Mind your business: Our top local search columns of 2017

Local SEO practitioners have an increasingly important role to play in the digital marketing mix as searches with local intent continue to grow at a fast pace — particularly on mobile devices. Google has responded to this shift in consumer behavior accordingly, releasing several updates in 2017 that have allowed business owners to enhance their local listings.

This year, our readers seemed especially interested in learning more about new Google My Business features, particularly Google Posts, Questions and Answers and the new website builder. This interest may reflect increased competition for a limited number of spots in the local pack: When all of your local competitors have the basics down, utilizing new and advanced features is a great way to make your business listing stand out.

Although articles about Google dominated the top local search columns this year, there was one notable exception, by Local Search Association’s Wesley Young, that focused on how Facebook is solidifying its place in the local search ecosystem. Young’s column provided a compelling case for expanding your local marketing efforts beyond Google’s local pack.

Top honors this year go to Joy Hawkins’s excellent and thorough coverage of Google’s “Hawk” algorithm update, which impacted how local listings are filtered based on their proximity to similar businesses.

Wondering what else local search marketers were excited about this year? Check out our top 10 most popular Local Search columns for 2017:

    August 22, 2017: The day the “Hawk” Google local algorithm update swooped in by Joy Hawkins, published on 9/8/2017.Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search by Sherry Bonelli, published on 2/9/2017.5 ways you can improve your new business’s visibility on Google Maps by Wesley Young, published on 2/27/2017.7 unannounced updates to Google My Business we’ve seen in 2017 by Joy Hawkins, published on 5/18/2017.Hyperlocal marketing will soar in 2017: 5 tips to stay on top by Jim Yu, published on 2/21/2017.Google My Business website builder SEO review by Tony Edward, published on 6/27/2017.3 local SEO tips that deliver business results by Ryan Shelley, published on 2/7/2017.Do Google Posts impact ranking? A case study by Joy Hawkins, published on 11/2/2017.7 changes by Facebook that make it a real local search player by Wesley Young, published on 6/19/2017.6 business types that reap the most reward from local SEO by Pratik Dholakiya, published on 2/20/2017.

Google brings local lead generation to Google Assistant and Google Home

Google is bringing new forms of local search to the Google Assistant and Google Home. The company announced it’s working with local home service providers “like HomeAdvisor and Porch.”

On any platform where Google Assistant is available, users will be able to ask for contractors (e.g., “Ok Google find me a plumber”). That initiates a structured interaction which generates a lead or contact with a local service provider.

In the case of IAC-owned HomeAdvisor, which now also owns Angie’s List, users can ask to be connected by phone at the end of the process to a contractor or receive a list of relevant, pre-screened contractors. The following graphic depicts part of the user experience and the structured Q&A that’s used to refine the lead.

This is a highly structured local search and lead-generation experience that will bypass conventional search results (i.e., business listings). Google said the new functionality would be rolling out in the next week or so.

Google itself offers local lead generation for contractors and service providers with Local Services ads that appear in search results. What’s unclear is how providers from HomeAdvisor, Porch (and perhaps Google) will be prioritized or presented for a given query.

In its blog post, Google didn’t say anything about its own advertisers or how many third-party directories might eventually be involved. There’s also no word on whether Google will collect a share of the lead price or any sort of “toll” otherwise.

Currently, if you ask Google Home for a local service provider (e.g., “I need a house painter”) you’ll get three “thin” listings with address information but little else. The coming experience will supplant that, offering a more personalized result based the specific request and subsequent information provided.

Because it’s not yet live, we don’t know how well it will work. It has the potential to be effective both for the consumer and the contractor. Generally speaking, this is going to be bottom-of-the-funnel activity.

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Google home services ads program rebrands, expanding to 30 cities by end of 2017

Google is rebranding and rolling out its advertising and verification for local service providers that launched in beta in 2015 as Google Home Services. Now known as Local Services by Google, the program has expanded to 17 US cities with plans to be in 30 cities by year-end, Google announced Tuesday.

Service providers can manage their campaigns and appointments through a new Local Services app, available on iOS and Android, rather than via AdWords Express. Businesses can control the number of leads they receive through the program by pausing and enabling their ads in the app. A personalized profile page shows reviews, contact info and unique aspects about the business. Ratings can come via Google My Business or from leads received through the program. Those reviews can then be verified by Google.

