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.
It’s the single most important tool that store owners can leverage to gain local exposure. But it’s not enough to just have a listing, you must optimize it so you can reach as many local shoppers as possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss the first step in optimizing your business listing.
What is NAP Consistency?
To get started, Google My Business will request basic store information including your store name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP).
This will act as the starting point for your store’s local seo.
It is extremely important that the NAP you provide Google My Business is exactly the same as the information listed on your website. Otherwise, your ranking in search results will be negatively impacted.
In fact, your store’s NAP should be consistent across the entire web – including other local directory listings and your social media.
This is known as NAP consistency: it can be defined as having your store’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently listed the same across the entire web.
NAP is critical for any retail store that wants to rank high in organic search and be found locally. This is because NAP is what causes your retail store to appear in local or geo-targeted searches. In other words, when a user searches for product or store information, Google uses NAP information to decide which stores to display in the search results.
NAP Helps Google Determine Legitimacy
It’s important to note that Google prioritizes businesses and sites that it believes to be legitimate. And to determine the legitimacy of a business, Google will reference how a business’s NAP appears across the web (including websites, local directory listings, social media profiles etc). If this information is not consistent, Google won’t know to display your store information to local shoppers.
NAP Consistency Checklist for Retailers
1. Decide how to format your name, address, and phone number.
Tip: Keep your business name, address, and phone number consistent. For example, if you use Allison and Bret’s Pet Store, 123 Main street, and 555-555-5555 on your website, don’t use AB’s Pet Store, 123 Main St., or (555)-555-5555 on Google My Business.
2. Post your NAP on your website. You’ll want to ensure that it is visible on specific parts of your website including: a prominent location on your homepage, your contact page, and the header/footer on the rest of your webpages. You may also want to include an embedded Google Map of your business address on your contact page (this acts as a strong local SEO signal).
3. Post your NAP on your Google My Business listing. Remember, it has to be exactly the same as the information listed on your website.
4. Improve local SEO by listing your business on local directories. Again, NAP on each listing should be consistent with your Google My Business profile and your website. The following are some online directories that will help your store appear in local search results:
Bing Place for Business
5. Add your NAP to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.).
6. Once your NAP is listed across the web, make sure to periodically check that it is accurate and consistent.
Looking to increase foot traffic and store sales? Easily implement Google Local Inventory ads with our new Google integration. Learn more here.
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) significantly increase retail store sales by turning nearby shoppers who are searching online into in-store customers.
River Island, Best Buy, and Williams-Sonoma Inc. are examples of retailers who have successfully leveraged Google LIA together with their POS systems to grow foot traffic and sales. Now, smaller retailers have the chance to do the same with a minimal budget.
Keep reading to find out how you too, can take advantage of this opportunity to increase your retail sales.
Local and Mobile Searches Lead to In-Store Purchases
There are two factors that make Google LIAs so effective:
For retailers, this means that there is a lot to be gained by being easily found online. The challenge then becomes figuring out how to give target shoppers the answers they are looking for at the exact moment that they are searching.
This is where Google Local Inventory Ads come in.
Google LIAs helps store owners succeed in these micro-moments – by capturing shopper intent and most importantly, the sale.
What are Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)?
Local Inventory Ads showcase product and store information to nearby shoppers who are searching on Google. They are different from traditional Google ads as they are designed to drive shoppers to your physical store. While users also have the option of purchasing online (if you have an e-commerce store), LIAs are meant to attract nearby users and only show when a shopper is within a certain range of your store.
When shoppers click on an ad, they are taken to the local storefront page which can be either a Google-powered product listing or your own e-commerce site. Here, they can view other in-stock merchandise as well as important store information such as business hours, directions, current promotions, and more.
Below is an example.
When I search for “laundry detergent near me”, Local Inventory Ads appear next to the search results. Both Canadian Tire and the Home Depot are currently running LIA campaigns for laundry detergent (pointed out in red below).
I know that at Canadian Tire and the Home Depot, the items are definitely in stock because of the “in store” label.
How do Local Inventory Ads Work?
Let’s take a look at the example below.
