Small business owners who have worked hard to create sites, use social media, and proofread info on services like Google Maps should be pleased to know their effort’s likely to pay off. BIA/Kelsey and ConStat have determined that 97 percent of consumers use online media when shopping locally.
As for some specifics, search engine optimization remains a critical matter, considering that 90 percent of consumers use search engines to conduct research. Otherwise, Internet Yellow Pages, comparison shopping sites, and vertical sites are some of the places people are most likely to go.
All in all, though, the study found that folks use an average of 7.9 different media sources when shopping for local products or services, compared to just 6.5 in 2009, so the more places a business’s name can be found online, the better.
Steve Marshall, BIA/Kelsey’s director of research, observed in a statement, "The Internet has indeed become an integral part of consumers’ local commercial activity. The data suggest we’re at an inflection point where the balance of power in local shopping is shifting to online."
A couple of other interesting details: 58 percent of the study’s participants used an online coupon in the past year, and 19 percent of them made an appointment (other than a restaurant reservation) online during the same period.