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Search & Social Media Important for all Retailers

Technology is central to your customers’ lives and everything is available just a click away, the man from Google advised retail owners at the ACS Summit19 last week. Shoppers are becoming more impatient, says Harry Walker, head of grocery retail at Google. But they have so much choice that they need options to be curated by people who they trust. Local store owners have an opportunity to be one of those people they trust. “We want abundance but we don’t want to make a decision all the time,” says Walker. “Therefore we like technology that helps us cut through.”

Digitally savvy retailers will be rewarded for proactively helping consumers get things done, he promises. To get started there are three actions to consider and two are free.

First, take ownership of your Google My Business page so people can find your business and to ensure they form a good first impression of you when they do find it. If you are not on Google maps then visitors to an area may never find you. My advice: take action now.

Second, use Google’s insight resources to inform yourself about what consumers are looking for. Walker notes that “best paper towels is trending up”, for example, and so is “vegan food near me”. My advice: A quick look at the tool suggests this is one for advanced users and finding a killer statistic for your local area is unlikely. But keep an eye out in trade information for what is trending.

Third, if you have an advertising budget check out how Waitrose is inserting itself into search results for almond milk! My advice: If you are selling high volume low margin products then you should wait until someone else proves how to make money. Google needs to do more.

Walker notes that while shoppers’ eyeballs are online, their money is not, especially in grocery. He says that most major grocers cannot make money out of delivery and most people will continue doing most of their shopping in local stores for the conceivable future.

This should not comfort you. Innovation will come fast. Take click and collect coffee for example. Millions of Americans now use the Starbucks app to order their coffee so its ready when they arrive in store and this now accounts for 13% of sales.

Retail owners need to put search and social media at the heart of their plans now if they want to engage their customers and potential customers in the future.

Article by Nick Shanagher. Founder of New Convenience Retailing

To learn more about Nick check out the Business Services section of the Store Excel supplier directory

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