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Translating “Near Me” Consumer Search Behavior Into Sales

When you want to purchase a product or service, as a consumer what do you do? Do you browse ads in a phone book? Get out a paper map to find the nearest location? Likely not — if you're like every other modern consumer, you start your buying journey online and often on your smartphone. What was commonplace a decade ago is laughably outdated in today's fast-paced world.

Consumers today live in a “near me” world, where almost anything they want is available from a nearby business. In fact, searches that include “near me” and “open today or tonight” are up 900% over the past two years. What’s more, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit or call a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase within 24 hours, according to research from Google.

Near me search is up 900% year over year

As a multi-location business, understanding “near me” consumer search behavior is critical for providing locally relevant content and campaigns that drive greater engagement and sales.

6 “Near Me” Consumer Search Behaviors

As experts continue tracking consumer behavior online, six common patterns of “near me” search behavior have emerged. MomentFeed has developed a new, proprietary model to explain “near me” consumer search behaviors and describe how consumers use search to choose which businesses to frequent.

We call this model NEDICT, and it outlines behaviors that drive local buying decisions with retailers, restaurants, service-oriented businesses, and more:

  1. Newcomers

  2. Emergency buyers

  3. Dissatisfied

  4. Infrequents

  5. Comparers

  6. Transients

Let's take a closer look at this model of customer behavior so you can refine your marketing techniques toward the appropriate target audience with the best timing.

Are you effectively translating “near me” search behavior into sales?

Newcomers

Consumer Search Behavior - Newcomers

Who They Are

These consumers are part of the 14% of the U.S. population that moves every year. They may be young adults heading off to college for the first time, someone who was transferred for work, or just someone relocating to a new city.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

You name it, and Newcomers are looking. Gyms, beauty services, grocery stores, dry cleaners, auto services, and restaurants are just some of the many businesses that Newcomers need to locate in their new environment.

Selling to Newcomers

Monitor your listings to ensure your location data is complete and accurate. If you have reviews on your listings, respond promptly and professionally to both the positive and negative reviews. If you have specialty items, be sure to include the appropriate keywords on your site so Newcomers can find them.

Emergency Buyers

Consumer Search Behavior - Emergency Buyers

Who They Are

Thankfully for most people, this consumer search behavior happens rarely — when there's a crisis at home that needs immediate redress. It may be a sick child, a burst water pipe, or a missing ingredient for dinner.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

Emergency Buyers are looking for convenience and variety stores — places nearest to them where they can find the item they need. They want businesses that are open 24 hours and allow walk-up or walk-in service.

Selling to Emergency Buyers

Make sure your hours of operation are accurate and clearly listed on your website and all directory listings. If you carry products that qualify as emergency supplies — anything someone might need to run out and quickly purchase to solve a pressing problem — list them on your local pages. While quality is important, these customers just want their needs fulfilled right away.

Dissatisfied

Consumer search behavior - Dissatisfied Customer

Who They Are

Dissatisfied customers are no longer loyal to the businesses they once frequented. They have had a bad experience and are ready to try someplace new in hopes of a better product or experience.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

Any business including retailers, restaurants, and service-oriented businesses have the opportunity to attract the dissatisfied consumer. This consumer’s expectations may be a bit higher than most as they seek out top quality businesses with high levels of customer satisfaction and good reputations.

Selling to the Dissatisfied

Without a doubt, reviews are the most important tool for converting these leads into sales. Be sure to respond to every review, both positive and negative, on your directory listings and social media profiles. Let customers who weren't completely satisfied know that you're willing to make it right.

Infrequents

Consumer Search Behavior - Infrequent

Who They Are

This type of consumer search behavior reflects rare purchases that only happen occasionally, like a new lawnmower or refrigerator. Infrequents can sometimes translate into social media followers or referrals for your business if you handle the situation well.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

These consumers may be looking for a restaurant in a part of town they've never been to, or need to make a large, long-term purchase, such as a mattress or a new car. Many infrequents are satisfied, repeat customers returning to your business after some time. And with a positive experience they can also become advocates, referring your business to their networks.

Selling to Infrequents

Make sure your listings are complete with your hours, correct location information, and any new services or products you may offer so customers who haven’t visited you in a while know where to go and when. Showcase your seasonal deals or specials so these buyers can immediately see what's new.

Comparers

Consumer Search Behavior - Comparer

Who They Are

These customers are looking for the best deal on anything and everything. They take the time to research multiple brands, locations, and businesses to find the best quality for the best price. They pride themselves on making informed decisions.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

Comparers often search for big-ticket items such as gym memberships and cars, as well as home goods. This consumer type might also compare in-store prices with online prices, especially for higher-priced items like beauty products and electronics. While price is a factor for the comparer, they also want the best, which is why mobile searches with the word "best" grew by more than 50% in a single year.

Best Mobile Searches Stat - Consumer Search Behavior

Selling to Comparers

Monitor and respond to reviews that may help Comparers clearly see how you stack up to the competition. Check out your direct competition—Comparers surely will—and tailor your content to point out how your product or service is superior. This is especially vital if you can’t compete on price alone. People will pay more for better quality, personalized service, home delivery, and other offers.

Transients

Consumer Search Behavior - Transient consumer

Who They Are

These customers are on the move! Maybe it's an emergency or maybe not, but they're unfamiliar with the area, unlikely to be in it for an extended time, and turn to online searches for answers. Consumers on vacation or travelling on business trips fall into this category of behavior.

“Near Me” Categories They Search

Restaurants, entertainment venues, gas, and beauty services are a few examples of what Transient searchers look for. They don’t have a lot of time to compare options, but may only get one chance to visit a local business and want to make it count.

Selling to Transients

Before anything else, make sure your listings—including location and store hours—are 100% accurate as to not create frustration. Make it as easy as possible to find your business for a Transient who is likely unfamiliar with the area. Including clear directions and easy methods of contact, such as a prominent phone number on your site, can help.

Transients are searching for a memorable experience as much as convenience and value. Recognize the opportunity to turn a one-time customer into a brand advocate willing to travel long distances to visit your business again.

Target “Near Me” Searchers with Your Online Presence

Multi-location digital marketers can attract more customers and improve their bottom line by understanding and targeting “near me” consumer search behavior. You can learn more about the NEDICT model and how to translate local search behavior into sales by downloading MomentFeed's free white paper, NEDICT: The In-The-Moment Mobile-Local Marketing Trend.

Need help translating “near me” consumer search behavior into sales?

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