Google recently weighed in on trends happening during the pandemic. We used Google’s research to create a checklist your multi-location brand can follow to be in the best position during and after the pandemic.
“For a while now, the gap between online and offline has been shrinking — and the lockdown certainly accelerated this trend,” claimed Google, in an analysis of brands’ COVID responses. Google also noted that, while the customer journey had already been trending toward beginning online, the worldwide pandemic has accelerated that shift, because shoppers have been more reluctant to leave home – and more likely to research online before doing so.
While the pandemic has led to many more online searches – a Google report shows that shoppers have been using search significantly more in 2020, across all categories – local searches have been especially on the rise.
“Prior to the pandemic, the in-store shopping experience often began long before shoppers arrived at a store. This is even more true today, as availability and local convenience has become a priority.” – Google
In general, the pandemic has negatively affected in-store purchases, but the effect varies across industries. For example, Google data showed that throughout the pandemic beauty products have continued to be purchased more frequently in-store than online. (For a close-up look at how a beauty brand can leverage its online presence to make offline sales, check out this case study)
The pandemic is also changing the nature of store visits. Since Google has recently begun more prominently displaying attributes like contactless shopping and curbside pickup on business profiles, it’s important to keep those offerings updated on your profiles so potential customers know what to expect.
Google summarized its advice as “brands should focus on ways to optimize their digital assets, measure their online-to-offline effectiveness, and provide correct information.” We’ve used that as the launching point for this pandemic recovery preparation checklist:
Optimise your digital presence by making sure all of your locations are listed on all major search, social, and mapping networks. It’s a big task for brands with many locations, but a listings management service can help simplify it.
Measure your online-to-offline effectiveness by constantly checking your insights and monitoring your reviews to gauge your customers’ experiences.
Provide correct information about your brand and stores – such as website links, open hours, addresses – to ensure that your customers know what you’re offering and when, where, and how to find you.
To see how PinMeTo can help your brand during and after the pandemic, get in touch for a free report!