Canadian Tire is looking to increase foot traffic to their physical stores. So they’ve purchased Local Inventory Ads hoping to target local shoppers like me. They’ve set up a Google Shopping campaign that showcases ads to shoppers within a 45 km radius.
As you can see above, I’ve made a search on my mobile phone for a ceramic stove top-cleaner. Like most people (87% of shoppers), I frequently turn to a search engine as a resource for product information.
By looking at the search results, I can see that Canadian Tire has what I need in stock and the closest store is only 2 km away.
I decide to head to the store because I am certain that they have the product that I need. A store associate is able to tell me more about the product in-store and even recommends I try out a surface scraper. After my conversation with a store employee, I’m happy to purchase both products.
LIAs let local shoppers know that you have the items they are looking for – at the exact moment that they are searching for it. The ads even create a sense of urgency and encourage shoppers to act by letting them know when certain items are low in stock.
2) Advanced Geo-targeting Capabilities: Target local shoppers who are actually nearby the store and are looking to purchase. Advanced geo-targeting capabilities allow retailers to reach target shoppers within a certain km radius.
3) Measure Campaign Results: See how your ads are impacting your bottom line. Monitor the effect LIAs are having on foot traffic and in-store sales – and adjust your campaign bids accordingly.
4) Gain a Competitive Edge as an Independent Retailer: In the past, Google LIAs were only available to national retailers. But now, independent retailers have the ability to run high-performing ads on Google with a minimal budget. For as little as $150-$300 per month, store owners have the ability to drive local foot traffic and increase store sales.
5) Automatic Ad Optimization: To minimize marketing costs, LIAs automatically turn off when products sell out. Not only does this benefit your bottom line, it also results in a better shopping experience for your customers.
To learn more about how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and in-store sales, click here.
For those of you who don’t know, Google My Business is a powerful tool that allows retail businesses to connect with local shoppers.
And posts on Google My Business is a promotion tool that helps optimize a store’s business listing and increase foot traffic.
Put simply, it is an easy and free way to promote your business locally.
I’ll explain more below.
What are Google My Business Posts?
Google My Business posts is a feature that allows you to share content about your store on Google Search and Maps. It is similar to any other social media platform like Twitter or Facebook.
As a store owner, you are able to share news, promotions, events, and new products with shoppers. It posts directly to your Google My Business listing – so existing and potential customers can see your content directly in search results.
What are the Benefits of Google My Business Posts?
Posts on Google give retailers the ability to communicate with shoppers so they are better informed when making purchasing decisions. Which means that local businesses are able to:
Engage shoppers with attractive content (photos, videos, GIFS etc.)
Promote any new sales, products, or events
Improve shopper experience with relevant and timely information
Communicate directly with local shoppers
How Does it Work?
For each post, business owners can include text, call-to-action buttons, and/or photos or videos to promote their store. There are four different GMB post types including:
What’s New: Share general information about your retail business. For example, you can give shoppers an inside look at your Halloween displays and merchandise.
Events: Promote any upcoming events that you are holding. Each event requires a start time, end time, and a title. It is also good practice to include a photo/video,an event description, and a call to action button leading to a landing page for your event.
Products: Store owners also have the option of promoting any products or new merchandise. For example, a pet store could promote their new range of dog food. Keep in mind that product posts require a title and photo/video.
Offers: According to Google, 50% of shoppers are looking for promotions and discounts when searching for a business online. So provide shoppers with information on the latest sales and promotional offers. Offers will appear at the top of your business listing on both Google Search and Maps.
These posts require a title, and start/end dates. It’s also good practice to include photos/videos, descriptions, coupon codes, and terms and conditions of the offer. The call-to-action button “View” will automatically appear on all Offer posts.
Some Important Things to Note
GMB posts disappear after 7 days unless you set another shorter time frame. This is why it is important to post consistent and relevant content.
It is a good idea to include GMB in your marketing strategy. Place the same importance on GMB posts as you would on other social platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Google provides insights on your posts – including how many views each post got. It also tells you how many users clicked on a link in a post
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn how to attract local shoppers on Google?
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.
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.