March 7, 2012 Leave a Comment
SoLoMo — which stands for “Social, Local, Mobile” — is gaining visibility as a buzzword to convey the intersection of social media, mobile and location-based services. In a way, it’s simply a new manifestation of our concept of connected commerce, in which brands present a cohesive shopping experience across customer touchpoints.
But new SoLoMo data puts the emphasis on the “local” part of the equation. According to a study from Localeze and 15miles conducted by measurement firm comScore, 61% of smartphone owners have used their phones to search for local businesses, and 72% of those searchers went on to make a purchase online or offline. Tablet users, representing a smaller audience, are nonetheless more active local searchers and buyers, with 86% of tablet owners purchasing from local businesses following a search.
The study also found that 15% of consumers in 2011 used social networking sites to search for local businesses — up 66% from 2010. And when using search engines to locate local businesses, the study found that consumers most trusted the “local” results set — the list of entities matching their search term and their location, represented on a map.
This new data validates our earlier recommendation that merchants not only optimize the store locator features on their eCommerce and mobile sites, but also take the time to customize and monitor their “place” pages on other sites, such as Google, Facebook and Yelp.
And with the data showing such a strong connection between local searching and local buying, merchants with physical retail outlets — and brand manufacturers whose products are featured there — should consider going farther. After all, while many merchants already have strategies in place for social networking and mobile devices, the “local” aspect of SoLoMo lags behind. Consider:
Analyzing geographic distribution of social followers. Facebook’s Insights tool provides aggregate geographic data on followers, while third-party tools such as HootSuite can generate similar data for Twitter. Post local updates accordingly promoting in-store events and news.
Delivering location-specific deals. Now is the time to segment your audience of email subscribers and mobile promotion recipients by geographic region, if you haven’t already. Deliver relevant offers that highlight in-store events and merchandise attuned to the local climate and local culture. Brand manufacturers can get in on the act, delivering notices of in-store promotions and giveaways, as Clinique does in this message promoting a free gift with purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue, which has a location within 50 miles of the recipient.
Building store-specific mobile functionality. Consider giving consumers tools specific to their location — and giving store employees insights into shoppers. Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has debuted an iPhone app that lets shoppers “check in” to selected stores in California and Texas, and displays which store associates are present to assist them. Shoppers can also scan in-store QR codes and flag products of interest — notifying store associates.
How are you combining social, local and mobile for your business?