In today’s world anything that is visible digitally, has stronger chances of attracting attention. With changing times and consumer behaviour, business owners have realized this all the more. The greater the digital visibility of their business, the better its chances of building an association with consumers leading to potentially higher revenue. In particular, for brands having physical locations, this approach presents a high growth opportunity. Let’s take a closer look.
Imagine you are craving Continental cuisine and want to explore some good restaurants. You will invariably throw this desire into a search engine and look up Continental-serving restaurants near you. Once you stumble upon some lucrative options, you would want to access information such as their contact, menu, business hours, and ratings. And once you are convinced that the place is appreciable, you either visit or make an online order. It is precisely this kind of consumer behavior that has gained momentum, as consumers seek immediate answers to their questions. Today’s consumer has limited time and demands convenience which can be delivered precisely through digital channels. Hence, brands are focused on strengthening their digital touchpoints and hyperlocal reach, and ensuring that they can offer positive experiences that will translate into purchases and long-lasting relationships.
While traditional ‘Above the line’ (ATL) and ‘Below the line’ (BTL) activities such as TV commercials, print advertisements, large format out-of-home, flyers, and other formats are still a part of the consideration set, brands are taking measures to solidify their last-mile connectivity with consumers. While they spend on high-level marketing to bring consumers close to the purchase funnel, if a positive experience is not offered in the last mile, they will lose out significantly. In simple terms, brands are focusing on location-based targeting, for better digital discovery which can further be enhanced by value-driven engagement, and eventual conversions. This not only helps to offer a satisfying consumer-experience but has also contributed impactfully to topline revenue. According to a recent Google report, “Open Now Near Me” searches globally have grown by over 400%. This clearly shows how strong the online route is when it comes to consumers intending to purchase products and services at their convenience. So, if a brand is not awakening to the consumer’s journey in the last mile, it will end up losing golden growth opportunities despite successful high-level activities.
In fact, during the pandemic, online searches for various products and services rose exponentially. Consequently, brands needed to keep updating consumers with information about all aspects of their business. Inconsistent or missing digital information about their presence and services would disappoint consumers and brands would lose the competitive edge. This awareness has been growing. And it has been encouraging brands to integrate their inventory, digital assets, and hyperlocal assets, making it easier for consumers to engage and make purchases.
Consistency in consumer-experience is important. As a result, brands are ensuring that they keep activities in physical and digital channels in alignment, helping consumers transition between digital and physical storefronts seamlessly. Brands are now going beyond digital discoverability that leads to physical engagement avenues like calls to stores or store visits. They are complementing it through automated chat capabilities for engagement right at the beginning at a location level, along with opportunities eCommerce-enabled location pages, for online purchases. This is where granular, location-based, digital presence is critical to brands, as it brings monetization opportunities and offers contextual experiences, establishing stronger brand-recall in the consumer’s mind. Using this sort of targeted approach, brands can help their business locations to connect more productively with their local consumers, and achieve a strong hold in various geographies and markets.
Let’s look at a simple example. Imagine there’s an automobile brand having dealerships across India. During a festival like Pongal, local dealers in the southern part of the country can customize offers according to the needs of the local consumers there. Parallelly, for a festival like Lohri which is celebrated around the same time in the northern part of the country, local dealers can customize offers according to the requirements or purchase behaviour of the consumers there. With effective hyperlocal strategies and store-level eCommerce capabilities, every franchise can become a treasure trove for brands. And the more every location can strengthen its presence in local markets through reviews and improve its digital identity, the better its relationship with consumers, and the greater its growth prospects.
So as it stands, ‘Hyperlocal’ is continuing to gain emphasis. And it is offering a huge opportunity to tap into. Having over 150+ brands onboard with us across industries, we have observed that industries such as Automobiles and BFSI have seen an upwards of 20% contribution to their top line from digitizing their storefronts. With more and more brands highlighting the advantages that the digital last-mile can offer, the business landscape and the industry at large, are increasingly attracting the attention of investors, governments, policymakers, and collaborators. An example of this is the ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) initiative by the Indian government. It aims to democratize e-commerce and enable small retailers to participate in this digitization of physical retail infrastructure. With such progressive ecosystems further enabling hyperlocal marketing & commerce, it is becoming simpler for brands to meet consumer expectations, tap into a rich revenue pool, and make promising plans for the digital road ahead.