Google is excited about recent research that suggests the web and their internet products/services are having a positive impact on local commerce and how people access deals in their communities.
According to recent research, 97% of consumers are using online media to shop locally for goods and services.
The research, done by BIA/Kelsey, claims 58% of consumers are utilizing online coupons when shopping for local goods, and almost 20% are taking advantage of the web to secure reservations. On average, consumers are viewing almost 8 different media sources when searching for local deals.
Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey comments on the results of the study:
“The Internet has indeed become an integral part of consumers’ local commercial activity,”
“The data suggest we’re at an inflection point where the balance of power in local shopping is shifting to online.”
Peter Krasilovsky, vice president and program director of Marketplaces at BIA/Kelsey also comments on the trends revealed in the study:
“The increase in audience fragmentation presents challenges for advertisers looking to connect with local consumers,”
“These challenges may be outweighed by the targeting opportunities available with tools like coupon promotions and appointment scheduling, the latter being among the best lead sources possible, since you know where people are actually going.”
Here's what Google had to say about the web's success with local commerce on their Official Blog:
The growth of our Internet use has naturally helped the ecommerce industry to expand rapidly over the past decade. But the web is also positively impacting brick-and-mortar businesses. According to Boston Consulting Group, American consumers who researched products online last year spent almost $2,000 actually purchasing those products offline. That’s almost $500 billion that went directly to main street retail. All in all, it’s clear that the economic impact of the web is huge; the Internet is where business is done and jobs are created.
We’re proud to be part of such a dynamic industry, and we’re committed to helping make the web work for American businesses. Through our search and advertising programs, businesses find customers, publishers earn money from their content and nonprofits solicit donations and volunteers. These tools are how Google makes money, and they’re how millions of other businesses do, too.
Take one example: King Arthur Flour, a great New England baking company. King Arthur has been a well-known local company since George Washington was President, but has recently used the web to grow into an internationally-renowned baking business. Similarly, Nebraska’s 80 year-old Oriental Trading Company shifted some of its catalog-based marketing to the web, and now sells 80 percent of their toys and novelties online. Or consider New Jersey’s Bornstein Sons home maintenance and repair contracting business, which was founded 70 years ago and recently began to advertise online. They now get one in four of their new customers from the web.
In the past, the major fear was that the internet and online business would overtake local commerce and put everyone out of work, but with the popularity of location-based deals and online coupons, it seems like things are evolving and creating new opportunities for a lot of people in the community.
Google does its fair share to encourage local commerce, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done before we see everyone in the community taking advantage of what the web has to offer for their business.
Right now, Google has a program going called, Get Your Business Online, which helps companies build a free website and get them noticed in the community. Ideally programs like this will be enough to encourage more traditionally brick and mortar businesses to take the leap. Unfortunately, if you don't have a presence online, you business may be going the way of the dinosaur.