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Small Business Center

The New Retail Success Metric for Shopping Centers

October 5, 2021

By Angel Cicerone, Tenant Mentorship
www.tenantmentorship.com

By all accounts, consumer spending is up. So why aren’t small shops and restaurants always reaping the benefits? Well, one of the reasons is their digital doorways are closed shut! As we create welcoming and interactive environments within physical spaces, it’s equally as important to do the same online. I worked with three tenants just this week that didn’t show up in online searches for their categories. Think about it. If you don’t come up in a search, you’re virtually invisible, given that 90 percent of people start their path to purchase with an online search.

We generally think of online search as a priority for e-commerce sites, but it's equally important for local stores. Here’s why: There’s been over 500% growth in “near me” searches on Google over the past several years. When someone searches for an item or restaurant suggestion “near me,” it implies intent to purchase. In fact, Google states, as a result of these searches:

  • 50% of searchers visit a local store within a day.
  • 18% make a purchase within a day.

That’s a pretty powerful argument for improving a store’s digital presence.
Unfortunately, small shops don’t usually understand the relationship between digital and physical and often don’t have the wherewithal to create a more robust online presence. If you’re faced with underperforming local businesses in your centers, their digital presence, or lack thereof, may be part of the problem. Here’s how to check:

  • Do a simple search. Where are they showing up, if at all?
  • Check for outdated website content. If there is still a notice about a July 4th sale and it’s September, they clearly aren’t updating their content, a top priority for getting better rankings.
  • Review their social media. Are they posting regularly? Are they getting engagement?
  • Check review sites. A lack of  online reviews — good or bad — is not only bad for rankings, it also says the business isn’t resonating with the community.

For decades, we’ve been measuring small shop success by the standard key performance indicators like year-over-year sales growth, profit margins and conversion rates. Now, we have to add a new metric to the mix, search!

This piece first appeared at https://www.tenantmentorship.com/tenant-mentorship-blog/new-success-metric.

Small Business Center

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