of pages and listings. Enter SOCi. SOCi Listings empowers you to manage your business listings at scale and optimize your online presence and local search rankings effectively. From syncing, updating, and managing your local listings to custom audits and profile recommendations, SOCi Listings covers every step of the process to launch your listings to the top of search results.
Similarly, SOCi’s next-level local pages solution allows your retail brand to take complete control of 100s or 1000s of customized, responsive local pages or sites that deliver a consistent brand presence and improve local search visibility. SOCi Local Pages also allows your retail brand to quickly make real-time updates to the local page and website data, including custom titles, meta descriptions, keywords, categories, and contact info for every location. The shift to digital is here to stay, so it’s time for your retail brand to get on board.
C-Commerce is A Must
Consumers are now craving a local connection more than ever before, emphasizing the importance of conversational commerce. While consumers continue to shop at brick and mortar stores and online, conversational commerce is the future of retail. What is conversational commerce? Conversational commerce occurs when you engage with prospects and customers in real-time and in a highly personalized manner. These genuine dialogue-driven connections ultimately shorten the sales cycles and result in a more human buying experience.
Retail brands can achieve conversational commerce through an emphasis on local social. A retailer’s localized social presence is vital to drive upper-funnel product and brand awareness and establish authentic connections and engagement with your local customers and community. So how do you execute a winning local social strategy? Data from our 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report guides the way. The report found that Facebook and GMB are the top two local social platforms used by retailers.
When diving deeper into the data, the report found that the leaders in the retail industry have 42 percent of business locations posting on Facebook and 35 percent posting on Google My Business (GMB). Similarly, retail brands post an average of 13 times per month on Facebook and two times a month on GMB. If your retail brand isn’t meeting or exceeding these averages, there’s room for improvement. The type of content your business locations post is also crucial. A similar report found that localized content performs 12x better than content that is not considered localized. Localized content can include, but is not limited to:
- Promotions or giveaways happening at specific storefronts
- Pictures of your local staff or store
- Local events at your store
- Information about local community partnerships or volunteer efforts
- Location-specific holidays or events
If retailers put time and effort into their local social efforts, customers will notice. Like local search, many retail brands might have concerns about managing a local social strategy across 100s or 1,000s of business locations, but again, SOCi is here to help. SOCi’s Social Solution enables retailers to manage and deploy localized content at scale while maintaining brand consistency at both the enterprise and local levels. This tool also allows your retail brand to publish to all major networks to amplify audience engagement, achieving conversational commerce.
Dominate the Retail Industry in 2021 and Beyond
The future of retail is here, and it’s up to your retail brand to make sure you keep up with it. You’re now equipped with all of the information needed to dominate your industry. Digital is here to stay, and your retail brand must adapt. As mentioned previously, you don’t have to navigate the future alone, though. SOCi is the central command for retail brands and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. Whether your company is just getting started in the digital world or needing some fine-tuning, SOCi is here to help. Request a demo today for more information on how SOCi can help your retail brand crush the competition!