Oh Local – How to Optimize for Local Businesses in the Online World

In our recent article, we explored the growing popularity of the ‘local’ option when purchasing goods and services in the digital era. Since the lockdown, there has been a huge increase in the demand for ‘local’ products and it looks set to continue.

However, to succeed in this new world, business owners need to adapt to the changing demands of customers and competitors alike. In today’s article, we will share some of the things that you can do to optimize your business for local customers and prospects.

The Growth Of Online Shopping For Local Products

When the Covid-19 pandemic first struck, the entire world changed. In just a few months, people shifted towards online shopping, purchasing whatever they needed from the comfort of their homes. Since then, the trend has continued, with many people preferring to buy local products and services online. 

This preference is likely to continue, as more and more people realize the benefits of shopping locally.

Why Local Products?

Although people are now able to go to physical stores and meet face-to-face with salespeople, the preference online shopping will most likely continue to grow because of the many benefits it offers. The most appealing aspect of online shopping is the ability to comparison shop – going through numerous products and prices, without ever leaving the comfort of your home. And what’s more, you can do this at any time, from the convenience of your computer or mobile device.

While the option of shopping for local products doesn’t exist yet, when it does, physical stores will most likely become a thing of the past. And what’s more, when it comes to purchasing local goods, service providers and businesses should prepare for a boom in demand.

What To Look Forward To

Since the pandemic, many aspects of our daily lives have changed, with the world shifting to a more virtual and remotely-operated world. However, with increasing internet speeds and the rise of smart applications, there will soon be a way for businesses and individuals to operate physically near to one another again.

According to Cisco, the next wave of internet innovation will focus on creating a ‘digital twin’ of the real world, which will allow us to interface and navigate through our surroundings just like in the real world, but using only pixels on a screen.

As more and more people are likely to turn to the internet to find what they need, whether it’s medical supplies or groceries, businesses that offer local products and services will have an advantage. With the world shifting back to ‘normal’ and more people wanting to return to a healthy way of living, local businesses will be able to rely on a ready supply of customers.

How To Leverage The Growth

Since the pandemic, many businesses have closed down, fearing a return of the virus. For those that remain, adapting to the new normal will be essential, to ensure that they continue to succeed.

As customers increasingly switch to online shopping and social distancing becomes a thing of the past, many businesses will have to find a way to adapt and change, in order to remain relevant.

If you’re a business owner or operator, and you’re reading this, then you may be wondering what you can do to leverage the growth and change that has occurred, in order to improve your business. What better way to find out than by asking your customers? To win back customers who have changed their habits and shifted to online shopping, you need to stand out from the crowd and offer something unique. That is what led us to start a business, Loco Marketing.

What Is Loco Marketing?

As the name suggests, Loco Marketing is a marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing, customer acquisition and engagement for local businesses. We were originally set up by a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to provide an alternative to traditional marketing agencies and wanted to offer a more personalized, bespoke service. What we lacked in size, we made up for in ingenuity and talent, and since then, our service has only gained popularity and now, during the pandemic, we are experiencing a huge increase in demand for our services.

What sets us apart from other agencies is the depth of knowledge we gain from personal experience in the field. We have worked with local businesses over the last 10 years and gained a genuine understanding of what works and what doesn’t. When you hire us as a business owner or brand manager, you are getting access to this expertise and the contacts needed to access a global network of specialists, ready to serve your business.

The Rise Of Virtual Realities And The Importance Of Being There

Since the pandemic, virtual reality and augmented reality have gained a lot of popularity, with many people using their smartphones, tablets or dedicated VR devices to visualize and interact with 3D models of houses, cities and other places. What is fascinating is that many people are experiencing these tools for the first time and are learning to love them, because they offer such a positive experience. It’s like being there, yet feeling like you’re somewhere else. 

Augmented reality is just a specific type of virtual reality that uses real-life imagery and adds information via image overlays or physical objects.

There are several major benefits to using virtual reality and AR for business. One of the most significant benefits is the ability to experiment with different marketing messages and display cases, without risking reality. What’s more, the ability to try different marketing strategies and measure their results is also possible, via the use of virtual reality and AR. This makes it much more viable as a tool for digital marketing and experimentation.

Marketing In The Digital Age

Nowadays, consumers have a wide variety of information and choices available to them online. This has resulted in a ‘digital age’ where customers can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of information and competing products. It is critical for businesses to adapt to the changing landscape and to ensure that they continue to exist and thrive in the digital world.

Being accessible online is also a major selling point for many businesses. Thanks to simple to follow social media guides and online marketplaces, customers can find and connect with businesses, regardless of whether they’re local or remote – meaning that no matter where you are, you can always find what you need, when you need it. This is a massive advantage for businesses, as they no longer have to rely on location, meaning that they can showcase their products and services, regardless of where they are in the world.

Practical Tips For Marketing Locally

Since the pandemic, many businesses have had to adapt and change, in order to survive. While there are various guidelines and recommendations for marketing during the pandemic, as a business owner, it’s important that you understand and considerate the needs of your customers and prospects. Using online marketing platforms such as Google My Business, Facebook and YouTube to promote your local business is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reach out to customers who are in close proximity to your store.

Make Use Of The Great British Public

During the pandemic, people are looking for ways to entertain themselves and get some exercise, so why not? One simple and effective way to generate interest and gain traction for your business is to make use of the Great British Public, your target audience. To win over the hearts and minds of millennials and Gen Z, you need to stand out from the crowd and offer something special. What better way to do that, than by asking the people who matter most – your customers.

Our advice to business owners looking to market locally, is to reach out to your customers, via the internet and social media. From there, you can take it one step further and reach out to their friends, family and other social groups. During the pandemic, the more you can do to engage with and communicate with your audience, the more traction you’ll gain and the more opportunities you’ll have to offer. During the pandemic, people are far more receptive to receiving messages and engaging with content, than they are to selling products or seeking transactions. So take advantage of that fact and engage with your audience, wherever they might be.