Providers can manage leads and requests throughout the day in the Local Services app.

Instead of the the typical bidding auction, leads are priced by Google for each job type in each area. Businesses can see the price of a lead when they sign up in the app. Product Director for Small and Medium Business Ads Kim Spalding said in a phone interview Monday that the pricing is based on “balancing what we know about cost of jobs and overall demand.”

Advertisers set a weekly budget determined by the number of leads they want to receive. Google won’t say specifically what factors go into the rankings in the ad unit, but Spalding said there’s a focus on quality (ratings and reviews), the ability to connect right away, location and a number of other factors.

The results appear on desktop and mobile for services categories locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC and garage door services are covered in all of the current cities, which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, and the California cities of Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Some of those cities also have additional categories such as handyman and house cleaning services. The program was in just five metro areas as of July.

Three Google Local Services ads appear at the top of desktop search results for “plumber Philadelphia.”

The ad units launched on mobile in 2016.

The current iteration on mobile shows two results at the top. Clicking the “More” button leads to a page to enter more details about the job.

Businesses that want to participate need to go through a verification process. Each employee goes through a background check. Spalding says it takes about two weeks to sign up and get certification. Each verified business gets the Google guarantee badge that ensures Google will cover claims up to the job invoice amount if a customer is unsatisfied with the work.

Spalding says they’ve found users prefer the speed of calling to messaging for more urgent types of jobs. In these cases, the ads will often show with just the phone option. Others include both phone and messaging options. Users can also submit lead forms through the service.

Google is competing with several other players in the local services space, including Amazon and Angie’s List.

Facebook third-party partnerships bring huge trove of used car listings to Marketplace

Facebook launched its classifieds Marketplace in October 2016 and has been building out content, categories and geographies since then. Yesterday the company announced major new third-party deals to bring more used car inventory into Marketplace.

The company named partnerships with Edmunds, Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global and SOCIALDEALER. In the Edmunds case alone, that represents 4,000 local car dealers and 330,000 listings.

The tools and functionality in Marketplace allow car buyers to:

search and browse car inventory (now including these local dealers).filter by key criteria (year, model and so on).interact with dealers through Facebook Messenger.

In addition to autos, Marketplace categories include housing, jobs, deals, tickets and products (shops). There’s no public data on user numbers or transactions, but Marketplace clearly has the potential to be a major player and source of leads and volume for key classifieds categories. It’s not a threat to eBay at this point but could be in the not-too-distant future.

Facebook launched Marketplace for SMB and peer-to-peer sellers but has expanded to include enterprise sellers, as the automotive partnerships illustrate.

Target expands voice-commerce relationship with Google to battle Amazon

Google announced nationwide expansion of its Google Express relationship with Target. Users in the Continental US will now be able to buy from Target through the Google Assistant and receive Google Express delivery. The voice-commerce relationship extends to Google Home devices.

Features and capabilities are nearly identical to those announced in August with Walmart. And while the deal isn’t yet fully operational, ultimately you’ll be able to:

order and reorder from Target with free shipping on orders exceeding $35.opt in for personalized recommendations (as an existing Target customer) and a “quick re-order experience based on past Target purchases.”shop on any device (including Android TV) where the Google Assistant is available.

Google is doing battle with Amazon on multiple fronts, and so are its Google Express retail partners. Google sees voice-based shopping from an array of branded retailers as a point of differentiation vs. Amazon. By the same token, retailers need to make themselves accessible through virtual assistants and smart speakers. There’s an alignment of interests, creating an anti-Amazon alliance of sorts.

A recent ad campaign for Google Express promotes the notion of “all your favorite stores in one place.” In addition to Target and Walmart, the service offers access to Kohl’s, Joann, Sur la Table, Walgreens, Staples, Toys R Us and numerous others.

Target is a top 10 e-commerce site, but it badly lags Amazon, and it has no voice-commerce capability today. It’s wise for Target to work with Google to leverage the latter’s distribution. However, the question in my mind is: Will Google retail partners like Target benefit in a meaningful way from these deals, or will they eventually turn into little more than suppliers for Google Express?

