By |Published On: June 3, 2014|

A new study revealed that 78 percent of consumers who search for a local business on their smartphone end up making a purchase—often within the same day or hour.

Nearly 80 percent of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases, with nearly 90 percent of those purchases being in a physical store (73 percent) or on the phone (16 percent) vs. online (11 percent). Roughly three-fourths (76 percent) of those purchases happened the same day and most (63 percent) within a few hours.

In the late 90’s, businesses realized that the Internet was the ideal medium for reaching a global or national audience. Today, it’s the ideal medium to reach “ready-to-buy” consumers who are searching for local products, services and businesses.

Businesses like yours.

And when a consumer searches for local business information, they are further along in the buying process. In other words, they’ve already made a decision to buy; they’re just looking for the right company to buy from.

A company like yours.

We call that “local search.”

The Explosive Growth of “Local Search”

Back in 2008, local search started increasing by 50 percent a year—not long after Apple released the first affordable consumer smartphone. Coincidence? I think not.

In case you missed my not-so-subtle point, consumer smartphone usage is what’s causing the explosive growth in local search. Over 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and more half of those are smartphones.

Why should you care? Because mobile searchers take action sooner. The fact that they are searching while on the move (i.e., mobile) means the time between intent and action is shorter.

The Case Study of Me

About a year ago, my wife saw a commercial for a Bowflex TreadClimber and asked me to see how expensive they were. I discovered they were a few thousand dollars more than I was willing to spend, so I went looking for a basic elliptical machine.

I began where the majority of consumers start—on a search engine. I found a number of brands in my price range, read some reviews and compared prices.

Then, like a typical consumer, I got busy and forgot.

A few days later, as I ran an errand after work, I remembered my elliptical search. I decided (since I was in the area) to look for a local sporting good store on my mobile phone. I found two within a few miles.

The first store carried about seven machines within my price range (some of which had turned up in my “best elliptical machines” research). After test-driving a couple of them, I drove to the second store. Unfortunately, all of their machines were far above my price range. So I returned to the first store with my wife and bought a machine we both liked.

Because I was mobile (i.e., already in the area), my intent was higher, and the time between my intent and taking action was reduced.

A couple of studies reveal how typical my behavior was:

  • PCs and laptops are primarily used in the beginning stages of a local business search¹
  • Mobile phones are more likely to be used in the middle or at the end of the process¹
  • 70 percent of desktop searchers take action within one month; but 70 percent of mobile searchers take action within one hour²

Had I returned home to conduct my search for a sporting goods store, would I be the proud owner of a Schwinn 420 Elliptical Trainer? I imagine not.

1 Eloqua, 2012
2 6th Annual 15miles/Neustar Localeze Local Search Usage Study, comScore 2013


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