Could Local Search have prevented High Street Closures?



Has your business struggled to get customers through the door in 2018? UK consumers have become fairly used to major high street brands struggling and in worst case scenarios having to close down completely due to lack of footfall. This has led to many well-loved brands having to close their doors permanently – but could anything have been done to stop this?

Without taking into account individual industry fluctuations, many high street stores have struggled to keep up with technological innovations that have changed spending habits. Local Search or Local SEO is now incredibly important for converting an online audience into physical footfall in-store, but could this strategy have helped ailing businesses to get more customers into store?

The Current State of the High Street

The UK high street is seemingly faltering under pressure from online sales and evolving consumer habits, leading to many local stores having to shut down to save a business or worse; an entire company going into administration. In fact, the Guardian reported that 5,855 high street stores closed their doors permanently in 2017. That’s 16 stores per day on average.

Fast forward to June 2018, and we have already seen businesses including New Look, Mothercare, Maplin and Carpetright having to shut a significant amount of stores to stay afloat, while Toys R Us and Poundworld have both gone into administration, leaving each business in tatters and thousands of employees looking for new jobs.

Why are High Street Businesses Failing?

This current trend of failing high street businesses is certainly indicative of them failing to appeal to customers, but also not keeping up the technological and online innovations that are taking the attention away from visiting a physical store.

That being said, Accenture reported that the “brick and mortar store will continue to make the largest revenue contribution until at least 2026”. Google Inside Adwords backed this up by stating that 90% of global sales will occur in a physical store. So if customers are still so keen on shopping in a physical store, why are high street shops still suffering?

The answer lies with changing consumer habits as technology paves the way for new ways to shop. The customer journey is now likely to begin online, either with research at home regarding a product, or within what Google describes as a ‘micro-moment’, which is a snap-decision on where to go and shop.

Think with Google stated that nearly a third of all mobile searches are related to location, meaning there is a massive emphasis on a customer being able to find their way to a physical store before they make any kind of purchase. That means that the start of recognising the changing spending habits of your customers is catering to how they would like to make a purchase. Namely; creating a solid local search strategy.

Can Local Search save your Business?

As much as local search will improve the visibility of your brand online and offline, it is up to you to remain innovative and appealing to their customers. That includes providing exciting new products and services, marketing their brand in a way that customers will be aware of them and ultimately remaining relevant to their key demographic without falling behind to more-innovative competitors.

However, local search is the digital signpost pointing customers towards your physical store, ensuring that once shoppers have made their mind up about your business and want to make a purchase, they can find you easily. It also provides the following benefits:

  • Clear business and contact information
  • Easy navigation to the store through Google Maps, Apple Maps, Facebook, Bing and others
  • Positive reviews from customers who can recommend your products and services
  • A higher ranking on search results for digital shoppers
  • Improved usage of your website and easier to find store pages

For more benefits, have a read of our previous post: How Local Search Tactics can Improve Footfall for your Business.

These benefits alone will make sure that your business is being found by customers in the local area, catering to modern consumer habits and making your brand as visible as possible. Local search should be the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy, especially if your business relies on getting customers into stores.

To find out how Tecmark can help you create or improve your local search strategy, get in touch with one of our experts today.

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Tecmark Author Rob Bester

About the Author

Rob Bester:

Rob joined Tecmark in January 2018 and has been working in digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager for over 3 years, writing for a huge range of different clients and subjects.

Visit Rob's Page
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