Markets with home service ads: Service-area businesses are coming back to the local results

After my column about Home Service Ads came out last week, I got a message from Google with some great news. They told me two things:

    Google plans to add pure service-area businesses (SABs) back into the local results — this includes home-based businesses.The disappearance of results for home-based businesses in markets without Home Service Ads was due to a bug (not intentional), which Google says should be resolved soon.

So, almost a year after deciding to remove service-area businesses from the local results, I’m starting to see that Google is adding them back.

Here is an example of a search result I spotted this morning.

A few days ago, it looked like this (Notice how every listing has a directions icon — meaning the address is showing on the listing):

Although owners of service-area businesses will be extremely excited about this change, service-area businesses aren’t the only listings returning to the local results.

The return of spam

One of the good things about Google’s decision to take SABs out of the results was that it eliminated the majority of spammy listings (but definitely not all of them). Looking at this one example, one of the listings that just returned to the local results is a keyword-stuffed duplicate for a business that already has a listing in a neighboring city — they are not allowed two. Their listing in the neighboring city is also using an address that doesn’t exist.

I recently shared at the State of Search event how I got 17 of the 28 home security business listings removed from the local results in one market — as they weren’t eligible for listings on Google My Business — after I combed through the competitors of a client of mine.

Spam is, unfortunately, alive and well.

The return of other junk

Not all the results that don’t qualify for a listing are necessarily “spam.” The term “spam” connotes that there is malicious intent. (“I know about the guidelines, and I don’t care that I’m breaking them because I want more business.”)

For example, one of the three listings that returned in this example has no phone number, no address and no website.

This listing shouldn’t be on Maps at all, but it just replaced some other legit business in the 3-pack because Google likes to rank businesses with keywords in business, despite the fact that keyword stuffing is against the Google My Business guidelines.

I find it intriguing that this is the second major thing Google changed at the end of last year that has now reverted to be more similar to the way it was originally.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

Last May, Google introduced the ability to find out if a local retailer had specific products in stock right from the knowledge panel listing for the retailer. Now, it’s dedicating a whole lot more real estate to the feature.

Glenn Gabe, digital marketing consultant at G-Squared Interactive, tweeted a look at the update. Below are a couple of examples. It’s available on both mobile and desktop and goes well beyond the simple “Search items at this store link” that Google originally showed. A large section includes a search box, product category links and large product listings. On mobile, users can swipe through a carousel of product listings.

The feature is part of the Local Inventory Ads product, which enables retailers to promote products available in their locations via inventory feeds submitted to Google. The links and search results lead to Google Shopping pages.

Google is also running a test to show relevant text ads in knowledge panel listings for local businesses.

Optimized store landing pages: An important part of local search strategy

If you’re a business which has brick-and-mortar store locations, you may know that having a local search strategy is crucial to your business. Most business owners are aware that building a local search presence requires having profiles on Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, etc., so that you may show up for local search queries and build local search relevance. Having a presence on these local directory/profile sites is definitely a core part of local search marketing.

Just as important is listing each of your business locations on your website. However, I’ve noticed that many businesses do not have landing pages for each of their store locations, which is a missed opportunity to further build local search relevance and rankings.

Each brick-and-mortar location presents an opportunity to highlight information that is specific to the store and its surrounding area. It also gives you the potential to outrank other local directory/profile sites such as Yelp, which as business owners you don’t have full control over.

Here are two examples. Both Party City and Dick’s Sporting Goods are doing an excellent job of building and optimizing store location pages — and as you can see below, those local landing pages outrank Yelp results. The Yelp profiles have low ratings, which is not something you want appearing in a top position.

Notice that they both have a location Knowledge Graph panel appearing in search results, along with multiple location landing pages. This is, in my opinion, the ideal user experience you want for your store locations. It increases the chances of your website getting the search traffic rather than a third-party site like Yelp.

Examples of optimized store landing pages

Let’s take a look at how Party City and Dick’s Sporting Goods optimized their store landing pages.

Party City

Party City has a plethora of content on their store location pages. They not only make it easy for users to navigate and find their store locations, but also include relevant content that is benefiting them in organic search.

These location landing pages have optimized page titles, meta descriptions and headers, as well as keyword targeted content. They have great social integration, highlighting their Instagram and Facebook profiles via widgets. These pages also exist within a logical hierarchy of pages, as evidenced by their URL structure: http://stores.partycity.com/nj/northbergen/party-store-pc711.html

Party City also leverages structured data markup from Schema.org to provide search engines with local content in a structured format.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s local landing pages are also very SEO- and user-friendly. In addition to optimized copy and prominently displayed store information, these pages also highlight specific services that are offered at each store location. Weekly Ads that feature sales, offers and events are included, too.

