Can you believe it? Almost ALL consumers now rely on the online world for researching local products or services.
A new report out by BIA/Kelsey and Constat confirms what we’ve know has been building for some time. Local businesses can no longer ignore the online space if they hope to be sustainable.
That usage level is a phenomenal statistic when you consider its real world implications. Many of the people I see down at my local shops now do exactly what I’ve been doing for years – Searching online to find their nearest hairdresser or hardware store.
And the online sophistication of local users might also surprise you. Whilst there’s no doubt that Google is the starting point of most local searches, consumers are turning to 7.9 sources when do local research. And the savviness doesn’t end there. According to WebProNews’ summary:
- 58 percent of respondents report using an online coupon when shopping for products or services in their local area in the past year.
- 19 percent of respondents made an appointment online in the past six months for a service besides a restaurant reservation (e.g., business appointment, health-care appointment, auto service or personal service).
Whilst I am not 100% certain of how extensive the research base was, If you’re a local business and you’ve been holding off on your online marketing – now is the time to act.
When you consider how quickly people are turning their backs on the print phone directories and other traditional advertising – you’d be crazy to put off your online plans any longer.