As businesses start to open up again, customers will turn to Google Search and Maps for information regarding opening hours and accurate location information. Google My Business has been a powerful tool for local businesses to keep their customers up to date during a year of uncertainty.
Google My Business has evolved rapidly since January 2020 – introducing new and enhanced features, adapting to COVID-19, and has fixed several bugs. The main new features were related to COVID-19, enabling local businesses to communicate with their customers about safety and health attributes, as well as adding special opening hours to mention two.
During the global pandemic, we have helped our customers update their special business hours and share information about special arrangements and offerings. We have also continuously conveyed information regarding the health and safety measures the businesses have applied due to COVID-19. We helped our customers gain a strong and trustworthy online presence in a time where the digital presence of local businesses became essential.
Another great improvement in 2020 was the direct edit experience, which made it much easier for managers of Google My Business to edit a profile directly in Google Search. In addition to this, Google kicked off the new year with updated and improved insights and performance reporting. The performance reporting now includes metrics describing how consumers have discovered listings and their interaction in the profiles.
In 2021, Google will continue making moves in the local landscape. They will continue to develop and improve the consumer experience by encouraging fewer clicks and faster conversions, creating a smoother customer journey than ever.
Adapting to the new norms
It is safe to say that consumer behavior patterns changed significantly during 2020 due to COVID-19. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with shopping online and e-commerce, and this is expected to grow even further this upcoming year. E-commerce is growing around the globe, and it is primarily being driven by consumers using their mobile devices.
With more commerce happening in the digital landscape, consumers are expecting to be able to interact with the brand holistically. This means that the expected customer journey becomes less linear, making the customer experience excellent at all touchpoints online. For local businesses, the Google My Business-profile will be a crucial part of the mobile experience.
According to a study by McKinsey, businesses will need to adapt their strategies to the new norms, influenced by consumer behavior. The key-takeaways to consider were the following:
- Adjust efforts and spend to where the consumers are now; online. Go digital and make sure your online presence is top-notch.
- The need for hygiene transparency is increasing and will continue to be an important source of concern for consumers.
- Better communication of availability. Consumers are now switching brands at a fast pace due to new shopping behavior as a response to economic struggle, store closings, and changing priorities. The information about availability is currently the strongest driver of new brand purchases.
These new norms increase the importance of a local appearance online and an accurate flow of information. We will continue to manage and grow our customer’s Google My Business-profiles by active management and continuity. In need of help with shaping your online presence? Do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will be happy to share our expertise!