There’s an old saying that goes, people care locally, and globally. People are generally interested in small local things, and large global things. A prime example of that would be how somebody breaking in to steal a TV three houses is arguably a bigger deal to you than a new Prime Minster of Belgium being sworn in. (No disrespect to any Prime Ministers – Belgian or otherwise.)
In fact, people generally prefer the concept of local in all aspects of life when it’s an option for them. Locally made, locally grown – and locally bought. We’ve done a lot of research over the years on local shopping trends and patterns. What we found was that most medium-sized purchases take place within a 20 mile radius. There are variations, obviously – unusual purchases, special deals and demographics. In big cities the area is smaller, and in more rural areas, people tend to travel further to get what they need. But the average radius for a $1000-$3000 purchase across America is around 20 miles. Go beyond that, and it starts to become somewhat of an inconvenience.
If you interpret what I just said the wrong way, you might think you’re okay if you just go about your business like you always have. You’re local, you probably have a bunch of regulars, you do some marketing that kind of works, and you’re in a prime location. So why change that? Well, I’ll tell you!
The easier it is to buy your product, the more successful you become.
Most business transactions occur on the good old path of least resistance. The easier it is to buy your product, the more successful you become. And you’re not local until you’re in somebody’s home. And I don’t mean your direct mail flyer on someone’s coffee table.
Amazon is still seeing explosive growth month after month, and Warren Buffet recently unloaded close to $1 Billion worth of Walmart because Amazon does local better than anybody else. Amazon has figured out a way to be more local to consumers than people’s own local Walmart right down the block. Because Amazon is in every person’s living room, and in every person’s device – computer, phone, tablet and even television.
Which brings me to today’s hot top tip on how you can apply this to your own business. Run local ads. Nothing more, nothing less. Only run local ads. If you’re doing digital, if you can’t narrow it down to a 20 mile radius in the channel of your choosing, use something else. If you can’t do a direct mail run on specific zip codes – skip it. Not sure where to start? Instead of trying to understand all million variables involved in building the optimal online campaign, look into what all the big stores with the right digital strategy already figured out – Google’s Local Inventory Ads.
Local Inventory Ads are built specifically for retailers wanting to display their inventory to local shoppers in the market, but don’t have the time, capacity or ability to invest a fortune in e-commerce. Or they do, but don’t mind driving more store traffic as well. Local Inventory Ads are targeted towards driving people into your physical store instead of making an online sale. And they work exactly like the name would suggest – a specific search phrase matching what you have in stock, “Cherry Kitchen cabinets” triggers your ad saying, “Hey, I have 9 of those in stock. Come on over!”.
Here’s how Google describes it;
“Local inventory ads showcase your products and store information to nearby shoppers searching with Google. When shoppers click your ad, they arrive on a Google-hosted page for your store, called the local storefront. Shoppers use the local storefront to view in-store inventory, get store hours, find directions, and more.”
So what’s the downside?
There’s one negative aspect – the transaction itself doesn’t take place online. When you buy and sell online, there’s a transparent flow that you can track; they click on your ad, they end up on your website and they either buy your product or they don’t. That makes it much easier to determine your customer acquisition cost. But in this case, you’re simply driving foot traffic to your store by displaying inventory. So how do you determine your return on investment when you don’t know how may of those clicks turn into sales in your physical store?
Enter Lead Tool. Combining Local Inventory Ads with your Lead Tool account means you know exactly who is buying what, why and from where. You can track all sources, not just Local Inventory Ads, and determine what each and every one of them do for your bottom line. Individually. Not clicks, impressions, flyers distributed or extra ads on the Radio. We measure sales from all your efforts. Because that’s the only thing that matters.