How to Survive the Amazon Takeover with Local SEO
Sure, nearly 90% of all retail sales are still made at physical locations, but that doesn’t mean retailers across the board aren’t feeling pressure from the exponential growth of eCommerce. With Amazon leading the charge, brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the squeeze as customers have begun to divert an increasing share of their wallets towards shopping online.
The threat of a complete Amazon takeover was once an afterthought that sat in the distant horizon. However, the reality of what brick-and-mortar retailers are actually facing has quickly become the topic of conversation.
To illustrate the reality of a Amazon’s domination: Nearly 1$ out of every $2 spent online currently flows through Amazon. One top investment firm has even created its own “Death by Amazon” index that tracks the stock prices of 54 retail chains they believe are most threatened by the online retailer.
No one is safe as Amazon continues to expand into even more areas of retail. From grocery stores to auto parts to fashion retailers, the number of companies under threat is growing. It’s not just the small to medium sized retailers who are hurting either. Giants such as Costco, Target and Macy’s have all taken considerable hits to both stock prices and profits as a result of Amazon’s recent acquisitions and continued success online.
A Brick and Mortar Retailers Secret Weapon:
With all the doom and gloom, retailers may be stuck thinking there’s not much they can do to fend off the eCommerce boom, but quite the contrary, brick-and-mortar retailers have had a secret weapon hiding in their arsenal this entire time: their physical locations!
If retailers simply look to improve their eCommerce offerings and compete with Amazon online, they may quickly find themselves in the wake of Amazon destruction. However, leverage the one area where Amazon physically can’t compete and you have the opportunity to not only weather the rise of eCommerce, but continue to thrive.
A physical presence is so crucial that even Amazon has begun to concede to the necessity of having one. Between ironically opening a number of bookstores, as well as Amazon Go – the first cashierless convenience store – Amazon’s commitment to compete head-to-head with brick-and-mortar retailers is starting to grow.
In some cases, the marketing efforts of retail seem to be reflecting that they have begun to see the advantages and opportunities that a physical location provides. During the holidays, Nordstrom had special parties for its loyal customers, and Walmart also had special in-store events.
Just a few years ago, our clients were pushing more and more business to their website for e-commerce transactions, but now they are rethinking that strategy because they can’t and won’t win against the Amazon engine. It’s very difficult to differentiate online. But they can differentiate completely with great in-store experiences.
4 Local SEO strategies to help retailers leverage their physical locations
Place an Emphasis on the In-Store Experience
The majority of customers that shop in-store are coming for one type of experience or another. It may be the tangible experience of touching and feeling products, the atmosphere of the store itself or the experience of engaging with store associates. Regardless of why customers choose to shop in-store, it is imperative that brick-and-mortar retailers place an emphasis on delivering a great overall in-store experience.
How can you deliver the type of experience that has customers raving and coming back time and time again? The short answer is to listen to what they have to say. Retailers already have volumes of local customer data in their possession in the form of customer reviews. Local SEO tools like review monitoring and sentiment analysis can help you gain a better understanding of what’s working at your stores and what is not. Retailers can then use this understanding to improve the in-store experience in the ways in which customers have actually requested.
Creating unique and great experiences will not only have those customers coming back, but they are much more likely to leave great reviews for your stores, which will then have a huge effect on increasing your rankings and getting in front of other potential customers to beat out the competition in local search.
Perfect Omni Channel Retailing and the Online-to-Offline Experience
80 percent of people like buying items online and picking their purchases up in store. Consumers don’t think in the world of online and offline, why should you? More importantly, this is another area where Amazon can’t compete.
Today’s consumer shops with every impulse, fusing both worlds together. Searching, discovering, ordering, shopping, and returning, both in and out of the store. Understand where and how your customers are shopping and how your online efforts influence and drive in-store visits. Our clients have reported that buying online and picking up in-store (BOPUS), drives an increase in basket values since they are already at the store and decide to walk around and often find a few more things to add to the purchase. That doesn’t happen on their website.
Capitalize on Customer’s Need for an Immediate Solution and Instant Gratification
On top of seamless experiences both online and offline, customers are shopping in store because it immediately solves whatever problem they may have and provides instant gratification.
76% of local searches result in a same-day store visit. Additionally, nearly 50% of shoppers choose to shop in store rather than online simply because they could take their purchases home immediately. Local searches are actionable and goal oriented by nature. Customers who are using it are doing so because they want to go somewhere and buy something right now. For brick-and-mortar businesses that are able to capitalize on local search and reach page one of the results page, this means more store traffic and more opportunities to make a sale.
Get to Know the New Generation of Shoppers
Fish where the fish are biting – it may be time to usher in a new generation of shoppers. Despite their endless fascination with electronics and having grown up in a digital world, the younger generations much prefer to shop in stores.
At 80 million strong and with $200 billion in buying power it can be quite profitable to learn how to cater to the 50% of millennials who prefer shopping in-store. Some of the motivators that millennials see for shopping in store are the opportunity to try out or try on the products they want to buy, as well as the experience of “the treasure hunt” or the opportunity to find a great bargain in store.
**Reasons for shopping in store:
Getting even younger, by 2020 Generation Z will be the largest group of consumers worldwide, making up 40% of the US, Europe and BRIC countries. The behaviours and preferences of this up and coming generation will dictate the future of retail. Luckily for brick-and mortars, 81% of them prefer to shop in stores. Where millennials were looking for opportunities to touch and feel the products they wanted to buy, Gen Z is more enticed by “fun store experiences” and “live events” that they can enjoy and also share with their friends via social media. They also mentioned in-store specials as a motivating factor for shopping in store.
The Amazon takeover is coming: It is no longer a matter of if, but when. The question is, will you be ready when it hits?
Despite the growth in eCommerce, the market for brick-and-mortar retailing will continue to thrive and those who can leverage their physical locations will withstand the impact that Amazon and online retailing is having on their revenue. Schedule your FREE demo with Chatmeter to learn more about Local SEO and how it can help drive in-store traffic and boost revenue.