Retail-related mobile searches continue once a customer enters a store, according to research from Connexity’s Hitwise — meaning that a businesses’ digital presence has the potential to close diverse types of physical sales.
Hitwise finds that some 77 percent of retail searches that mention “coupon” are initiated in-store on a smartphone or tablet, as are 73 percent of searches seeking a “sale” and 68 percent of “discount” searches. Likewise, comparison searches that have the potential to motivate or close a sale, such as those focused on “return policy,” “price match,” or “reviews” were made on a mobile device at least 77 percent of the time.
It’s an established fact that consumers tote their smartphones in-store, making it a particularly effective vehicle for reaching them at the moment of truth. But with more research suggesting that in-store search has sale-sealing potential, how can retailers best optimize their online presence to make these sales happen?
Study The Searches
“With these searches taking place in store, retailers risk losing business to a competitor, but they also have an opportunity to further engage their customer,” John Fetto, a senior analyst at Hitwise, told GeoMarketing. “Knowing, for instance, that searches for ‘reviews’ are taking place on mobile devices, retailers can cultivate reviews from their existing customers and become a trusted provider of that information instead of a third party or a competitor.”
Essentially, the common sense principles apply: location management is crucial so that shoppers find accurate store and product information, and reviews are an important component as well. Businesses can manage this by both responding to negative reviews constructively and by encouraging loyal customers to leave positive reviews — either through building a relationship with them or even incentivizing reviews by offering rewards points.
And, of course, local SEO has its role to play: When businesses track and learn what kind of searches their shoppers are most likely to make, they can bid on those keywords in order to up their visibility.
“Retailers can bid appropriately on these types of searches and perhaps provide extra incentive to a shopper who may be looking at their phone while physically present at a competitor’s location,” Fetto said. “Understanding the device from which different types of searches typically originate and then formulating a strategy for engaging the consumers behind those searches is critical. And the risk of not doing so — lost sales, unhappy customers, missed opportunities, etc. —are enormous.”