Day 6 of the bigmouthmedia SEO Advent Calendar. You can read day 5 here.
Store Location Strategies, important for Bricks and Mortar Visibility this Christmas
‘Location, Location, Location’ – what was once the name of a popular show on Channel 4, of which has now been repurposed, recycled and refocused as the title for this blog post. The importance of a store location strategy is at times lost, however it should be a key focus point for many online retailers whom still operate a wide berth of bricks and mortar stores. Traditional stores do not always have the same range of products as their online counterpart, with the web acting as a one stop shop for everything within the retailer’s portfolio.
Store location strategies should be double barrelled where appropriate, especially for online retailers with a large portfolio of stores. Think about location, but also think about the services that location offers. Loyal customers may just travel a little bit further to their next nearest store to get the last minute gift they were looking for this Christmas. If this information is not available, it may result in an unnecessary visit to a particular store by your customer, in turn driving them to a local competitor.
Shopping at the last minute is not an alien concept for many people at Christmas, myself included! In the run up to Christmas, many people will be trawling the internet for details on local stores once the standard delivery window for mail order has expired and discovering that only expensive ‘next day delivery’ options are available. Combining this with weather related delivery delays (especially sunny Scotland) and we can begin to identify store based footfall as being of renewed importance as a revenue stream.
Online retailers should think about promoting local stores from their homepages. As Christmas approaches, stores are a prime option in situations where delivery timeframes and weather might be impacting online sales.
3rd Party Location Platforms
Offsite promotion also plays an important part, with a number of location based services such as Google Places and Foursquare providing good exposure for individual stores.
Identifying, documenting and maintaining profiles and information contained on 3rd party websites ensures customers do not end up at stores that do not exist, or have since moved after the information was made available. These 3rd party profiles can all be closely integrated with any associated store pages on the 1st party site.
Individual Store Pages
Guidelines should be in place to ensure all individual store pages provide the most up to date information, so that as changes take place these can be reflected on site. Where stores are individually operated or franchised with separate social profiles, it’s an idea to begin to think about what rich content you can pull into these pages.
Customer reviews, social profile integration, easy to remember URL’s and promotion from within each individual store may well help create a loyalty aspect that not many other online retailers can match.
Ensure you’re ready for Christmas, update your store pages to truly reflect their offering, promote them on site so they become a viable option for customers then ensure all 3rd party profiles and store details are also up to date. Not everything is this post might be applicable, however throwing some ideas around has never hurt anyone (Well, – not that I’m aware of!).