As an independent retailer you want to be found by new customers, investing in new advertising channels, such as social media or smartphone technology, may help in attaining this goal. But wouldn’t it be nice for customers to find you through an easy-to-use Internet store locator, rather than you doing all the work to entice them to your storefront? For brick and mortars without a B2C site, participating in an Internet store locator listing can provide shopping traffic that would have otherwise been missed.
There are two types of locator listings, some are larger communities or directories that you may have to pay a fee for, while others are hosted by suppliers you may be working with, as an added benefit for working with the company and supplying their product. With a simple search, customers are directed to a participating independent retailer near them that may be carrying the product or an entire merchandise category they are interested in. And while a customer may be looking for only a single item to purchase, a trip to the store will most likely lead to a few extra purchases in the shopping cart. All in all, everyone benefits.
Digital Presence Through Online Store Locators
What about those of you not benefiting from a supplier’s store locator? It was an executive decision within the past year to position eBay in the “local” space, meaning they’ll act as a store locator for you. According to Auction Bytes, an Independent Trade Publication for Online Merchants, “eBay has integrated real-time inventory data from major retailers on eBay.com so that shoppers can search for products from their local brick and mortar retailers directly on eBay.com.”
Consumers are turning to the Internet to research and buy products, and you want to be the first there to greet them. By becoming a part of an Internet store locator directory, you give your consumers no choice but to say YES to their local brick and mortar retailers. Then, you, the local brick and mortar retailer, can refocus energy once spent on expansive outside marketing plans to prep for in-store promotions. Jack Abraham, director of Local at eBay, Inc., emphasizes that retailers will recognize that local shopping features on eBay, “really help drive more people into their stores to buy products. For retailers to remain relevant, they need to be present in the online spaces where consumers are making purchasing decisions.” An Internet store locator is simply an online space that requires little marketing effort, but produces fruitful results.