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The Local Customer Journey is Omnichannel

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The local customer journey is omnichannel. That is the big takeaway from an Uberall survey of 4,000 consumers on “consumer expectations and behaviors in the post-Covid era.”

Ninety-six percent of survey respondents said they start their path to purchase online regardless of whether they ultimately intend to buy online or in-store. Nearly 70% said that more than half their searches are focused on local, meaning that e-commerce’s rise does not necessarily come at the expense of brick-and-mortar businesses. Rather, an online presence has simply become much more integral to the way local businesses connect with customers.

Here are some other key takeaways from the study:

  • Trust is a major asset for brick-and-mortar business. Eighty-eight percent said it’s important to trust businesses they patronize, and 67% said brick-and-mortar, or “local,” businesses are more trustworthy than online-only sellers
  • Consumers are more connected to local businesses but also expect more from them. Fifty-five percent said they feel more “emotionally collected” to nearby brick-and-mortar stores. As for expectations, 41% said they expect the most of local businesses; only 20% said the same of e-commerce sellers.
  • Fifty-eight percent of consumers said the pandemic made them more loyal to local businesses. It’s worth wondering whether this legitimately contradicts the consensus that the pandemic e-commerce surge made consumers even more focused on convenience and less on loyalty.

The numbers indicate a robust online presence is table stakes for even “local” businesses, as the local customer journey is thoroughly integrated into online search and selling. The study also suggests local businesses should capitalize on the greater trust and emotional connection they command with customers in an era when a product from Amazon is two clicks away.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]