The power of social in reaching local shoppers

Local retailers saw a waft of support during the various lockdown periods, with people keen to support local businesses to keep them afloat. Without being overly cynical, it became a bit of a trend, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The important question is, can it translate into a post-pandemic retail landscape, and what retailers can do to ensure it does for them?

A survey commissioned by NFU mutual & Maybe has revealed 37% of shoppers consider Social Media as one of the main methods of uncovering a new, local retailer. 

Frank Woods, a retail insurance specialist at NFU, said that over a quarter of shoppers increased the amount of business they do with local retailers during the pandemic. 

This is an important finding for less centralised retailers that rely heavily on encouraging local consumers to shop closer to home rather than head into town. It is especially important for those targeting baby boomers or Gen X consumers, for whom heading into a bricks-and-mortar shop might appeal ahead of going online. 

If a local retailer with a quality offering can reach these shoppers in a meaningful way online initially, they can have an impact. It is important for these retailers to consider their options on Social. Building a brand that resonates with the geographic area and the demographic profile of the target group is key. 

Paid Social is one string to the bow to consider here as it enables geographical and demographical targeting Social users browsing at home. When used in conjunction with some sort of in-store offer this can bring new shoppers through the door post-lockdown. 

Implementing a click and collect process for your online offering is a great idea as people are still hygiene conscious. This in turn provides an opportunity to present a high-quality in-store experience that includes upselling capabilities.

It is important to know here that 35-44-year-olds were found to be the most loyal consumer group to their local high street stores, with 74% of them confessing their loyalty.

Once this group has engaged with your physical presence it should be easier to convert them into repeat customers, targeting them with your online offering to provide them with convenient access to your brand. 

YouGov found out last year that 64% of people want to support local businesses. Gekko’s recent survey of predicted post-lockdown consumer behavior found that 35% of respondents said they have bought locally or from an independent store where they would not have done previously. This shift in consumer behavior implies some opportunities for local retailers, but they need to make an initial impact online capturing shoppers as they browse.