Are you ready to make the most of the return of ‘near me’?

22/06/2021 | Article

written by Gabriela Vargas, Media Coordinator, Cadastra.

There is an old saying that in life and business, change is the only constant. But there were no old sayings which warned us how it would accelerate

The 21st century has been categorised by innovation and disruption. The explosion of digital technology, the dawn of the internet and the advent of the smartphone era has created a landscape ripe for rapid change.

And this capacity for change was put to the test with the emergence of COVID-19.

The pandemic challenged the agility of brands and consumers alike, prompting unprecedented change in the face of mass uncertainty. How we interacted with our friends, family, colleagues, our daily routines and spending habits, all transformed seemingly overnight.

“There isn’t a world where consumers revert back to their 2019 behaviours. Part of that is due to their level of comfort with these new habits.” – Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy

Change is defining our lives right now. Retailers and consumers alike need to be ready for change at any moment. One impactful example of this sudden change is the lifting of lockdown, and the reopening of physical stores. As people return to the streets, retailers need to be ready with the right digital strategies to engage and drive traffic in store.

Digital and dynamic

Consumers and retailers have had to adapt quickly to the pandemic. And so the world turned to digital. 

Latin America’s online marketplace Mercado Libre sold twice as many items per day in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period the previous year. And African e-commerce platform Jumia reported a 50% jump in transactions during the first six months of 2020.

China’s online share of retail sales rose from 19.4% to 24.6% between August 2019 and August 2020. Thailand saw downloads of shopping apps jump 60% in just one week during March 2020. In the US, online spending represented 21.3% of total retail sales in 2020, compared with 15.8%  the year prior.

This planet-wide increase saw e-commerce’s share of global retail trade grow from 14% in 2019 to about 17% in 2020.  

In particular, it became crucial for retailers to become “hyperlocal”. Location matters more than ever. As people travel less, merchants need to be able to capture commerce from those in their local area effectively. Consumers are now much more thoughtful about the number of trips they make to stores and want to know if the items they need are available nearby – Google searches for “in stock” have grown globally by over 800% year on year.

This means understanding how people search. Searches for “available near me” have grown globally by more than 100%, through the pandemic. “Near me” is no longer just about finding a specific place. It’s now about finding a specific thing, in a specific area, and in a specific period of time.

Thinking big, going local

To help last-minute shoppers find their product or service, retailers need to have an effective local advertising strategy. This means reaching nearby shoppers with the right information about your locations, allowing you to attract customers in-store through an omni-channel experience.

Tools, like Google’s Local Inventory Ads, allow retailers to highlight the products available and the options for collecting or ordering them – as well as health and safety updates, special promotions, and important business changes on a store-by-store basis or at scale for multiple locations.

Google My Business is another vital tool for retailers. The tool allows retailers to update their information dynamically. So informing consumers of adjusted opening/closing hours, any restrictions around COVID, as well as linking to Google Merchant to give real-time stock updates and cover demand local to your store through geolocated campaigns.

  • Searches for “local” + “business(es)” have grown by more than 80% year over year, including searches like “local businesses near me” and “support local businesses.”
  • Searches for “who has” + “in stock” have grown by more than 8,000% year over, including searches like “who has nintendo switch in stock” and “who has gym equipment in stock.”
  • Searches on Google Maps for “curbside pickup” have increased globally by 5,000% year over year.

CASE STUDY: Turning clicks into trips for retailers

At Cadastra, we implemented a digital strategy for a leading retail brand in Brazil. Considering the changing habits of consumers, we developed an omni-channel experience which would help the retailer increase traffic at points of sale.

We developed a campaign which would allow the brand to capture consumers searching via smartphones in the area around their stores – using higher bids for users who are closer to the stores, with a radius segmentation of up to 5km around the points of sale.

  • 17% of Clicks led to physical store visits;
  • Local ads CTR is +23% higher than on standard ads
  • Overall, the CTR for mobile is 31% higher than on desktop, looking specifically at clicks on local ads, it is 27% higher;
  • CTR for users that are nearby the store is 11% higher than users at further locations;
  • Conversion rate of users who are closer to the store is 24% higher compared to other locations.

Change is the only constant

The world is changing faster than ever. We are all getting more comfortable living in uncertainty. But in this era of sudden change, there are lucrative opportunities for retailers to develop powerful omnichannel strategies that help consumers navigate the new normal.

This means knowing how to effectively capture local commerce by understanding how consumers are behaving – what they are searching for, why and when – and developing a strategy which empowers you to answer these signals with the right message at the right time.

Is your digital strategy ready for a omnichannel consumer in a constantly evolving world?