The Future of Retail Marketing is Local Data

We all know that the landscape of retail marketing has changed significantly within the past decade. Today, many, many retailers feel as though they are in a battle with the digital world, especially e-commerce. While no one can deny that e-commerce is in hyper-growth mode, local retail is still as relevant as ever. However, retailers need to make sure that they have built an omni-channel strategy that ensures the consumers’ experience is consistent across all channels of communication.


eMarketer predicts the retail industry will spend $13.5 billion in digital advertising by 2017 to increase local marketing efforts and improve the “discoverability” of brick-and-mortar store locations. Utilizing the digital realm to point customers to physical business locations is the new normal for retail marketing. In fact, it is the foundation of what we call the “last mile of marketing”.


The Importance of Mobile Retail Marketing to Local Marketing


All marketers talk about the importance of the mobile market, but not nearly enough of them are actually doing anything about it. According to eMarketer, a typical retail site gets 44.4% of its visits from mobile devices. Failing to recognize the importance of a source that accounts for almost half of the website’s traffic means a major missed opportunity. Mobile marketing also goes hand-in-hand with local marketing, making it a perfect choice for retail companies seeking scalable solutions.


We know from recent Google studies that 70% of purchases are made within 5 miles of a shopper’s home. And, half of mobile searchers visit a store they found within 24 hours! In fact, we know from Google that 50% of searches on a mobile device are completed to find a product or service close to home. We call these “near me” searches. “Near me” are critical to retail marketing because they are searches that have local intent to the consumer. “Near me” searches have increased 34 fold since 2011, and have DOUBLED since last year alone with 80% of these searches being generated from mobile devices. There are no other compelling statistics that directly show the need to localize your mobile marketing efforts than these numbers.


But do “near me” searches have better results than national marketing? Absolutely. Our own customers have seen higher ROI from local marketing, including a 315% higher click through rates on local digital marketing over national digital marketing. Optimizing your local marketing to “near me” searches is quickly becoming a mainstay for today’s retailers.


Delving Into Personalized Marketing – Local Data is the Key


A typical customer sees countless marketing messages every day. There are plenty of companies that are happy to shout out generic messages without truly understanding what customers are looking for. Customer-driven marketing campaigns often incorporate personalization into advertising efforts. Personalization uses key data points to give individual customers what they actually need, not what companies arbitrarily decide to sell. However, there is no greater “personalization” that can be done than to incorporate the physical location of the consumer.


The National Retail Foundation (CRF) recently studied the top concerns for national retail CMOs.  We know that CMOs are becoming more data-driven and want to create personalized, targeted campaigns in order to increase conversion and hence ROI. So what was their #1 concern for local marketing? WEATHER. That may surprise you but think about it for a minute. Isn’t local weather one of the most important pieces to a local consumer journey? For better or for worse, retailers can use weather to their advantage to encourage the modern local customer journey.


Our own retail customers are combating the unpredictability of weather by planning automated campaigns that react to the weather itself, such as display ads that promote parkas only when the snowfall reaches 2 inches, and only in the geographic areas that are affected at that moment in time. Using local weather data is just one example of the push to “data-driven” local marketing that retailers can leverage even months before predicted weather is realized.


When taking this local “data-driven” approach to local marketing, the next step is to scale your marketing across all your local points of purchase. This is the stopgap that a company like Balihoo can help. Take our quick, risk-free Self-Guided Tour to get started.