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Local Listings Even Bigger Headache in Europe Says uberall Co-Founder

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Presence management, local listing optimization, business data management. Whatever you call it, the act of ensuring name, address and phone are accurate and consistent across all of the relevant channels is a challenge faced around the world by businesses big and small.

While it’s challenging for independent businesses, it’s an even greater challenge for multi-location enterprises. If a U.S. company has 200 locations, and we only consider the primary channels for listings (Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, Google My Business, Bing), that’s 1000 listings that must be reviewed and verified. This is precisely why there is an entire industry built on managing local listings.

According to uberall Co-Founder and Managing Director Florian Huebner, the U.S. market is actually much more organized than in Europe. Language variations across Europe adds another layer of complexity, and the sheer volume of “primary” listing outlets is far greater in Europe than the U.S.

Florian shared his insight into the European market below:

Needless to say, at the enterprise level, having multi-location businesses listed properly is vital wherever you are. However, there are differences in the ways in which European and American listings are structured, and also, ways in which consumers interact with those listings. In addition, there are cultural differences in both the way customers behave when searching for products and services, and also the extent to which businesses are aware of the need for listings.

When it comes to listings, the U.S. is a pond with a few big fish in it, whereas the European pond has many more, smaller fish. What I mean is that in the US, there are several big players operating throughout the entire country, which makes the job of listings relatively straightforward.

In Europe, however, there is more linguistic diversity, and also far greater difference in the scope and quality of listings. For example, in Germany, the numerous listings networks tend to be comprehensive and detailed – however, due to the federal nature of the country, there are local, state-based networks to take into account – regional yellow pages, for example.

In comparison, Slovenia, for example, which might have many more, smaller networks, but doesn’t have the regional fragmentation that Germany does. As such, looking at listings from the European perspective, it is a real challenge to structure data across these networks, but this is precisely what we (uberall) are working to solve.

As I mentioned the consumer differences between US and Europe are very complex, but the important point here, is to notice just how unique each market is, particularly the smaller European ones. Consumers behave differently across Europe.

For example, Eurostat shows that almost three-quarters of the UK market used the internet to buy something in 2016, whereas in Austria, there is comparable internet use, but only half of the population used the internet to buy a product. That already shows cultural and structural differences worth exploring – is the British environment more e-commerce friendly? Do Austrians tend to like shopping more in real-life, using the net only to research products? What are the listings quality in each market?

While such differences exist in the U.S. too, the fact of broad linguistic homogeneity, and having only a few big listings networks means the differences aren’t necessarily so complex.

Given the number of technologies and tools available to multi-location businesses in the U.S., and the comparatively low number of “critical” listing sites, the problem of incorrect and/or duplicate location listings should be approaching some kind of downturn by now. Meanwhile in Europe, it appears the challenge remains broad and complex.

Whatever the case, managing business data in the digital age will be an ongoing challenge as businesses open new locations, move or close.

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