Similar to Party City, Dick’s leverages structured data markup on their local landing pages. In this case, they have employed the SportingGoodsStore schema.

Recommendations for optimizing store landing pages

If you’re ready to take the next step in your local search optimization and build store landing pages, here are some best practices to follow:

    Ensure store landing pages maintain the same user experience, layout and design as the rest of your site. The navigation in the header and footer should be the same so users can easily navigate to other sections of the site.Pages should be mobile friendly at minimum and fully mobile optimized at best.Ensure keyword targeting is done for page titles, meta descriptions, body content, headers and images.Avoid keyword stuffing and fluffed content. Write for users. Avoid boilerplate content and instead write unique content about each location.Include a map embed, nearby store locations, store hours, address and contact information, etc.Include helpful features like “text to mobile” and “get directions.”Incorporate structured data markup from Schema.org such as LocalBusiness, Store, DepartmentStore, etc.Ensure store pages live within a logical site hierarchy. Example: Store Finder > State > City/Town > Store Location PageInclude content that is helpful to users such as:Events (be sure to leverage Event schema markup).Coupons and sales.Names and photos of managers and employees — for example, Ethan Allen highlights its design team at each location on their store landing pages.Videos of the store location.Photos of the outside and inside of the store.Testimonials or reviews of the store.Include social media profile widgets or buttons as well as social sharing buttons.Ensure store landing pages are included in your XML Sitemap (or, create a specific XML Sitemap for only store pages), and submit the sitemap to both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

6 tips for using location information to boost conversion

While much deserved attention is given to local SEO and SEM, showing up in search results is only half the job.

Google performed a study that demonstrated very little correlation between usage or traffic and influence. In other words, just because people frequently find your business doesn’t mean they choose your business or buy from your business. Rather, influence is achieved through consumer experience and matching your content to what consumers need or are looking for.

Conversion takes more than attracting attention — it requires engagement or connection with the consumer and matching what you are offering with what the consumer is looking for. More often than not, consumers look for location information when considering local stores to purchase from.

Local search conversion starts with location

In a study by MomentFeed, national brands report that 85 percent of all engagement with their businesses takes place on local media assets such as local landing pages. Local business characteristics drive conversion, whether for large brands or small businesses.

Arguably, the biggest local factor for consumer decisions when shopping at stores is location. In a national consumer study (registration required) on how far consumers would travel to shop, Access found that 93.2 percent of consumers typically travel 20 minutes or less when shopping for everyday purchases. Urban consumers (83 percent of all shoppers) prefer even shorter distances, with 92 percent usually traveling 15 minutes or less.

Distance was a far greater influence than price or quality of product. When asked what influences purchases, excluding travel distance, only 32 percent responded that best price most influenced their decision. Thirty-two percent likewise stated quality was the most influential.

Consumers also shortened the distance they are willing to travel for the most frequently purchased items, averaging only six minutes away from home for gas stations. Groceries and fast food may be slightly farther, averaging between eight and nine minutes, while home and garden and auto service average about 14 minutes away from home. Consumers tolerate the greatest distance for purchases of clothing and shoes, averaging almost 20 minutes from home.

Consumer Travel Distance for Local Purchases (Source: Access)

Converting time consumers are willing to travel into miles is a little more difficult. There are a lot of variables such as traffic, mode of travel and roadway speeds. For example, highway access would extend the distance someone would be willing to travel, while someone in an urban neighborhood might use walking time as their standard.

Nevertheless, below are some measurements of distance based on time of travel by car per Google Maps. The travel is via direct routes on major roads (not highways) during a time of day with little traffic:

6 minutes = 2.2 miles8 minutes = 3.2 miles9 minutes = 4.1 miles12 minutes = 4.9 miles17 minutes = 6.6 miles20 minutes = 9.3 miles

Time to Distance Conversion (Google Maps)

The results from Access provide greater insight into consumer tolerance for distance than the oft-cited (but of unknown origin) statistic that 80 percent of consumer spending is made within 20 miles of home. And it shows that consumers often want stores closer than even Google’s study found, wherein 72 percent of consumers searching locally visited a store within 5 miles.

