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Google My Business Tips: Picking an Accurate Business Category

Google My Business Tips: Picking an Accurate Business Category

Once you’ve entered your business information in Google My Business (GMB), the next step is to pick an accurate business category. 

What is a Google My Business Category?

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. 
primary category example
  • 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). 

Best Practices for Choosing a Business Category 

Google provides specific guidelines on how to choose a business category. 

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

How to Choose/Edit/Add a Business Category

1. Sign in to Google My Business here

2. Click on the “Info” tab on the left. 

info bar on google my business

3. Click on the pencil icon beside your primary category. 

pencil icon

4. Once you click on the pencil icon, you can either change your primary category or add additional categories.

primary and additional categories

5. Click on “Apply” in the right corner of the pop up screen. If the changes that you have made are significant, Google may ask you to verify your business again.

apply category changes

To learn more about the factors that affect your local search ranking, click here

#googlemybusiness #businesscategories #localseo #localsearchranking #foottraffic #cloudpos #retailpos 

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What is Local SEO and how can it Benefit your Retail Store?

What is Local SEO and how can it Benefit your Retail Store?

Reaching a local audience is critical to the success of any brick-and-mortar retailer. This is why local search engine optimization (or local SEO) is so important. 

Local SEO helps store owners promote their retail business to local shoppers.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about what local SEO is and how it can benefit your retail business – from increasing your online visibility, driving foot traffic, and ultimately growing your revenue. 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO stands for local search engine optimization. It is the process of “optimizing” your online presence so that your store can appear as high as possible in search results. By focusing on local SEO, you can attract more business from relevant local searches.

Essentially, the purpose of a local SEO strategy is to ensure that users can find you – both online and offline. 

The Importance of Local Search

shop local flag

According to Google: 

  • 4 in 5 shoppers use a search engine to find local information.

  • 50% of shoppers who conducted a local search on their smartphone, visited a store within the same day.

  • And 34% of users who searched on a computer/tablet did the same. 

Having said that, the amount of users that are conducting local searches is also growing at a significant rate. 

Over the past several years, there has been over a 500% growth rate in “near me” mobile searches that contain the phrases “can I buy” or “to buy”. 

For shoppers, search is no longer about finding a specific business. It is about finding a specific product in a specific place and in a specific period of time. 

The challenge for store owners then becomes giving target shoppers the answers they are looking for at the exact moment that they are searching. And by doing so, capturing both their interest and the sale. 

This is where local SEO comes in. 

The Benefits of Local SEO 

local store

We know that the modern shopper prefers to conduct product research online before making purchases in store. So it makes sense that retail businesses with the greatest local online presence (or a strong local SEO strategy) will capture the majority of sales in a certain area. 

Listed below are the key benefits of a local SEO strategy. 

Local SEO Strategies

seo strategy

As a local store owner, you may feel that investing time into your Google search ranking is useless as it means competing with larger retailers like Amazon and Walmart. But this isn’t the case for local search.

Google recognizes the benefits of local business and it knows that shoppers do too. So in order to determine how your business ranks in local search and if it is geographically relevant, Google takes a certain set of factors into consideration. 

With that being said, there are key elements to ranking well in local search – which can be broken down into the following three components: 

  1. Optimizing your Google My Business listing: Google My Business is a free online listing service offered by Google. It is a powerful yet easy tool that retailers can leverage to drive local foot traffic. To learn more about Google My Business, click here
  2. Optimizing your store’s website for on-site SEO: Increasing your on-site SEO involves updating your website to optimize for several ranking factors. This includes improving internal linking structure, building local content, optimizing for keywords (website URL, meta descriptions, titles, headers etc.), and ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly. 
  3. Optimizing for off-site SEO: This involves everything you should be doing across the web (other than your own website). Key strategies to focus on include NAP consistency, inbound links, and local directory listings. 

If you would like help implementing a local SEO strategy for your retail business, hiring a local SEO consultant is a good place to start. Click here for an informative and thorough guide on how to find the best local SEO company for your retail store. 


Keep an eye out on our blog for more SEO tips. 

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about how you can increase foot traffic and store sales, click here

 

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Retail Marketing: How to Get More Google My Business Reviews

Retail Marketing: How to Get More Google My Business Reviews

Reviews are an important part of local search. According to Google, 2 out of 3 shoppers say having positive reviews was an important factor in selecting a business or store to purchase from. 

Which means two things: 

More good reviews = higher ranking in local search 

Higher ranking in local search = more foot traffic = more sales

This is why it’s important to gather reviews and respond to them. 

How to Get More Google Reviews

1. Ask for reviews at the right moment

According to Brightlocal, 70% of shoppers who have been asked to leave a review went on to do so.

It is generally good practice to ask shoppers to leave a review after they have made a purchase from your store. Also think of asking 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. 

retail transaction

2. Make it Easy 

Shoppers are unlikely to leave review if the process is difficult. The easier the review process is for your store, the more reviews you are likely to gather. 

Below are a few ways you can make it simple for your shoppers to leave a review. 

customer in store

1) Create 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 after they make a purchase. You will want to go over best practices with your employees. 

It’s best for employees to hand them 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.

review cards

2) Send a follow-up text or email

Go mobile by sending shoppers a follow-up text or create an email campaign. 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 will not take the time out of their day to 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

store owner

1. Sign in to Google My Business

2. Click “Home” on the left menu bar.

google my business home

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. 

