Why businesses need to stop ignoring the importance of location data

Why businesses need to stop ignoring the importance of location data

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I thought it might be interesting to revisit some of the conversations I’ve had over the last 12 months with Ecommerce/Marketing Directors/CMOs in my capacity as Sales Director of a Local Presence Management (LPM) SaaS, to look at how businesses suffer when they don’t pay enough attention to their local listings data.

Do any of the scenarios outlined sound familiar?

‘The business has just spent over £3M on a Click & Collect program that my team and I have been working on for seven months which has been beset by problems. In particular courier drivers are consistently unable to find our depots despite the continued efforts of the logistics department, who regularly send out email address updates. Maybe it’s their satellite navigation systems that are not working!’

‘I have heard rumors that customers are crucifying our stores in Yorkshire with negative reviews. I don’t know why and I have no idea where these reviews are appearing, or how to engage with these pissed off customers.’

‘My CMO has just given me a bollocking because he’s just had a bollocking from the CEO. The CEO has had a bollocking from his wife because their daughter arrived back home with two puppies, instead of the dress she was supposed to buy for her school dance. The daughter’s explanation being that she “dropped the pin” for one of our North London stores, and the pin placement took her to a traveler camp and not a clothing store. I have no clue how this happened as our data on Google My Business is up to data and correct. I have even checked it myself!”

‘The stores that I closed in Oxford, Hull and Wakefield last May won’t disappear. It appears that they have all taken on a life of their own. They are still ‘living’ on the web despite my best efforts to eradicate them for good. Just for good measure, the store in Hull is now an Adult Shop yet our business data keeps appearing for that address. Not great when you are selling novelty home ware…’

‘I have been asked to compile a report on our consumers purchasing journey to support the £13M integrated brand relaunch campaign proposed for Spring/Summer.  I have no visibility on what happens in the ‘last mile’ of our customer’s journey and how we are performing at a local level.’

‘We were getting reviews posted about our Manchester store from customers complaining about theft. A local newspaper picked this up and got in touch with the reviewers before we did.  Now the story has gone viral and been run by a national newspaper. We have seen footfall plummet and our share price take a beating!’

Any of this sound familiar?

All the above scenarios played out because of inaccurate and invisible store listings location data. What is surprising is that so many businesses that are fantastically well run have a total blind spot when it comes to the ‘last mile’ of their customers purchasing journey. The common misconception is that ‘if I have fixed Google, I have fixed the problem’.

Not so.

Firstly, Google constantly cross references its information against other search engines, directories, social networks and satellite navigation platforms – if the data on those platforms is incorrect, it will eventually hamper your local Google rankings.

Secondly, optimising the visibility of your data is imperative. There are reckoned to be 145+ sites in the UK alone where your listings data can be hosted. Why would you not give your business the best chance of being found?

After all it could mean the difference between a new dress or a couple of puppies!