Local Retailers Generate Store Visits with Online Purchase Delivery Alternatives

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One advantage local brick and mortar retailers have over online-only retailers, such as Amazon, is that they can be more flexible when it comes to the way in which they deliver a consumer’s online purchase. In addition to lowering the cost for consumers, some delivery alternatives have the capability of generating in-store visits, which creates another opportunity to sell.

Some delivery alternatives include reserving products online and picking up/paying in-store, using the store as a delivery hub or shipping directly to stores. Not only do these alternatives help lower costs, but consumers want local businesses to offer this flexibility. According to a Forrester Consulting study, conducted at the end of last year, about half of respondents said it was important for retailers to offer in-store pickup for online purchases.

In addition to creating a positive customer experience for those looking for this kind of service, delivering directly to the store increases foot-traffic. This is important because, according to a BIA/Kelsey study, SMBs voted in-person interactions as “excellent” lead sources more than any other lead source except for calls which received equal votes.

The offline pick-up offers an up sell or secondary marketing opportunity for businesses. Much like the products not on the grocery list that end up in the shopping cart, this interaction often generates further sales or opportunities to build customer loyalty.  I can see the in-store pick up being used by retailers to:

  • Recommend similar or complimentary products;
  • Remind consumers of concurrent deals, promotions;
  • Inform consumers of new inventory/products; and
  • Request an online review.

Since an in-person visit is not an option for online-only vendors, and the lead quality of that interaction is so high, the in-store pickup is an incredible opportunity for brick and mortar stores to leverage.  In addition to enhancing the visual experience of the customer from what he or she sees online, the store can appeal to many more senses like touch, feel, smells and sounds.  For this reason, the in-store pickup has the ability to generate more traffic and create more opportunities to make a sale.

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Defining Local: Last Mile Advertising

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After interviewing executives from a range of advertising agencies, platforms and experts including R/GA, Sears, Twitter, Microsoft, YP, Groupon, Mashable and the IAB , we found that there is still a lot of confusion around what “local” actually means.  Overall, the feeling is that the local space isn’t clearly distinguishable from advertising as a whole, but there is a strong conviction that it could and should be.

This is where we believe “Last Mile” can bring some clarity.  In my blog post on Street Fight, I define the Last Mile Advertising space and explain the three pillars that make up this space: Seek, Discover and Consider.

Check out my full article at Street Fight.

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LSA|14 Speaker Spotlight: George Leith, VP of Sales, VendAsta Technologies

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George Leith, VP of Sales, VendAsta Technologies

Today’s Speaker Spotlight features George Leith, VP of sales at VendAsta Technologies.  George will be participating in an Idea Lab at the 2014 Local Search Association Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., April 27-29, and we are really looking forward to the session.

Our Idea Lab sessions are designed to be intimate, smaller focus groups that dive into topics that are impacting the local advertising space.  George’s session, “4 Ways Reputation Management Drives Growth and Profitability,” will explore how reputation management is driving conversion rates, compressing call appointment times, reducing churn and leading to value-added bundling.

Laura Cole, VP of marketing at The Berry Company, and Collin Holmes, founder and CEO at Chatmeter, will also participate in the session.

We asked George to share a preview of the session, and here is what he had to say:

What are the key topics you’ll discuss during your session?
A business’ virtual doorway is more important than their actual doorway.  It is time for businesses to pivot their attention to what consumers see when there is a “knock” on the virtual doorway of any business.

What about your session are you most excited about?
I get very passionate about helping media companies deliver this VITAL service to SMB’s.  It is an education process for business people as well as a service.  We have an enormous opportunity to truly become consultants and help business people with one of the biggest issues facing them today, their online reputation.

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
There are lots of product people out there that do great presentations about digital products.  My presentation will not be about product, it will be about HOW TO SELL the deliverables of that product to an end business.  If you want to learn how to sell “online reputation management” to a business person, after this session you will have the roadmap.

Click here for more information and to register for the LSA|14 conference.

