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What recent industry announcements around mobile search mean for brands with a network of stores

Bruno Berthezene

Bruno Berthezene

June 18, 2015

Bruno Berthezene, Country Manager, Solocal Group UK

 

There has been recently a flurry of announcements around mobile and local search. It therefore seems like an excellent time to discuss these announcements and analyse what they mean and why they are important for brands with a network of stores, dealers, branches or stockists.

 

More Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on desktop computersGoogle recently announced that more Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers in 10 countries worldwide.

 

Local mobile has become huge

Google recently announced that more Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers in 10 countries worldwide, including the US and Japan. This might not be a surprise in the UK, which is one of the most advanced mobile markets, but it comes as a confirmation that this is a global trend

From the very start, mobile has been inherently bound to local, thanks to the geolocation aspect of mobility. It is estimated that 40 percent of all mobile searches have a local intent,  and as consumers are able to access more and more easily information whenever and wherever they want it, this is resulting in a new behavioural pattern Google has dubbed “I-want-to-go-moments”. As Google explains, searches like “near me,” “closest” and “nearby” are becoming progressively more popular, with the number of “near me” searches increasing 34 times since 2011, with 80 percent of those searches coming from mobile devices.

Mobile local searches are not only important for brands to embrace because they are growing in volume, but also because they represent a high purchase intent, and have excellent conversion rates 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 18 percent made a purchase.

Finally with 94 percent of clicks being made through organic search, mobile local SEO represents a huge opportunity for brands, which should not be ignored.

 

As a consequence, mobile and local are increasingly looked for by search engines

It comes as no surprise that the search engines have been taking into account the new behaviours and expectations of the increasingly mobile consumer. Thus, Google recently announced that it would be enhancing its use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, highlighting how mobile has become a key touchpoint in the customer journey.

Google just released a new mobile feature called Google Location Aware Search, which allows consumers to answer their questions about nearby places more easily than ever before.

Last year, Google also demonstrated its belief in the importance of local search by introducing its Pigeon local search algorithm, designed to improve the accuracy of local search.

Looking at the convergence of consumer behaviour trends and search engines initiatives, it becomes clearer every day that brands with a network of stores must provide local search capabilities that are optimised for mobile, or they will lose what is one of the greatest marketing opportunities.

Not deploying a platform that fits the expectations of the customers and the requirements of the search engines can be a strategic mistake

Despite the clear advantages, brands are still not fully unlocking the potential of mobile local marketing. A recent IAB Mobile 250 Audit 2015 revealed that only 43 percent of retailers within the top 250 UK brands have a store locator on their mobile site.

Moreover many of the existing store locators provide a poor user experience. For example they only provide a page with a basic list of stores, with no possibility for the consumers to execute the increasingly valued “near me” searches.

As this highlights, there is a clear gap between the consumers’ behaviour and expectations, and the mobile services many brands currently provide them. The good news is there are solutions that exist that are both cost-effective and easy to implement, and provide clear ROI by converting mobile searches into bookings, driving more footfall in-store and growing customer satisfaction. This includes Solocal Group UK’s solutions such as Leadformance web-to-store platform, which provides the global platform for a brand’s local digital (obviously fully adapted to mobile) presence and visibility, and transactional tools such as Timendo online appointment booking software.

Please contact our team if you want to discuss further how your brand can grow its business by implementing solutions fitting the expectations of the customers and the requirements of the search engines.