Saturday, June 10, 2017

What’s Next for Local Search and Shopping?

This article to serve as a viewpoint on a 2013 panel discussion around the role of commerce in local search industries and how the industry is struggling to adapt.

For starters, this roundtable occurred in late 2013, so some of the content is very dated and the problems may have been solved…..or have they?

While this article does a good job of summarizing the key point of this marketing and IT industry roundtable around customer conversion based on local search, I want to use this opportunity to expand on what I consider to be the key point for my reader to ponder even further.

The big idea here is that marketers and the tech world can use commerce functionality as a differentiator for search engines in a way that pulls in local companies across all “verticals” (read business segments) and captures consumers already in a search ecosystem by enabling those users to “find” local businesses of interest in a way that creates a win for both the search provider and the local business.
To be successful with this task, a few things have to be aligned.

(1)         User friendliness of search function for finding local businesses and ultimately being converted into paying customers.

(2)          More flexible / attractive purchasing and delivery options to the millennial and new-age consumer.

(3)          Expansion of local business offerings that keeps the interest of the consumer.

(4)          ability of inventory to reflect real-time /updated inventory levels.

(5)          Effective semantic markups that attract and communicate the message of the businesses.
The key takeaway here is that unless you can capture all of the above while also layering on predictive power to understand the user/consumer’s taste, habits and anticipated consumption pattern, the full potential of search as it relates to local businesses and shopping will not be a fully optimized and efficient outlet for sourcing paying consumers.

Or you could just drive around the neighborhood and discover new businesses, but who has time (or a car) for that kind of aimless nonsense today?

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