It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses across the world. As of writing, 42 states in the US have issued shelter-in-place orders. This means fewer customers out and about and fewer customers in your locations. However, some businesses, especially essential services like food service and grocery stores, need to remain open in these difficult times. Customers today are looking to get what they need while reducing human contact. And there’s a lot that businesses are doing to accommodate this new buying model. Some stores have shifted to curbside pickup, where employees can place items directly in the customer’s car, without worrying about human to human contact. Some restaurants are offering takeout and delivery only, or drive-thru if they have it. Australia has completely eliminated the use of paper money, instead employing tap debit and credit cards.
Offering these services can help essential businesses not only survive the current crisis but may actually change the way we conduct business forever. Offering contactless services is simply the first step. How can you make sure your customers know you’re offering these services? Making potential customers aware of your response to these issues is critical to getting customers to patronize your location.
If you use Google Maps often, like we do, you may have seen new search filters in your search: Delivery and Takeout. Google has made it easier than ever for customers to find the contactless services they’re looking for. If customers know that businesses are doing what they can to help them stay safe, then they’ll be more likely to venture out and start making purchases again.
The next step, however, is making sure you show up with the right new tags. If you’re looking for your favorite restaurant, you may have also noticed a new Services update panel. Google has recently implemented this tool to help people find what’s actually available in their area and can be a deciding factor in choosing your business over your competitors. If you haven’t already, update your services on Google Maps: you can do this through Google My Business or suggest the change as a Google user and help out your customers.
This is just one of the many ways Google is serving information to customers faster than ever. Google is constantly updating their platform to provide rich data front and center. This trend is resulting in Zero-Click searches, which you can learn about below.
Whether movement is restricted in your area or not, customers today are less likely to venture out of their homes unless they can quickly and easily get exactly what they’re looking for. New and returning customers may not come to your restaurant unless they know that they’ll like the food. And even your most loyal customers may not come to your store unless they know what they’re looking for is in stock. Google and Google Maps already have a platform where customers can not only find where they’re looking for, but what they’re looking for. Customers can view menus and store inventories right inside Google and Google Maps. Don’t get us wrong, having a robust inventory system on your website is great, but pushing that data to Google can be much more real-time and impactful. Customers, especially new customers, are more likely to search for things on a general search engine than go to multiple single sites. So how are you going to get in front of these customers? You need a way to get all your location information (including Service Updates), all your inventory or menu information, and your contact information in front of customers as quickly as possible.
Refinery Lab is offering a single platform to help you manage your entire Google Maps listing, including inventory, menus and exceptional hours. You can manage all your locations at once, or simply monitor your location managers. This single platform also handles social media, online promotions, as well as ratings and reviews. Ask us today how you can get started optimizing your Google Maps listings for today’s new world.