Often sales are the result of careful consideration, but a surprisingly large number of customers take much less time to decide on a purchase. This is the window shopping effect: a customer spots something - whether that's a piece of clothing, an item on a menu or a holiday advertised in a travel agent's - and quickly makes the decision whether or not to buy it.
This is just as true online as it is out on the street. However, consumers have more tools available to them to help with this snap decision-making, and these largely come in the form of location-based searches; something that is rapidly rising in popularity.
Google Maps is a perfect example. A hungry consumer no longer has to look around for an interesting place to eat. Instead, they simply open up the Google Maps app on their phone, search for restaurants near them and go to whichever one takes their fancy. In a matter of seconds, the customer has identified a need (hunger), located a provider to fulfil it and decided to make a purchase; and all thanks to location data.
What are data amplifiers?
In order to benefit from this trend in 'near-me' searches, marketers need to make use of data amplifiers. These are a combination of publishers that make data available - like Google, Apple and Facebook - and aggregators that provide them with it. This latter category includes companies like Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup, and Neustar Localeze.
Why not just use SEO?
When it comes to getting location data out there, making a business easily searchable by customers, pure SEO is not enough; although SIM Partners vice president Gib Olander says that it is an essential component. There are also what is known as 'tier-two' directories, which allow you to directly manage your location data.
Investing in data amplifiers
However, most marketing experts agree that these directories are not a good use of a company's budget. Instead, Kraus Marketing argues:
The best solution to decreasing the potential for missed opportunities and subpar user experience is by focusing your efforts on a small number of high-impact data amplifiers.
This can have a major effect on a business' bottom line. Research from SIM Partners found that by improving the accuracy and reach of location data by 20 per cent, brands were able to improve traffic to their location pages by as much as 450 per cent. These companies also saw on-page action conversion rates increase by 216 per cent as a result of the change.
Finally, data amplifiers allow businesses to stay in step with omnichannel consumers: those who use multiple devices to search for products and services. Adam Dorfman, senior vice president of product & technology at SIM Partners, says these customers:
are going to find what they want on their own terms — and where they find you tomorrow will be different from where they’re looking for you today.
Using a data amplifier allows you to be included in all of these searches, no matter when, where or how they take place.