How To Win the Webroom Shopper recently I wanted to buy some plant watering spikes. Those are the things you screw onto an old one-liter plastic soda bottle filled with water and then poke them into the ground so they’ll slowly water a plant.

I forgot exactly what they were called and was curious about brands and pricing so I did a search on Google and found what I had in mind. Next, I clicked the Google “shopping” link because I wanted to buy some. After I got the shopping results, my final step was to click the “local” option so I would get a list of local stores that had them in stock.

And so begins our lesson in webrooming.

Showrooming vs Webrooming
While showrooming gets most of the press—that phenomena must have a good PR guy—more people webroom than showroom. A recent survey found that 46 percent of shoppers showroomed last Christmas season while 69 percent webroomed.

I better define some terms before I get too far. Showrooming is looking in stores for an item, then buying it online. Webrooming is doing what I did…or tried to do: finding an item online then buying it locally.

Now come on guys, somebody in town must have the plant watering spikes I was looking for! The fact that I couldn’t find a local source online underscores the single most important thing to learn if you want to have a crack at the 69 percent of shoppers who admit to webrooming: you have to kill in local searches.

Cover all your bases
We know that with the increasing reliance on mobile devices, local searches are becoming the dominant focus of online marketing. Please note that the local search failure I experienced in my hunt for plant watering spikes occurred on a desktop computer. This underscores the several critical elements of a fully successful local search strategy.
You must be there. No stores showed up as offering plant spikes in a local search. Are garden centers in my town ignoring local searches? Maybe, maybe not. However, if they’re targeting local searches, they are failing at point number two.

If you sell products, upload product feeds. There are several places online where you can upload your catalog, such as comparative shopping sites. To get included on Google, you need to go through the Google Merchant Center and you pay when people click on your item. All of these services require formatting a product data feed. Developing the system for compiling the product feed is usually something you only need to do once. After that, it’s just a process of updating and re-uploading your feed.

You must broadcast widely. There’s a huge array of websites and online directories that mobile device surfers use to find local products and services. Get into as many as possible. If you want someone else to do the work, check out services such as MyBusinessListingManager, Universal Business Listing, Localeze and Yext. Some of these are paid, some free.

I’ve only given you the most basic details here. I suggest you do your homework and become an expert on dominating local search results. Do that and you’ll be master of the webroom shopper.

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