Customers search for nearby products and businesses when planning where to shop.
Uberall Inc. revealed the results of its first annual “Near Me Shopping Report.” Uberall commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 smartphone users across the U.S. to understand their “near me” preferences and behavior. The study was done between July 23-27, 2018.
According to Google, mobile “near me” searches – localized mobile searches for brands and products close by – have increased by 200%. Uberall’s “Near Me Shopping Report” examines what that means for consumers. Findings are as follows.
Some 69% use their smartphone to help them shop, according to the results. When asked how they typically use their smartphone to help them shop, the top-five responses included: 1) researching products (63%); 2) price comparison (62%); 3) search for coupons or deals (56%); 4) check for store hours (54%), and 5) find nearby store locations (52%).
“Smartphones have become the go-to research companion for consumers,” said Josha Benner, CRO and co-founder of Uberall Inc. “For all the talk of mobile displacing brick-and-mortar shopping, our data finds that these devices are hugely supportive of in-store foot traffic. Checking hours and finding nearby locations were two of the most popular use cases from respondents.”
When asked if respondents have ever tried a “near me” search on their mobile devices 82% said “yes.” Only 18% have not. Among millennials, “near me” adoption was even greater, at 92% versus 8%.
“Near me searches have exploded, with more consumers prioritizing proximity over brand loyalty,” added Benner. “The shift is also being driven by changes in consumer behavior, with more people opting to keep GPS and location services on while using their devices. Years ago, this would have killed your battery. That’s not the case anymore. As a result, more consumers are taking advantage of proximity-based searches. This is an opportunity for brands and marketers.”
Food ‘Near Me’
When asked what they typically use “near me” searches for, 84% said food. Rounding out the top-five were entertainment (56%); banking (50%); apparel (41%); and personal care (38%).
“The restaurant and quick-service industry sees a lot of ‘near me’ searches,” added Benner. “This makes sense given how proximity-based eating is as a behavior. It will likely always hold the top spot. However, ‘near me’ searches for the other four categories in the top-five will only increase in the future.”
When asked to rank “specific retailer or store ‘near me’ searches,” “general product ‘near me’ searches and “specific brand ‘near me’ searches,” the top response was “a specific retailer or store.” Forty-eight percent ranked it first. This includes searches like “Foot Locker near me.” Generally searching for a product (e.g., “Where can I buy toys near me”) was the runner-up with 29%, followed by searching for a specific brand (e.g., “Where can I buy Nike near me”) at 23%.
“It’s not surprising that many ‘near me’ searches start with a specific retailer or store in mind,” added Benner. “But nearly 30% of these searches — and growing — are generic and serendipitous. That means marketers need to build a search strategy that lures in-market shoppers who may not be directly seeking them out and are, instead, looking for a product or category.”
Searches Target Proximity
Respondents were asked, after completing a ‘near me’ search, how likely they were to click on the first two to three search results they saw. Sixty percent said they were “very likely” to do so, with another 33% saying “somewhat likely.” In total, 93% said they were likely to click on the first set of results. Alternatively, 5% percent said they weren’t sure and just 2% said they wouldn’t likely click.
“With huge growth in ‘near me,’ brands and marketers need to adapt to this new front door,” said Benner. “Searches are becoming more proximity and location-based. And what has been true for general organic search holds true for local search — whoever shows up first and in the top set of results will win the day. So, it’s important to optimize local presences online to meet that shift and deliver against demand.”
Uberall is a location marketing solution company.