BIA/Kelsey, a US advisory service, recently commissioned research into the usage of the Internet for local shopping – and the results were interesting.

Here are some of their findings, and our thoughts:

  • 90 percent of users use search engines … and the other 10% are liars? Seriously, though, this is no surprise. We know that almost all web usage will start with a search. It’s just one more compelling reason why your site needs optimization to compete.
  • 48 percent use Internet Yellow Pages – indicating that while the Internet is becoming more and more of a handy tool, many users still prefer to find information online, and then call or make a visit. Or do they? It’s also possible that many businesses do not have that crucial online presence that would allow for the convenience of dropping you an email. That would also allow you to respond at a time that’s convenient to you, unlike a phone call. Take a look at your website. Does it allow for online interaction? Would your customers need to resort to the Yellow Pages?
  • 42 percent use comparison shopping sites – so it’s worth ensuring that you are included in these increasingly-used online directories. Not sure how? Give us a ring; we can help.
  • 58 percent of respondents report using an online coupon when shopping for products or services in their local area in the past year – Now there’s something to think about. Typically, online shoppers are looking for a bargain – and your overheads are less than when advertising in print or broadcast media, so why not share some of those savings with your customers?
  • 19 percent of respondents report making an appointment online in the past six months (e.g., business appointment, health-care appointment, auto service or personal service such as a beauty shop) – again, worth thinking about. If you don’t have this functionality on your website, the chances are your customers would welcome it – and it’s also something we can build for you, so drop us an email!