In our most recent Retail Innovation Conference session, sponsored by Podium, Cam Hale—SVP of Retail at Podium—and Steve Barnes—Senior Manager, Omnichannel Integration at Mattress Firm—shared their insights and best practices in 5 Retail Strategies to Win Local. 

“Winning local for us is big…it’s about connecting our two most important people—our sleep experts with our customers—and allowing them to interact whenever and however,” said Steve. 

Missed the event? Check out the full recording below.

video of Podium Webinar Recap

Here are a few highlights from the session: 

Show up in local search results 

72% of consumers who search for a local business are more likely to visit a business within five miles of their current location. For retailers, showing up in those search results can make or break their lead acquisition efforts. “When that term, near me, is used, how are you showing up?” asked Steve. 

Search ranking is heavily impacted on location. But your average star rating, the total number of reviews, and the recency of reviews all add to the total score and your overall ranking. 

“For years, we collected first-party reviews through a third-party site,” said Steve. But those reviews were only displayed on the Mattress Firm site, not Google. 

After implementing Podium, Mattress Firm added more than 300,000 new reviews to their Google Business Profiles in 2020, increased total reviews by 140%, and even better, increased reviews per location by 214%—boosting local search results for each of the Mattress Firm store locations. 

And even though their average star rating was still high at 4.7 before Podium, within 4 months, they still saw an increase to 4.8 because of all the new positive reviews. 

Key takeaway: win the local search battle with reviews.

Make it easy to start a conversation

90% of consumers prefer to speak with a business via text. The mobile device has become the bridge to customer communication in today’s retail landscape. It’s the key to bringing in more leads and more customers. 

“When people ask—how will your store be more successful? The answer is simple—bring me more customers,” said Steve. That’s exactly what Webcat has done for Mattress Firm. Customers can connect to local associates via Webchat, convert those messages to a text conversation, and then meet the same person they’ve engaged with online—from the comfort of their own home—at their local store an hour later. 

“All of our people receive over 200 hours of training a year on sleep and the products we have—they are super smart and talented to help people get the right product to help them sleep,” said Steve. And that experience improves the customer experience. When customers engage with Mattress Firm via Webchat on their site, it increases the average order value because each customer interaction is more personalized. 

Key takeaway: win locally by connecting local customers with local sales associates.

retail store open

Use SMS marketing to increase shopper engagement 

75% of consumers say they want to receive marketing offers via text message. Text has a higher conversion rate than phone, email, or Facebook. And for local retailers, texting offers great news—consumers are more likely to opt-in to texts from a local business. 

“The ability to personalize the messages going out to customers—based on what they’re interests are—that’s a key thing to keep those text subscribers,” said Steve. But beyond just sending an offer or a special to your opt-in list, texting can offer an opportunity to keep your customers more engaged

“The cool thing to see from our SMS campaigns is the ability to send the text message, and not just offer a coupon or a link to shop online, but the ability to respond to that message. It’s building that connection and enhancing the relationship with the local store,” said Steve. The option for two-way conversation opens up engagement opportunities, especially for local retailers. 

Key takeaway: win locally by creating more opportunities for two-way conversations. 

To hear more insights from the session, check out the full event above or watch here.

Cam Hale
Cam Hale VP of Retail - Podium

Experienced Vice President Sales with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Sales, Management, Business Development, and Venture Capital. Strong sales professional with a B.S. focused in Economics from University of Utah.

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