Poll: Local Searchers Tend to Visit Stores within Five Miles of Location
May 23, 2014 | Contributed by: Wesley Young
An often cited statistic is that 80% of consumer spending is made within 20 miles from home. But a recent poll by Google – in partnership with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased – reveals that local businesses may want to focus on customers even nearer. Approximately 70% of consumers who searched for local business information on a computer, tablet or smartphone said they visited a store within five miles of their location.
The poll also reinforced today’s immediate gratification culture in showing how “near and fast” factors influence in-store purchases. 30% of consumers said they would buy in-store instead of online if they knew they were close to a store that sold the product and 35% would do so knowing they could get the product quickly.
The poll illustrated a rather straightforward point – that the proximity of a store has a tremendous impact on whether or not a consumer visits it, and thus, getting store location information to consumers nearby, whether it be through search results, business listings, or geo-targeted ads, is critical to driving in-store visits to local businesses.
Another interesting result from the Google poll was that there are definite differences between smartphone and tablet use for local search.
For example, the on-the-go nature of the smartphone searcher tends to make a store visit more likely, with the poll showing that half of consumers who conducted local search via smartphones visited a store within a day. This is compelling when you consider that two-thirds of local purchases still take place in brick and mortar locations, and it demonstrates the opportunity in the use of mobile local search to drive in-store visits.
Meanwhile, just 34% of computer/tablet local searches lead to store visits and the majority (76%) of these searches take place from home. While tablets are often lumped in with smartphones in the definition of “mobile devices”, the poll shows that tablets are used primarily at home and not on-the-go. Tablets are more often used earlier in the path to purchase as 83% of consumers researched products on a tablet/computer compared to 53% of those that used their smartphone
Overall, the poll results suggest that a smartphone local search is more likely to lead to a store visit because the consumer has a stronger intent to do so, especially those that are on-the-go. In addition, the poll findings show that proximity is one of the deciding factors on whether or not a consumer follows a local search with a store visit.
If we consider stores within five miles of a consumer to be in the “sweet spot,” what drives a consumer to visit one store over another within that range? While ratings and reviews are often cited as key differentiators, advertisers need to think more broadly about their comprehensive online presence (branding, social media, websites, etc.), which can help set businesses apart while simultaneously boosting search rankings. Just don’t forget to include location information in all of your content!