Three Essential Local Marketing Strategies for Retailers During Summer Travel Season
According to the Orbitz Summer Travel Insider Index, 88 percent of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer – and retailers should understand how these vacationers find their businesses so they can tune their digital strategies accordingly. Increasingly, these travelers are shifting to mobile research and discovery—moving away from traditional methods to both plan their vacations and find businesses while they are at their destination.
To better understand how behavior differs when consumers are on the go — whether it is during a cross-country road trip or a weekend visit to family—Placeable surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers. The findings show that the majority of summer travelers prefer proximally convenient businesses when traveling—using their mobile devices to search for nearby retailers and forgoing longer journeys to the storefronts of more familiar national brands.
Internet search engines predominate as the discovery method of choice for vacationers. According to Placeable’s research, 86 percent of respondents use a search engine to research restaurants, retailers and other businesses before visiting an unfamiliar destination. When travelers arrive at their location, 65 percent of them want something nearby, and half say they don’t care about the brand when looking for something they need. Similarly, half would visit the closest retailer likely to have an item they forgot to pack—regardless of brand. Proximity is so important that only one percent of vacationers even consider retailer reviews when looking to replace a forgotten item.
For a multi-location retail brand, data for hundreds or even thousands of locations is at the center of its digital presence. However, if a brand’s location data is missing or inaccurate, it risks losing store visits. Not only is immediate revenue in jeopardy, but also long-term customer trust. Placeable’s research discovered that 73 percent of consumers lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information, and one in three will take home a negative opinion of a brand if they had a bad experience locating it on vacation.
Local marketing success for national brands is built upon a foundation of up-to-date, error-free data. To improve the accuracy of their data, retailers should consider using a centralized location data management system with easy uploading procedures, batch geo-coding, and bulk address correction tools.
Maintaining accurate data and being found online by consumers are both critical to local marketing success, but retailers can’t stop there. They also need to provide relevant, localized content through offers, promotions, reviews, photos, video and more. To compete successfully for the 67 percent of travelers who say they prefer to shop at local retailers, national brands must provide a local digital presence that is useful, engaging and authentic. This means delivering timely location-specific promotions, as well as enriching landing pages with localized content that will improve search results and attract store visits from vacationers.
But in order to deliver this highly relevant and customized information, you must have a unique landing page for each and every one of your locations. How prepared is your team to create and update hundreds, if not thousands of landing pages? It may be advisable to implement a local marketing automation platform to help manage the data and publish the pages quickly and efficiently.
Be Mobile Ready
Once at their destination, nearly half of travelers search online for retailers—typically with mobile devices. And when they look for retailers, 76 percent of vacationing consumers conduct category searches for shops that are local or nearby, instead of searching for specific brands. National and regional retailers competing for these on-the-go consumers must have index-able mobile locators and mobile landing pages to increase their chances of being found online and then at their storefronts.
Because consumers aren’t necessarily seeking out national retailers by name while they’re on vacation, enterprise brands must optimize their sites for non-branded local traffic in order to capture mobile searchers looking for nearby businesses. One of the simplest ways to do this is to publish authoritative landing pages for your individual locations. Given that four out of five travelers use Internet search to find nearby retailers—frequently with a mobile device—local landing pages are essential.
National retail brands can win the battle for vacationing consumers’ wallets, but they must follow these imperatives:
- Do not let incorrect or outdated location data spoil a vacation experience and cost a customer. The customer experience begins when travelers use search engines to find your business.
- Provide engaging, localized information through your landing pages. In-depth online content is essential to retail brands looking to attract shoppers and encourage purchases.
- Make locators and landing pages mobile-optimized for increased visibility and a better customer experience.
Contributed by Melissa Risteff, Head of Marketing at Placeable.