Despite the vaccine rollout and improving economic sentiment, a majority of consumers remain concerned about engaging with local businesses in many places across the US. Yelp is now allowing businesses to provide more information about health and safety practices to customers in hopes of fueling a quicker recovery.
Covid-19 has upended the way consumers buy products. But the pandemic is hardly the only factor accelerating the shift from in-person to online purchasing. This trend has, in fact, intensified over the last decade. With more than 9,000 store closures last year in a strong economy, physical retailers for some time have been trying to figure out how they can thrive (and in some cases survive) in an increasingly digital marketplace.
It’s therefore imperative that retailers (of all sizes) embrace a hybrid business model, where online and offline assets are more integrated. Covid-19 has only made this more apparent.
The pieces are in place for Messenger to become a major new marketing platform. Indeed, the various (mostly mobile) use cases range from customer service to e-commerce. So far, none of my experiences has been great. But there’s huge potential over time.
The mostly unreported story of Black Friday weekend is that much of the ecommerce growth came from “bricks-and-clicks” retailers, not pure-play e-tailers. The reason: Physical stores offer a critical customer experience and serve as a “brand anchor,” both of which support ecommerce for traditional retailers. Stores drive online sales because they instill a sense of confidence and trust in the consumer.
The question of whether or when SMBs are going to self-provision online marketing has been a topic of intense debate for at least a decade. Signs now point to the emergence of solutions simple enough to make self-service viable within three to five years. Ultimately, rather than a do-it-yourself vs. do-it-for-me dichotomy, we’re likely to see an increasingly stratified local market that looks a lot like a three-cabin airplane seating chart.
Data is a core principle of digital marketing today, yet when it comes to local, big data has not penetrated very deeply where the sales process is concerned. All of that is about to change with the appearance of multiple companies trying to put data at the center of the way digital marketing is presented and sold to local businesses.
Many “geoscenti” have uncritically accepted certain foundational local statistics because they’re so widely cited and repeated. As a result they’ve acquired the status of “common knowledge.” But are these numbers ultimately traceable to a real, credible source? It’s not really clear…
Just nine months ago, the overwhelming majority of small business (SMB) owners didn’t consider mobile an important marketing channel. But as SMBs and their customers have adopted smartphones in increasing numbers, merchant interest in mobile marketing has grown — very rapidly.