There’s so much buzz surrounding social media it’s hard to tell what’s right and wrong – and there’s definitely a lot of both across the board. For retailers however, social media isn’t the best way for new customers to find out about them. So what is? Search Engines like Google and Bing, believe it or not. Local searches are by and large the single most effective and most heavily used way consumers locate and connect with local businesses. Check out the reasons why below – and at the end we’ll review a few things you can do to get the most out of search engines.

80% of Consumers Use Search to Find Local Businesses – 55% Take Action Within an Hour of Searching

What are they searching for? Business hours, contact information, product availability and directions. That means when consumers are looking to find local businesses, they’re not perusing Twitter or Facebook – they’re going straight to search engines like Google. Why? Convenience. In fact, that’s what drives mobile search (more on that in a bit) even when a computer is available: 81% of the time, consumers will search on a mobile device because it’s easier.

73% of the time, searches lead to a consumer taking action – make sure you’ve got click to call!

Whether it’s an in store visit or phone call, local searches lead to a consumer taking some sort of action 73% the time. If consumers can’t find you, there’s no way for them to take action! This is even more prominent with mobile searches, which result in a store visit within a day 50% of the time (compared to 34% for computer and tablet).

One big thing that local search listings can do is provide consumers with “click to call” options. This means they can click a store’s listing and Bing or Google will show them the store’s number. They press the number and can call the store immediately. This is important especially considering 18% of local mobile searches result in a purchase within a day, compared to only 7% for non-local searches. Click to call is also a great feature to have on your own website, and makes it easier for consumers to connects with you.

Good News: It’s easy to be found!

Both Google and Bing have some great free tools to make sure your business is available in local search results – Google My Business (link) and Bing Places (link). Both take a couple minutes to complete and will have you up and running in a snap.

A few final tips:

  • Make sure your business’s website is designed for mobile use. More searches are being conducted on smartphones than computers. This’ll make it easier for consumers to contact your site and get relevant info.
  • If you can, list some of your current product offerings in your business listing. In a recent survey, 74% of consumers said product inventory would be helpful – that’s important because one in every four shoppers will avoid a store if inventory isn’t listed. 



If you’re interested in further reading, here are some great studies and links to read more about how much local search can do for your business.