Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.).
It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!
For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area.
Important Things to Note
You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm.
You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business.
You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind.
Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web).
Which can be broken down into the following points:
1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.
2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.
3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!
Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”.
For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here.
Reviews are an important part of local search. According to Google, 2 out of 3 shoppers say having positive reviews was an important factor when selecting a business or store to purchase from. This means that most people like to do research before ever setting foot into a store.
This means two things:
More good reviews = higher ranking in local search
Higher ranking in local search = more foot traffic = more sales
It is generally good practice to ask shoppers to leave a review after they have made a purchase from your store. Touch base after a few day or a week to make sure that they are enjoying/ have enjoyed using your products. Also remember to ask loyal and long-term shoppers who have not made a purchase in a while.
How you ask for reviews is equally as important as when you ask for them – which brings us to the next point.
2. Make it Easy
Shoppers won’t leave reviews if it takes them more than 5 seconds to find your page. The easier the review process is for your store, the more reviews you are likely to gather.
Here are a few ways you can make it simple for your shoppers to leave a review.
Make Review Cards
Create physical “drop us a review” cards with your store’s short URL. Place them near checkout and remind your employees to hand them out to shoppers or put them into their shopping bags after they make a purchase. You will want to go over best practices with your employees.
Employees should hand these out to shoppers who have had a pleasant experience at the store. For example, your staff should look out for the following situations:
if an employee had a positive interaction with a shopper in-store
if a shopper was experiencing a problem and are grateful for your store’s customer service.
It is obviously a good idea to avoid handing them out to unpleasant or rude shoppers.
You can also create a reward system within the store for your staff. Create incentives for your employees; reward the staff member who hands out the most review cards or generates the most reviews.
2) Send a follow-up text or email
Go mobile by sending shoppers a follow-up text or create an email campaign after a few days of their purchase (so that they have time to try your products). Here are a few tips for what to include in your follow-up text or email:
personalize the email or text : you can personalize the message by including the shopper’s name. Not only do personalized messages make shoppers feel important, they are proven to have a higher open rate as well.
keep it short : make sure your message is short, simple, and straight to the point.
Include the short review URL : shoppers are not likely to try find your Google My Business account. Once you claim your short name on Google My Business, you will have access to a short URL that will directs shoppers to leave a review (shown below).
To get access to your short URL for reviews, you must first claim your short name. To find out more information about Google My Business short names and the steps you must take to claim your short name, click here.
3. You will see the “Get more reviews” box on the right side of the page – as shown below. Copy your short URL for reviews to share in your email or text message.
4) Add a Review Link on your Store’s Website
Include a “review” link or button on relevant pages of your store’s website. This might be on your contact page, thank-you page, or even a section on your homepage.
5) Incentivize shoppers
Offering shoppers a reward or incentive for leaving a review is a great way to gather more Google My Business reviews. Effective incentives include a $15 gift card or store credit, loyalty points, store merchandise etc.
6) Include a Review Link in your Email signature
Adding a short and simple call to action in your email signature is another effective way to gather Google My Business reviews. For example, “Your opinion is important to us! Drop us a review at [GMB short URL].”
This strategy is especially important for retailers who regularly email their customers.
Responding to Reviews
Once you’ve set up a process for gathering reviews, your focus needs to shift to responding to them effectively.
Responding to reviews shows potential shoppers that you value good customer service. It also shows shoppers that their opinions will be heard and leaving a review is worth their time.
Google recently introduced a new feature for verified merchants on Google my Business (GMB). Business owners can now create a GMB short name (also called a custom name).
You may be wondering what the purpose of this new feature is.
Google My Business short names make it easier for shoppers to find you online!
I’ll explain more below.
What is a Google My Business Short Name?
It is basically a simple or shorter name that is used to represent your retail business or location. If your retail business has multiple locations, it is a good idea to use your business name with the location (city, neighbourhood, street etc.) of the store as your short name.
The majority of merchants and business categories now have access to the feature. So it is a good idea to claim your preferred short name before it is no longer available.
What are the Benefits of a Google My Business Short Name?
GMB short names make it simple for you to share your business listing with shoppers – so they can easily find you online.
Before Google released this feature, GMB profiles had extremely long URLS – making it difficult to share with shoppers or use as a landing page.
When you create a short name, shoppers can enter your short name URL “g.page/[yourcustomname]” and they will be directed straight to your business profile.
Once you claim your short name, you will also get access to a short URL for requesting reviews.
With a GMB short name, it is now easy to promote your business to gain more reviews, share directions, and get leads.
Before you take the steps to claim your short name, here are some things to keep in mind:
It’s important that your short name is associated with your store’s name.
Make sure that it is simple so that you can easily promote your business and shoppers can remember it.
If you have multiple locations, you must claim a short name for each GMB listing. Again, it’s a good idea to include your location (city, neighbourhood, street etc.) to make your name unique and easy to remember.
It is also a good idea to use your short name URL on marketing materials. This way, you can gain more reviews and local exposure.
How to Claim Your Short Name on Google My Business
4. Enter your short name – it can be up to 32 characters. If your name is unavailable, you will receive an error message. You can try a shortened form of your name or you can try adding your location. Otherwise, try another short word that describes your retail store.
5.Click “Apply”. Once you do so, your short name will show as pending. When it is ready and approved, it will show up on your business listing.
Did you find this article helpful?
Would you like to learn more about how to increase your retail store’s online presence?
Good news- we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.