How we shop is changing–just ask Toys R Us. Whether you’re selling Teddy Ruxpin or tailored dresses, it’s critical to keep an eye on how changing consumer behaviors influence purchases. For online retailers, analytics dashboards make it easy to see changes in search behavior and device usage over time, but for local retailers it can be a little tougher. If you’re as busy as most business owners, keeping up with shopping trends might not make your to-do list. So here’s a list of the most important trends influencing local retailers in 2018.

Going Mobile

Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, smartphones have taken over. Today, the majority of online traffic comes from mobile devices. That means your customers are searching, comparing, and shopping from anywhere and everywhere, making it easier than ever to find the best local retailer in record time. For savvy retailers, the rise of mobile devices is an incredible opportunity to make your business easy to find, contact, and support.

“Near Me” Searches

A decade ago, finding a specific ring at your local jewelry store meant driving around town or spending hours on the phone. What used to take all afternoon can be done almost instantly with modern communication platforms like Podium. But it’s not just how you talk to your customer that’s changing, it’s also how they find your business.

According to Google, “near me” searches have increased more than 130% in the last year. And 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours, with 28% of those searches resulting in a purchase. Even though the customer journey typically starts online it doesn’t have to end there.

near me google search

Business Messaging

In a recent survey, 67% of customers said the number one factor that influences their loyalty to a local businesses is how convenient they make it to be a repeat customer. So if customers are already searching for your business from their smartphone, why not keep the conversation going with chat? After all, website visitors who interact with a chat tool are six times more likely to convert. With the right tools, you can turn clicks into customers and customers into credentials.

Closing the Loop

Every customer is a little different, but one thing they all crave is convenience–a shorter commute, a faster checkout, a simpler customer journey. Podium’s customer interaction platform helps customers find your business, conveniently connect with you, and choose you over and over again. Because what’s good for them is good for business.