Thus, we can estimate that consumers search for local businesses such as groceries, coffee shops, convenience stores, pharmacies, dry cleaners, gyms, household goods, mail/shipping services and gas stations that are within two to four miles of their location.

Given the importance of location to converting local search results into purchases, below are six tips for using location information to boost your local search marketing. If you’re interested in how to use location data for targeting, check out this previous article. The following tips focus on communicating location information that consumers seek when deciding where to shop.

1. Make location information easy to find

It’s easy to overlook the importance of making location information prominent on web pages or landing pages when designing creatives and content about your product or service. Especially with the current trend of large singular hero graphics and the need to accommodate mobile screen size, choices are frequently made on what content to keep and what to cut on the front page or above the fold.

Location is too critical an influence on consumer choice to sacrifice in those choices. Addresses, maps and cross streets that communicate your store location should be highly visible. If not on page one, conspicuous labels linking to location information need to be easy to find.

2. Use local landing pages for businesses with multiple locations

For multilocation businesses, it’s typical to have a dedicated page listing different locations with addresses, contact information and hours of each. However, with 85 percent of engagement occurring on local media assets, each location should have its own landing page, too.

Each location should have its own GMB (Google My Business) profile, Facebook page, website or landing page, Yelp listing and page/listing/profile on any other media platform on which the business relies. This will allow each to highlight maps, addresses, neighborhood and other location information relevant to itself.

3. Describe location in ways different audiences understand

While addresses are important, they may not communicate sufficient information for a user to quickly evaluate proximity. For example, even though I travel Preston Road frequently, an address of 1428 Preston Road doesn’t mean much to me. Preston Road is 30 miles long and traverses through Dallas, Texas, and the suburbs of Plano, Frisco and Prosper.

Including what neighborhood a store is in, the closest cross streets, what corner on the cross street (NW, SE and so on), and other recognizable nearby stores (e.g., Kroger shopping center) all help the consumer picture where a store is relative to what they know about the area.

4. Highlight proximity to popular landmarks

Since time and distance are frequently used to evaluate the convenience of a location, include those measurements in describing your location. For example, stating that your store is “five minutes from downtown Plano” or “half a mile off the Tollway” helps consumers digest location information quickly.

A significant portion of local business revenue (up to 33 percent) comes from out-of-town visitors. Not only are these visitors less familiar with the surrounding area, they are likely to visit certain destinations and then search locally for stores around them. Thus, describing your location relative to these tourist landmarks can help as well.

5. Location descriptions don’t have to be static

Since your store location is fixed, it’s easy to treat your location information the same (set it and forget it). However, today’s targeting methods allow businesses to reach different audiences with different campaigns and landing pages.

These different audiences will find different location information helpful, so tweaking your location information to fit those audiences will improve the response to your marketing. For example, when targeting locals, you might describe the proximity of your store to certain well-known neighborhoods such as, “located in Stonebridge Ranch,” a community in McKinney, Texas. On the other hand, ads targeting fans at a soccer game can reference proximity to the Toyota Stadium, while ads during Cowboys training camp can provide distance from The Frisco Star.

Use landmarks and proximity that will most resonate with your audience at the time your ads are served.

6. Use interactive maps

Maps are great, but static maps are limited in what is communicated. Zoom out too far, and it’s hard to illustrate precise location; zoom in too close, and you may lose context of what area of town you are in.

Interactive maps that don’t open in a separate app or window help the user stay on your page yet be able to adjust the map to the detail they need.

Closing thoughts

Consumers want to shop at stores near them. Younger consumers are even less tolerant of traveling long distances for everyday purchases — the Access study found that millennials were 16.4 percent less likely to travel more than 20 minutes for purchases. Thus, consumers will increasingly search for stores close to them. Target with and highlight relevant location information, and you’ll get a big boost in ROI from your local search marketing.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

How local businesses can turn the threat of on-demand deliveries to their own advantage

As a digital marketer, you have to stay on your toes. It sometimes feels like new market disruptions have become an annual rite of passage. What were once generational, seismic changes are now just the normal order of business.

