The convergence of social networking, local search and mobile shopping provides consumers with convenience while saving them time, a real winner in the digital world. Because the Social-Local-Mobile trend makes certain marketing channels more important for retail brands, we want to review how e-retailers can get more social while providing mobile functionality and local search findability.

It’s possible to cash in on this trend with a Google+ business page, ecommerce mobile pages and traditional local search optimization or automated local SEO with digital storefront software for multiple-location brands.

Since Google+ was launched earlier this year to compete with Facebook as a social networking platform, it has now expanded to include business pages. The official Google Blog announced Google+ Pages so customers can connect with all the things they care about, including places and brands.

In today’s competitive Web environment, e-retailers can prosper by gathering customer recommendations using Google+ Circles and an emphasis on social-local-mobile trends.

Google+ Pages Can Make Brands More Popular

Since Google Plus introduced the Google+ Page feature for creating a business page, businesses, brands and organizations can extend their popularity by creating a business page on the new Google Plus social network. Retailers can enhance relationships with many stakeholders and even add new customers to Circles, update their status, and host video conferences.

By adding a business page into Circle, businesses, brands and websites can connect with their customers and fans, allowing them to keep informed on new products, sales events and more. All the retailer needs to do is start sharing, and they can reach fans and loyal customers that really want to know more about the brand and its products.

According to Christian Oestlien, Google’s head of social advertising products, Google+ being listed in the organic SERPs will benefit brands with increased click-through rates. A number of pages are already available for brands like Pepsi, Burberry, H&M and Macys, but any organization can join the community at plus.google.com/pages/create.

There’s a big advantage to Google+ Pages for retailers because billions of users search on Google daily, and many times they are looking for businesses and brands. Google+ Pages can help users transform their queries into useful connections.

Google now has two ways to add Pages to Circles.The first is by including Google+ pages in search results, and the second is a new feature called Direct Connect, which takes users to a brand’s Google+ page when they search for {+} followed by the page they want (like +Macys). That would take them to Macy’s page.

Currently, Direct Connect works for a limited number of pages, but more are coming soon. So, get yourself started with a Google+ business page if you haven’t already.

Social-Local-Mobile Trend Continues

Since people are leaving their computers and laptops behind for mobile devices and tablets, it’s time for e-retailers to optimize their sites for multiple devices in order to capitalize on ecommerce revenue.

By mastering ecommerce on all devices, e-retailers can increase brand engagement and product conversions. The object is to exploit the convergence of people, information, products, services and places with today’s smartphones and tablets, which drive online orders in addition to purchases from brick-and-mortar stores.

The convergence of Social Local and Mobile will have a big impact on the way your customers do business and spend money as the use of multiple digital devices becomes mainstream.

E-Retailers Lack Mobile Page Functionality

While it may sound easy to gain momentum with a Social-Local-Mobile focus, the problem is that only 19 percent of the 100 top e-retailers have ecommerce web pages with mobile functionality. Additionally, of the top e-retailers that do have mobile functionality, few offer mobile versions of every ecommerce page. We can likely assume smaller retailers also lack mobile ecommerce functionality.

A new survey by Sybase 365 and the Mobile Marketing Association reveals two-thirds of holiday shoppers would make a purchase from mobile phones if prompted by coupons, discounts, text alerts, gift cards or loyalty points. That’s an increase from the 32 percent that responded positively last year.

The study also found 38 percent of users would use a mobile device to find a store location, 34 percent to compare prices, 28 percent to research deals and coupons, and 27 percent to find a product review.

Job One for retailers is to create mobile functionality for their ecommerce website, including all product pages, to take advantage of shoppers using social, local and mobile resources. Additionally, when providing mobile ecommerce pages, e-retailers need to ensure mobile searchers click links that go deep into their webpages to view mobile –friendly content.

If searchers can’t get to deep content, retailers lose mobile sales.

Testing Your Mobile Site

If you want to test your mobile site for mobile-friendly content, Pure Oxygen Labs created a tool called the Mobile Site Analyzer, which it offers free to merchants. The tool crawls and identifies the webpages that lead smartphone searchers to mobile-friendly content and those that don’t. Retailers can enter a URL and email address, and the tool performs the analysis and sends a report by email.

Next Generation Technology

The next generation of mobile devices will be capable of interacting with every aspect of retail transactions by using technology such as Near Field Communication (NFC), augmented reality, commodity card swipe accessories and local search. Right now, Google Wallet is using NFC for contactless payments.

Integrating all these new systems into your site can be expensive, and not all retailers are doing it today. However, it’s wise to think about the possibility of opening your physical infrastructure and your brand to becoming a platform for next generation transactions.

The Power of Local Search

Smartphones and tablets put users a few taps away from information on the web such as Google local search, competitive pricing, reviews and more. It’s important for retailers to be optimized for local search, and we wrote about that in How To Boost In-Store Traffic & Sales By Optimizing Your Digital Storefront For Local SEO.

Retailers with multiple locations can benefit from digital storefront software as these tools can optimize and manage multiple local business listings and provide page one local search results. The software creates individual location landing webpages for each business location while applying SEO best practices techniques with a focus on local keywords.

Whether you do it yourself or use SEO store locator software and Mobile store locator software, it is important to be optimized for local search to take advantage of the Social-Local-Mobile convergence to enhance your brand and sell more product because that’s the way people look for and buy merchandise in today’s digital environment. You don’t want to miss the Social-Local-Mobile opportunity.

Disclosure: I advise firms that provide and/or distribute digital storefront software.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Search & Retail

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About The Author: is Managing Partner at PB Communications LLC. Specializing in SaaS solutions for Enterprise Store Locator/Finders, Semantic/Organic/Local/Mobile and SEO Diagnostic Audits for increasing online and in-store foot traffic.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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