A PRIMER ON LOCAL COMMERCE

A PRIMER ON LOCAL COMMERCE

OVERVIEW

Local merchants are the life blood of our economy. Their main concern has always been on finding and attracting local customers. Marketing and customer acquisition has gone through a metamorphosis for these local merchants and retailers over the past decade. Online, Social and Mobile developments have fundamentally changed the way consumers discover and interact with local merchants/retailers. Those merchants that adapt and adopt new technologies and services to reach and transact with these consumers will grow. Those that don’t, will have a difficult time competing.

Marketing focus for the merchant has gone from advertising through traditional media (radio, print, etc) to marketing for customers that are already looking for what you sell (search marketing, online store, ppc, etc.), to interacting and marketing to clients through social networks, to figuring out how exactly to reach consumers on their mobile. Local Merchants that sell goods have been migrating selling online over the past 14 years or so. Whether it has been through ebay, Amazon or their own online e-Commerce store, the business and technology of selling goods online has been quite developed since the late 90s or so. Local merchants who sell goods have many options to use to find and sell to customers that are online and mobile. Local merchants who sell services, however, have had a much harder time connecting to the online and mobile consumer. Until recently.

 

MARKETING LOCAL SERVICES
So what about merchants who sell services? How exactly are they supposed to leverage online and mobile consumer shopping habits to impact their sales? Are they simply supposed to advertise to online and mobile shoppers for their local services or are there more direct consumer acquisitions tools available? How can local merchants that sell services sell and transact with the online or mobile customer. How indeed. A slew of services over the past few year and at present are solving this issue. Please see our industry directory for an idea of such technologies and services.

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOMER TRANSACTION
The last few years has seen an influx in online and mobile technologies and services to help consumers discover and buy local services. Marketing techniques for local merchants (big and small) have gone from an evolution of Advertising for awareness on traditional media TO Advertising for exposure online TO Advertising to capture intent online (PPC, SMM, SEO, CPC) TO Advertising to capture leads (whitepapers, recommendations, content marketing, etc) TO Advertising to capture Social referrals (Social marketing, review sites, etc) TO now evolving to a point where intent and even a lead is just not good enough anymore. Local merchants want to advertise for transactional purposes, they want a commerce scenario or as close to a commerce scenario as possible at the point of initial customer interaction online or on mobile.

THAT is very much what Local Commerce is all about. And Local Commerce Canada is very much about discussing the business around these online and mobile technologies that help local merchants, especially those selling services,  find, discover and sell more of their OFFLINE stuff to ONLINE or MOBILE customers.

 

SUMMARY
Online shopping and mobile shopping continue to grow at an impressive pace. As consumers continue to move away from traditional media to online or mobile destinations, merchants, especially those that sell services, will have no choice to adopt and leverage a full set and breed of online and mobile tools and marketing approaches that help drive consumer traffic, intent and purchase (commerce) to their local place of business.

Local, Location Based, Geo, call it what you will. The fact is that because 95% of all retail transactions are still done offline, and the fact that 97% of consumer search for local businesses is done online, and that 50% of all mobile search is for local intent, then local merchants have no choice but to start adopting location based marketing techniques to reach and transact with consumers and grow their business.

It is also no surprise that business and investment opportunities within this sector, in both the United States and Canada are tremendous continuing to grow.

If you’d like to participate and support the Local Commerce sector in Canada, be it with content, research, insight, sponsorship, partnership or other, then please reach out. The industry in Canada is dynamic, growing and moving quickly. It is also a lot larger than most people realize.

We look forward to highlighting some of the top companies in this sector throughout Canada.

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To read more about Local Commerce, please go ahead and download our free guide titled A PRIMER TO LOCAL COMMERCE