Most local businesses are aware that Google and mobile are playing a larger role in their success or failure everyday. In an article referenced here, it seems Google is going to be able to tell you when your busiest and slowest times are, based on Mobile GPS and location geo-mapping.
Now Google unveils a huge improvement to it’s local search capabilities. This past summer, Google announced that it can tell people when you, the local business; is busy or slow!!
This is being touted as a boon to consumers to avoid congestion and long lines. But there is a much more powerful use here for each and every business.
This is another tool to help your business in it’s marketing. While it’s not in use nationwide, Google is expected to finish rolling this out this year.
Using this data, you can know when you should run your promotions and sales, in order to drive traffic on your slow days. You can also adjust
employee hours based on your ability to better predict high and low traffic days.
There is a downside as this change rolls out.
Many businesses are not happy due to the negative effects it’s had on their traffic patterns. Since this will be used by millions of people to figure out the best times to visit any given business, they are now changing their normal shopping patterns drastically. This has caught many businesses off guard.
Many retailers, and especially restaurants; are complaining that suddenly their traffic patterns have changed to drastically. They are finding themselves over staffed and over budgeted on their normally busy days, and under staffed on the ‘new’ busy days.
This seems more of a problem of not keeping up with the technology than anything else. Business is going to have to get up to speed if they want to take advantage of this trend.
More importantly, they will HAVE to learn to work with this new shift, if they want to stay competitive.
As this technology advances even further, this will just get better overtime. Business who adapt will have the edge. They will know when to push advertising and marketing, and when to focus on customer care. The best part is, it won’t cost business a dime to do it. All this information will be available online.
ONE MAJOR CAVEAT, and A Warning You’ve Heard Before
In their announcement, Google stated that this would be rolling out, almost exclusively; on the mobile networks. Mobile is the direction all search is going. And it’s going there faster each day.
If a business does NOT have a mobile presence, they will not even be found in this new search environment.
Google already announced back in April 2015, that if your website was not mobile-friendly, you will be pushed down in the search engines, as they favor mobile-friendly sites over traditional desktop versions.
With local search becoming ever more precisely targeted, every business will have to follow this trend and plan accordingly.
Bottom line: You need to be mobile-friendly, and you need to catch up on local search trends and what it takes to be found there.
Here’s an article I wrote about that here: Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website