Google get more reviews

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 your contact page, thank-you page, or even a section on your homepage. 

mini shopping cart

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.

gift in shopping cart

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. 

email marketing helps generate Google My Business reviews

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. 

This is why it is important to respond to all reviews – the good and the bad. In fact, 45% of customers state that they are more likely to visit a business if that business responded to negative reviews

For more information on how to respond to reviews, click here


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.

#retailmarketing #googlemybusiness #reviews #googlereviews #reviewmarketing #digitalmarketing #localseo #foottraffic

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Google My Business for Retailers: Creating a Short Name

Google My Business for Retailers: Creating a Short Name

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?

store front

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.

GMB get more reviews

With a GMB short name, it is now easy to promote your business to gain more reviews, share directions, and get leads. 

Best Practices 

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

1. Sign in to Google My Business

2. Click “Info” from the menu bar on the left.

info in GMB menu tab

3. Click on “Add profile short name”.

GMB short name

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. 

Apply GMB profile short name

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.

#googlemybusiness #retail #shortnames #attractlocalshoppers #retailpos #cloudpos #localseo #searchengineoptimization

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Retail Marketing: 3 Digital Marketing Tactics That Drive Foot Traffic

Retail Marketing: 3 Digital Marketing Tactics That Drive Foot Traffic

Are you looking for a cost effective tool to drive footfall to your store? 

Then you should consider targeting shoppers online with digital marketing tactics. 

The Importance of Digital Marketing for Retailers

Many retailers disregard the importance of digital marketing. In fact, only 44% of local retailers have claimed a Google My Business Listing

If you are not making use of digital marketing tools, you are missing out on a huge chunk of customers! 

Shoppers are now searching for retail businesses like yours online. According to Google:

  • 3 out of 4 customers now use a search engine to find a business. 

  • 7 out of 10 customers made a purchase from a business they found using a search engine. 

This is why digital marketing strategies are essential for retailers who are looking to drive foot traffic and sales. 

To learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for retail stores, click here

Below are three strategies you can leverage to build an online presence and attract more shoppers. 

3 Online Marketing Tactics that Increase Foot Traffic 

1) Local Directory Listings 

local seo

Local search results present a huge opportunity for retail stores; according to Google, 80% of people now use a search engine to find local information. 

This is why local directory listings are so valuable to retailers as a digital marketing tool – they help optimize your retail business for local search (or local SEO). In simpler terms, they help you be found locally by making your retail store appear in search results. 

Directories feature business information such as your address, contact information, store hours along with other useful features such as customer reviews, images, videos, and preferred payment options. 

Not only do local directories help you appear higher up in search results – they also help your business stand out among big box stores and online retailers. 

As mentioned above, most retail stores haven’t optimised for local search while online competitors can’t compete with your store locally. Meaning – there is a competitive edge you can gain by focusing on local SEO. 

To learn more about the basics of SEO, click here

The following are some online directories that will help you get noticed in local search results:

  • Google My Business

  • Yelp 

  • Yahoo Local 

  • Bing Places for Business

  • MerchantCircle

  • Yellow Pages

  • Foursquare

  • Manta

  • Angie’s List

  • Citysearch

2) Buy Online, Pick Up In-store (BOPI) 

shopper buying online

Buy Online, Pick Up In-store or BOPI (also commonly known as click and collect) takes advantage of consumer shopping habits to drive foot traffic. 

This omni-channel strategy draws on the fact that shoppers prefer to see the physical product in person but want the convenience of browsing online. In a recent survey, 50% of shoppers stated that they decided where to make a purchase based on whether a store offered BOPI options

BOPI is increasing in popularity as more and more retailers are adopting the strategy in order to remain competitive in the age of Amazon. And it is a tactic that seems to be working – according to the Business Insider, 68% of US consumers have made multiple click and collect purchases

Retailers adopting BOPI strategies are also reaping the benefits – 85% of shoppers made additional purchases when picking up an order in-store

To summarize, BOPI drives foot traffic while offering several advantages to retailers including: 

  • Higher rates of impulse purchases  

  • Decreased shipping costs 

  • Lower return rates

  • Satisfied shoppers

3) Google Local Inventory Ads

foot traffic

Google Local Inventory Ads are one of the most important digital marketing tools that retailers can leverage to drive foot traffic. This is because LIAs give retailers the unique ability to display a store’s in-stock merchandise –  at the exact moment that a relevant local search is made.

According to Google, shoppers prefer and act on location based ads

When a shopper makes a relevant product search, and that product is available at a local store, they will be shown a local inventory ad with an “in stock” label.

Once that shopper clicks on the ad, they will be taken to the Local Storefront page. Here, they will be given more information about the product and your physical store including other in-stock inventory, current promotions, store location, and hours. 

So by implementing Google LIAs in your digital marketing strategy, you will be able to target local shoppers and drive relevant traffic to your store! 


We hope you found 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.

#digitalmarketing #foottraffic #builtforretail #increasefootfall

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benefits of seo black friday budget marketing canada cloud adoption cloud point-of-sale cloud pos cloud retail software cloud technology customer loyalty custom names digital marketing footfall foot traffic free images free marketing geo-targeting google google local inventory ads Google My Business google my business features google shopping halloween holiday marketing in-store Industry Trends local seo main street retail marketing tips online search physical retail point of sale pos POS Tips retail retail marketing retail stores retail technology search engine optimization sell more seo small business stock photos technology thanksgiving