What is Local Commerce

wheel4Marketing for local merchants and retailers is evolving rapidly. They cannot be expected to know of every new technology or service available to help them to generate leads or sales. As such, the past few years has given birth to an array of technology and marketing services companies that focus solely on matching the right consumer with the right local merchant. These companies essentially generate leads or actual sales for the local merchant in exchange for a marketing fee (commission).

The local merchant can focus on operating their business while these tech and service companies act as their online/mobile sales & marketing department. These options have never been available to local merchants before at this scale, especially for those that sell services.

The business and technology of selling goods online, even for local merchants, has been quite developed since the late 90s. Local merchants who sell goods have many options to help 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 now.

What and how exactly are merchants who sell services, for instance, supposed to do to attract and sell to the online and mobile consumer? Are they simply supposed to advertise to online and mobile shoppers for their local services and hope customers come in or are there more effective online or mobile consumer acquisition tools available?

The last few years has seen an influx in online and mobile technologies to help merchants generate quality leads and actual sales from consumers that are online or on their mobile device. How consumers use online and mobile technologies to help find, interact with and eventually buy from local merchants is exactly what Local Commerce is all about.

Some examples include:

Home Advisors: they generate leads for home contractors and recommend the best contractors to consumers for their home renovation.

Kanetix: they generate leads for insurance and mortgage merchants while helping consumers get the fastest and best quotes.

Deal Commerce (Groupon, Teambuy, Wagjag). these companies don’t just generate leads, they actually generate sales for local merchants.

Restaurants: Online reservations from Opentable generate leads, but online ordering from Just Eat or Taste Away generate actual sales for restaurants.

Online reviews: Reviews have been around for a while, but Yelp, Yellow Pages and the like have proven to generate prospects and if used on their mobile version have converted consumers to buyers within 1 hour of the initial search.

Other: Uber generates guaranteed sales for local taxis and car services, Wayspa generates sales for local spas, and Zoocasa generates leads for Real Estate agents.

All the above services essentially act as the marketing and sales departments for Local Merchants & Retailers. They supply leads or sales to the local merchant and take their marketing fee for the service. More and more merchants are realizing the power of these services.

As consumers continue to move away from traditional media to online or mobile destinations, the market will emerge with new online and mobile tools that local merchants will find far more effective and affordable at attracting local customers.