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Online Marketing For Offline Buying

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Around 60 percent of purchases that begin with online research end at a local store offline. That’s mainly because the Internet has yet to let you to try something on or really see the TV picture quality. Add that to lack of local businesses fully utilizing the power of local search and directories, and you have the basis for a whole new business model.

“Our research indicates that Internet marketing by local businesses has not kept pace with the changing shopping behavior of consumers, who increasingly turn to the Internet to research products and services before buying locally,” said Matt Booth, vice president and program director for Interactive Local Media, The Kelsey Group, in a statement.

San Francisco-based StepUp Commerce came on the scene in early 2006 and has since signed up about 4,000 individual retailers who have no interest in the click-and-ship ecommerce scene. What they want is to offer the local community a way to find items on the Web that are in their inventory and where those items can be picked up.

Focusing on the small, independent retailer StepUp syndicates product content, sending it out to online destinations like Froogle, SuperPages, and Price Runner, searchable by zip code. The company creates one Webpage per product with descriptions, store contact information, and maps, and then optimizes the pages to be found in the local search engines.

“It’s a marketing channel used for driving people from the Web to the stores,” Jad Dunning, president of StepUp, told WebProNews. “We’re trying to build a business based on small partners. We have lots of partners on the manufacturer side as well.”

Dunning directs us to Froogle to search for a washing machine in our own zip code. A search for [washer] in the Lexington, Kentucky area, brings up local electronics and appliances store, Pieratt’s, a StepUp client, along with a map. Here’s another example on SuperPages.

StepUp maintains and updates these local pages for the retailers for $50 per month per category per location.

Online Marketing For Offline Buying
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