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Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Ratings and Reviews

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Following the recent announcement of a partnership with Yahoo, Yelp, the popular ratings and review site, has partnered with local search provider, YP. There is no denying that ratings and reviews are having an impact on the local marketplace and search providers are making big moves to secure a foothold in the review space.

As platforms use reviews as significant drivers of search rankings and improve their ability to filter out fake reviews – and government officials crack down on dishonest practices – consumer trust and use of reviews can only be expected to grow. This trend will continue to increase the impact of reviews on local businesses.

Here are some compelling stats that show how ratings and reviews are impacting the local advertising space:

  • Online consumer reviews are the third-most trusted form of advertising. (Nielsen)
  • Only half of small business owners think positive online reviews are important. (Yodle)
  • The single most important variable in the ranking of search results on Google’s Local Carousel is the quality and quantity of reviews. (Digital Marketing Works)
  • A one-star rating hike on Yelp can mean a 5-9% rise in restaurant revenue. (Harvard Business School)
  • About 20% of respondents to a Street Fight consumer survey said they would submit a review after a negative experience, and about the same amount said they would submit a review after a positive experience. (Street Fight)

Be sure to check back next week for our next edition of Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week. Have a great weekend!

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Twitter Seeking to Break into Local Ad Market with Click-to-Call Button

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Last week, I blogged about the value of click-to-call programs for local marketers. Now Twitter is testing a new click-to-call button – a capability that some believe will better position the company to attract local business advertisers.

John McDermott provided some insightful commentary on Digiday regarding what the button means for Twitter’s positioning in the local ad space. He said:

“A click-to-call button could potentially help Twitter break into the traditionally digital-averse local advertising market. A local restaurant could advertise a special to Twitter users within a certain proximity, for instance, and measure conversions by how many Twitter users ended up calling for reservations. When Twitter recently launched location-based feature Nearby to select users, many suggested the move helped poise it to enter the local ad market. Location-based apps like Foursquare, Google Maps and Yelp already have click-to-call features in their apps.”

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, just last month I discussed the opportunity for local businesses to leverage Twitter’s new Nearby feature. With the potential addition of the click-to-call button, Twitter is poised to make a splash in the local space.

Something worth noting – a recent study from Pew Research Center shows about half of all Twitter users, comprised of about 8% of all U.S. adults, get news from the social site.  Comparable to the time sensitive and easily shareable nature of news, I can see tweets about offers and deals having similar success when it comes to driving retweets, calls and even store visits for businesses.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Twitter as they continue to develop their local advertising and marketing capabilities.

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LinkedIn Survey: 94% of SMBs Use Social Media for Marketing [Infographic]

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LinkedIn recently shared an infographic entitled, “The Year of the Social Small Business,” which highlights results from an SMB survey on the ways businesses are using social media in their marketing efforts. LinkedIn’s survey found that about 94% of SMBs said they use social media for marketing, while 61% said that social media helps them gain new customers.

Check out the infographic below for details.

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Sightly Discusses Shift from TV to Online Video and Outlines Local Impact

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During Sightly’s webinar last week, CEO John McIntyre discussed the massive growth of the online video audience and the impact this is having on local advertising. Given the large portion of consumers that are now streaming online videos, McIntyre sees a tremendous opportunity to capture the attention of these consumers with local, targeted videos.  Here are some takeaways from the webinar:

  • Video isn’t just for big brands anymore.
  • Best practices for local video ads: create localized commercials, target specific audiences and reach every screen.
  • 190 million Americans watch online video each month.
  • Video ads reach 90% of internet users.
  • Localized and personalized video content creates a 200% boost in response rate.
  • Online video is around 50% more effective than TV when it comes to message and brand recall.
  • Internet users watch 35 billion video ads every month.

Check out the entire presentation below:

For access to all of our past webinars and a look at what’s to come, visit http://bit.ly/LSAwebinars.

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LSA|14 Speaker Spotlight: Laura Rich, CEO, Street Fight

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Laura Rich, CEO, Street Fight

Today’s Speaker Spotlight features Laura Rich, CEO of Street Fight.  Laura will be moderating a panel at the 2014 Local Search Association Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., April 27-29, and we are really looking forward to the session.

