COVID has really changed how local business operate --- understatement of the year, perhaps?
It’s been a historically irregular year. We don’t need to remind you of that at this point, but the twists and turns of 2020 have resulted in some drastic shifts in the way marketers think about business.
People are whipping out their phones to buy things at a higher volume than ever, social platforms continue to gain steam, and you probably still can’t go to your favorite club. Let’s take a look at some recent numbers:
- Retail is still growing in the US, even during a pandemic. Statistics from the U.S. government show that current retail sales are higher than at this time in 2019, and they’re about 2% higher now than they were during February – before the pandemic.
Sure, retail sales would be even higher if we weren’t in a worldwide pandemic; and sure, e-commerce has seen massive gains. Local business isn’t dead, though, and Google provided some updates yesterday that should help local businesses market themselves a little more effectively. Here’s the bottom line:
- You can now easily display in-stock products and prices on your business panel. Google’s making it easier to let customers know exactly what you have, and how much it costs. This is a big one for local businesses – if you’ve ever skipped a store because you weren’t sure if they had something, those days are over.
- Other relevant information is also easier to see. Store hours, curbside pickup, and other relevant details are now displayed more prominently on one page. This information was available already, but Google’s making it easier to see everything in one place.
For you marketers who don’t work with small businesses, Google’s update yesterday on regional structured data might be worth checking out.
Overall? E-commerce store owners and marketers have plenty of reasons to feel good about the trajectory of sales – but local businesses and retail are still going strong!