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How Online and B2B Businesses Can Get on the Local Spending Bandwagon

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Nov 22, 2016 8:44:00 AM

As it turns out, marketing hype folks are onto something with this idea of "hyperlocal."

After all, we just published research that shows consumers are staying very local to make their routine purchases.

And the more frequent the purchase, the less they're willing to travel. It's why there's a Starbucks or McDonald's on seemingly every block.

Ecommerce is shooting up, but still accounts for around 8% of all spending.

So, hyperlocal is the word.

If you operate a brick-and-mortar business, your blueprint is set. Draw a 20 minute radius around your location, and build your operation around those local consumers. Do what you need to do to bring them in and become part of their routine.

Super easy!

But…

What does this mean if you operate an online business?

Or a B2B business?

How can you take advantage of this hyperlocal bandwagon consumers are on? 

It's not easy, but it is possible.New Call-to-action

a few ideas to get you started…

  • Become Even More Convenient

It's obvious that one of the major draws of local spending is convenience.

You need jeans, you can run to the mall, try some on, pick the ones you like, and take them back just as quickly if needed.

Online, that's not so easy.

But you can level the playing field by eliminating some of the major inconveniences of online shopping. Like expensive shipping, and fees for returns.

Consider taking a page from online retailer Mott & Bow, who allows customers to pick out two sizes of denim. The customer keeps the ones that fit and sends the other pair back for free.

Amazon is another example.

You can't out-Amazon Amazon, but you can match certain aspects of what makes the site so popular. Things like free and/or expedited shipping, a loyalty program with great member benefits, and partnering with third party merchants to expand your offerings can give you some of the same advantages as a retailer just down the road.

  • Build a Local Presence

12372978275_4ca0bce75b_z.jpgNo, we're not saying dotcoms should transition to brick-and-mortar (though some are moving in that direction).

There are ways you can have an online business with some local connections.

Yelp is an obvious example, but the company doesn't just have online reviews of local businesses, they also have local employees who serve as ambassadors to their communities, both merchants and users. They host events with users and often sponsor community fairs and festivals.

If hiring people across the country or sponsoring events sounds like a bit much, consider pairing up with local non-profits (like Amazon Smile) or tangential businesses.

  • Create Human Interactions

Another key reason people stay local to spend their dollars: they get to interact with actual human beings.

Can we all be honest and say that the customer service experience for most online businesses is straight garbage? They intentionally make it difficult to find a phone number or anything that might possibly lead to a human interaction.

Human interactions, normally in the form of live customer service reps, are expensive. But they matter a great deal to people.

Start with small steps like sending emails from a person and proactively seeking feedback and responses.

What Do Consumers Want Most? More Money.

Here's the biggest opportunity.

Consumers are at the end of every business chain. Brick-and-mortar, online, and B2B all eventually succeed by earning dollars from regular people.

What's the most painful ongoing stress faced by consumers across the country and the world? Finances, and stretching thin paychecks as far as they can go.

candy20heart20dollar20sign20-20cropped.jpgYou know where their money is going - 20 minutes or less from home.

How can your business help them stretch those dollars?

The business who can help them do that is in line to earn a great deal of customer engagement. Whether it's a full discount program or just creating the occasional offer, people will pay attention when you help them save on everyday purchases.

This is what Access does in a nutshell. We help businesses alleviate one of the major pain points for consumers - saving money on everyday spending. It helps to have the nation's largest discount program, with over 350,000 of those local merchants offering discounts to end users.

That's how we do it, but you may find a different way to help people save on their local spending.

Regardless, you'll be better served for the effort, and your target consumers will love it, no matter how far down the chain they are.

(image courtesy of Yelp Inc.)

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Topics: local merchants, consumer trends

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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