During her panel, titled, “How Digital Offers & Couponing Help Customers Find Locations,” Laura will lead panelists beyond traditional search to discuss the key way in which consumers are finding businesses: through commerce and offers.  So far, panelists include Christian Gaiser, CEO of Bonial International Group-Retale, and Ben T. Smith, IV, CEO of Wanderful Media.

We asked Laura for a sneak peek into her session and here is what she had to say:

What are the key topics you’ll discuss during your session?
We’ll talk about the oft-mentioned “Starbucks example,” where relevant mobile offers and coupons are given to consumers at just the right moment, spurring action — and how the mechanics of digital offers can make people try new locations and become more loyal.

What about your session are you most excited about?
In the wake of the daily deals rise and fall, there’s a lot of skepticism in the market about couponing.  Nonetheless, prices and sales remain the key drivers in getting people to buy things. While digital deals and offers may have taken a bad rap, there is still a lot of white space in the marketplace for those deals and offers that can bring people in to small businesses, both as new customers and as repeats.

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
As companies like Groupon, LivingSocial and many others buy keywords, offers and pricing increasingly become part of a consumer’s local search experience. When customers search for businesses, they are often looking for deals and comparing products and inventory. In this kind of advanced search, deals and offers become key drivers for conversion.

Click here for more information on the LSA|14 conference.

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Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Online Video

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This week we focus on the growing online video advertising space and its impact on consumers. As more and more consumers shift from watching live TV to streaming online video, there is a tremendous opportunity for marketers to build awareness and engagement with the growing online outlet.

Here are some compelling stats that show how online video is impacting the advertising space:

  • About 190 million Americans watch more than 52 billion online videos and more than 35 billion video ads each month. (comScore)
  • 91% of agencies and 86% of brands anticipate an increase in video spending in 2014. (Adap.tv)
  • 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service. (Animoto)
  • Online video ads will attract $5.72 billion in 2014. (eMarketer)
  • Online video ads have higher impact than TV ads. (IAB/Nielsen)

Be sure to check back next week for our next edition of Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week. Have a great weekend!

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Answers to FAQs about LSA|14 in Huntington Beach

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When it comes to local advertising and marketing we are still hearing a lot of confusion around what “local” actually means. Is it simply reaching audiences based on location or is it more than that? Well, we have some thoughts on the topic and will be revealing our perspective and the research that backs it up at the 2014 Local Search Association Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., April 27-29.

But before that, here are answers to some FAQs about LSA|14 that are just teasers to the rich agenda we have planned:

What is the focus of the event?
Simply put, innovation and local. We plan on kicking off the conference by defining “local” and showing you what it looks like today. From there, each session will hit on established practices and innovative ways to drive local consumer actions and ROI. In addition, our Ad to Action Awards will highlight some of the most innovative local ad solutions across eight different categories.

Any big names speaking?
Is Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak big enough for you? But the list of great speakers doesn’t begin and end there. We have about 50 influential speakers booked for LSA|14 from companies like Google, comScore, YP, Bing, xAd, JiWire, Retale, Wanderful Media and many more.

Where is the event?
The Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif.  Bike along the coast, hit the links, learn to surf or just watch the sun set over the Pacific. It’s a beautiful place with plenty to do.

What kind of networking opportunities are there?
The entire LSA|14 event is extremely conducive to making new connections and catching up with old ones. With five networking events, the Expo Hall and lots of networking breaks during the day, you’ll get plenty of chances to meet decision makers within the local ad space.

Are there any speaking opportunities?
While our agenda is almost complete, we are offering sponsored speaking opportunities that we are calling, “Company Spotlights.” This is a great opportunity for those of you looking to introduce or remind the local space of your organization or new solution. You’ll get five minutes of the crowd’s undivided attention on the main stage which is plenty of time to make a splash!

Click here for more information on the LSA|14 conference.

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