The latest development in a long line of digital commerce revolutions is the emergence of on-demand delivery. Like any disruptive change, on-demand apps have created a lot of anxiety for brands and their local stores. Is this technology a threat to localized businesses, or an opportunity to improve brand engagement and drive customer loyalty?

Amazon leads another digital revolution

You have Amazon to thank for the current fervor whipping up around on-demand delivery. While Uber Eats, Instacart and Soothe, among others, laid the foundation for this change, Amazon will likely be the company to catapult on-demand local services into the wider consumer consciousness. The e-commerce giant’s recently announced plan to acquire supermarket chain Whole Foods signals a radical change in the way consumers buy and receive groceries.

Although grocery delivery services are nothing new, having one of the biggest and most innovative names in e-commerce throw their hat into the ring should put the industry on notice that some major developments are underway. After all, this is the same company that’s been experimenting with drone delivery for years.

If Amazon does indeed grab the torch from the Instacarts of the world, consumers are likely to follow right along. At that point, on-demand apps will cease being fringe consumer channels and become the new status quo.

Are on-demand apps a threat to localized businesses?

If this does come to pass, local businesses will be rightfully concerned about what that all means for them. The problem’s not restricted to supermarkets, either. On-demand services could dramatically change things for any brand that operates localized store fronts. They’ve already had to weather the rise of e-commerce, but if on-demand delivery becomes the new normal, they may see foot traffic dry up entirely — that’s the fear, anyway.

But before we all throw up our hands and claim the sky is falling, perhaps we should be viewing the situation in a different light. Local stores may be able to capitalize on the emergence of on-demand services and use them to drive customer engagement.

Drive brand engagement with on-demand services

Businesses need to stay agile to compete in the omni-channel marketplace. We’ve seen this with the rise of e-commerce: Brands that embraced digital channels and facilitated the customer journey through them not only survived but thrived in this new environment. That’s because they were able to provide customers more options to deliver products and services, allowing the consumer to dictate the terms of brand engagement. As we’ve seen through eMarketer’s research, customer priorities are shifting away from differentiators like low prices in favor of service quality.

The on-demand economy takes this sentiment a step further by allowing customers to receive products they purchase over a digital channel to arrive in their hands within mere minutes. Cutting a trip to a physical store out of the equation may make brands nervous, but for the customer, this is an incredible development. Businesses that take the lead and openly embrace on-demand delivery will associate themselves with convenience and speed — and that’s great for your brand. If you want loyal customers, show them you’re not afraid to meet them on their terms and provide them the level of service they demand.

On-demand delivery also removes many otherwise unavoidable obstacles to in-store sales. When it’s pouring rain and you have nothing to make for dinner, do you take a trip to the grocery store or pull into the McDonald’s drive-thru? No, you order a pizza and let someone else brave the elements. Inclement weather, traffic and family obligations frequently prevent customers from visiting stores. On-demand delivery allows stores and brands to net those otherwise lost sales by bringing products straight to the customer.

Extend your reach into new markets

Your local stores can only reach so many customers. People residing just outside their immediate vicinity may be unwilling to make a longer trip to those stores when there are similar alternatives nearby. On-demand delivery allows stores to broaden their footprint by providing services to consumers outside of their traditional territory. If your brand is offering on-demand services while competitors are still dragging their feet, who’s the consumer going to choose? Even if your brand’s store is farther away, customers are more likely to opt for fast, convenient delivery than to make a trip to a competitor’s brick-and-mortar shop.

With on-demand services, local stores can stretch their distribution capabilities to tap into surrounding markets, drastically expanding their potential customer base.

It’s still money in your pocket

Even with the benefits outlined above, there may be obstacles in sharing revenue between local stores and full-time delivery people or even independent contractors. Don’t think of it as cannibalizing your sales, though. On-demand delivery is an additive channel, supplementing traditional brick-and-mortar stores with another arm to provide products to consumers. Although brands may need to funnel some of those sales to a third-party delivery service, it’s still an added revenue stream that will prop up both local stores and the overall brand.

At the end of the day, if you stand on the sidelines and take a wait-and-see approach to on-demand services, you’re essentially leaving money on the table. Now that the big boys like Amazon have gotten involved, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes part of daily business operations.

I suggest getting ahead of this change, embracing it, and making it work for you. You can’t fight the future, and as we’ve seen, you either roll with the changes or you get left behind in the dust.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.