It’s no surprise that consumers generally prefer to shop from local/small businesses, given the choice. But what may be news to some integrated marketers is that shoppers also expect those same businesses to have a polished, professional website.
A Premium On Quality
Most consumers believe local stores offer a better overall shopping experience, citing “quality of work” as the top reason (57%) in a recent Yodle survey reported by Screenwerk.
In return for better quality and personal service from independent merchants, local consumers are willing to pay somewhat more, but only up to a point. Seventy-two percent, for example, said they’d be willing to pay extra for better quality work, while nearly half would pony up for personalized service.
At the same time, small businesses are also expected to offer competitive pricing, as well as loyalty programs. Among the top reasons consumers cite for stopping their support of local businesses, the biggest is a decline in quality (69%) followed by a significant increase in prices (60%).
Building a Better Website
Interestingly, both consumers and small businesses are in agreement in their desire for “a better website”. However, this is the area where local businesses often fall short when compared to national chains.
Marketers and small business owners should take special note of the findings in the chart below that illustrate the differences between consumer expectations and differentiation. Consumers expect their loyalty to small local business to be rewarded. They also expect a certain level of digital sophistication from businesses of all sizes, with the ability to book an appointment, shop and purchase online, or leave a review, cited as givens. This applies regardless of the device on which your site is being viewed, since mobile-friendly sites are becoming increasingly important.
Take a look at what your customers expect at a minimum from your website and what can help set you apart from the competition. It may be different than you think!
What Customers Expect Online Not Important Expected Sets Apart
Special offers for returning customers 12% 31% 57%
Online reviews about the business 24% 40% 36%
Book/request online appointments 39% 28% 33%
Online payment options 38% 34% 28%
Ability to leave a review about the business 38% 41% 21%
Good News About Reviews
On a final, positive note, the survey confirmed what Yelp has long claimed about online reviews. Contrary to conventional wisdom, positive experiences actually prompt more customer reviews than negative experience. So keep up the quality and personal service, because customers are sharing the good word with their friends and online followers!
Last modified: September 21, 2017