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What it Takes for Retail Brands To Dominate Localized Marketing


COVID-19 significantly impacted the retail industry. Retailers faced many short-term challenges, including health & safety, employee or general labor concerns, consumer demand, and more. However, as brands successfully navigated these short-term issues, we have emerged in a very different world. While the shift towards digital was already taking place, COVID-19 expedited it. Globally, 49 percent of consumers shop online more than they did before the pandemic. 


What is your retail brand doing to align with these changes that have taken place? Do you have what it takes to be a leader in your industry? Within this blog, we’ll recap our Top Retail Brands in Localized Marketing report and look at what leaders in the industry are doing to stand out. From local search to local social, there’s a lot to learn. It’s time for retail brands to embrace some of the consumer shifts that took place as a result of the pandemic. 





Shifts in the Digital Landscape for Retail Brands 


From buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS) to curbside pick-up or home delivery services, the transition towards digital is here to stay. How many of these services is your retail brand currently offering? Is there room to streamline or improve some of these services? For your retail brand to stay relevant in today’s digital-first world, you must streamline the customer experience between online and in-store. Customer experience should always remain top of mind, and to help improve it, retail brands should focus on localized marketing efforts. 


With localized marketing, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You need both localized search and localized social marketing to achieve a healthy and fully optimized localized marketing presence covering all stages of the digital consumer journey. Having a presence in both is vital to building awareness and consideration for your retail brand, and it’s ultimately a way for your business to convert potential customers and win more sales. The data speaks for itself. For instance, three out of four consumers say they discovered a new product or service based on recommendations and posts on social media. Similarly, nearly one out of every two searches now has local intent. For your retail brand to stay relevant in today’s digital world, a focus on both local search and social is a must.




A Breakdown of Localized Social for Retail Brands


While your retail brand likely understands the importance of local social, how do your efforts compare to industry leaders? Data from our previously mentioned Top Retail Brands in Localized Marketing report provides answers. The report analyzed 28 of the top retail brands across the country and found that multi-location retail brands have a strong location presence and a high posting frequency when it comes to local social marketing. 


For instance, on Facebook, retail brands post an average of 14 times per month at the local level. This breaks down to an impressive 3-4 posts per week. Localized content performs 12x better than content that is not considered localized, so keeping a solid local social presence is a must. When it comes to percent of locations posting, retail brands have an average of 66 percent of their locations posting on Facebook. Is your retail brand meeting or exceeding these averages? If not, you could be missing out on making connections with new leads. Lacking a presence on local social media can also hurt your retail brand’s online presence.





Although retail brands are crushing some aspects of their local social strategy, the report also looks into areas of opportunity. One of the most significant areas of opportunity for retail brands when looking at local social is posting frequency on Google My Business (GMB). Currently, only 20 percent of top retail brands are posting on their local GMB profiles, and when they post, it averages out to less than once a month. Posting more frequently on local GMB profiles is a must, as Google posts increase web traffic and conversions. 


Retail brands should also pay attention to community features like Q&A on GMB. Top retail brands currently have an average of 20 questions on their local GMB profiles, with only two percent of them being responded to by the retailer. If your retail brand doesn’t respond to the question itself, you’re allowing someone else to respond and potentially provide inaccurate information. While social media is a critical aspect of a winning localized marketing campaign, it’s crucial to consider local search. 


A Look Into Localized Search: What’s Working, and What Isn’t 


Localized search resides in lower-funnel consumer engagement, such as searching for and transacting with local businesses. Search is the first place consumers turn when they have a defined need. Our Top Retail Brands in Localized Marketing report found that retail brands perform better in local search compared to local social. For instance, retail companies show strong performance in claiming their local business listings and pages across top local search sites like GMB and Facebook. On average, retail brands have claimed 93 percent of their listings on GMB and 98 percent on Facebook. As a multi-location retailer, your brand should aim to have 100 percent of its local listings claimed across local search platforms. 


Top retail brands also succeed at maintaining high local ratings and reviews across the top local search platforms. For instance, retail brands have an average star rating of 4.2 across both Facebook and GMB. These same brands also have hundreds of local reviews posted per location. Why is this important? A star rating increase of just 0.1 could increase the conversion rates of a business location by 25 percent. Focusing on improving your star rating at each local store should be a top priority for retails. 


As expected, there are some areas of local search where retail brands can improve as well. For instance, compared to the percent of locations claimed and profiles optimized on Facebook and GMB, Yelp could use extra attention. On average, the top retail companies have claimed 81 percent of their local listings on Yelp and have a profile completeness rate of 76 percent. There’s also room for improvement when it comes to the timeliness of response to reviews. Your retail brand should aim to respond to reviews as quickly as possible, especially the negative ones! 


Dominate Your Retail Brand’s Localized Marketing Strategy


After taking in all of this information, how does your retail brand stack up against the competition? For a more in-depth look at the data, download the full report here. Now that you know where your retail brand needs to improve in both local search and local social, it’s time to get started. While managing these efforts across 100s or 1,000s of business locations provides a big challenge, SOCi is here to help. 


For instance, SOCi’s Social Solution enables multi-location retail brands to manage and deploy localized content at scale while maintaining brand consistency at both the enterprise and local levels. Your retail brand can publish to all major networks to amplify audience engagement with localized shareable content with this tool. Similarly, you won’t have to worry about finding types of content to publish, as this tool helps you discover, create, and share dynamic localized content while maintaining strong brand consistency across all business locations.



While SOCi’s Social Solution can help you crush your local social efforts, what about local search? SOCi has two tools that can give your retail brand the support it needs to outperform the competition in local search. SOCi Listings enables your retail brand to ​​sync, update, and manage your business listings to maintain accurate and consistent listings across 35+ direct integrations to leading directories, including GMB, Facebook, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Waze, and Yelp. Ensuring your retail brand has all of its local listings claimed is no longer an issue with SOCi Listings



SOCi Reviews can also help with the reputation management aspect of local search. Through SOCi, users can view every action taken on reviews and monitor every activity on social media. Now, your local, regional, and corporate teams will always know which reviews and social engagements are addressed and which ones still require attention to ensure the prompt responses consumers expect. There’s no longer an excuse for your local stores not to respond to reviews, especially the negative ones! 


SOCi has everything your retail brand needs to strengthen its localized marketing strategy and win more sales. For more information about how SOCi can give your retail brand’s marketing efforts the boost they need, request a demo today!



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