Neglected online information is costing your brand footfall

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It’s frustrating when opening times are incorrect online over the bank holiday. We've all been there, right? Ever visited a store that's already closed, or make a call to a store that's supposed to be open which goes un-answered?

Over the August bank holiday, DAC Group reviewed whether or not brands would update their opening hours.

When checking the opening hours, we used the brands’ Google My Business (GMB) listings. We checked various brands across a number of verticals on Google and Apple maps, including:

  • Supermarkets
  • Fashion retail
  • Kitchen showrooms
  • Furniture
  • Postal delivery service
  • Gym & leisure
  • Telecoms
  • Hardware retail
  • Auto parts/care

Our findings

Of all the brands we checked, a whopping 85% didn't update their opening hours on search engines, and in some cases, they didn't even update their own website.

This is basic business hygiene and highlights the gap, or lack of synergy, between e-commerce and retail operations.

Verticals which would benefit from bank holiday footfall, specifically kitchen and furniture showrooms, are missing out on a huge opportunity if they keep outdated information online.

Changes in how users search

Our research showed that some brands didn't even have a listing on Apple. According to Google, 20% of mobile searches within their app are by voice – given the number of iPhone’s in the market, this can only mean that Siri is becoming more important.

The stakeholders

We can assume that if you ask any chief executive officer if it is acceptable for their opening hours to be wrong online, they would say absolutely not.

Filter down to the e-commerce team. While this has no bearing on their e-commerce revenue or return on investment targets, nine out of 10 times they control and manage this data.

Go one step further and ask the retail team if this is acceptable and you're likely to start a war between departments. (This could be a good thing – after all, after war comes peace and harmony.)

Not updating opening hours online is no different to having the wrong opening hours on your front door. In fact, it's much worse because a user will have to make the effort of travelling to the store to find it's closed. This can have a hugely negative impact on brand perception.

Management of store information

It isn't easy for brands to manage their local data across numerous platforms, especially when they have over 100 stores.

With local activity being neglected from a digital perspective, it's no surprise that these brands do not respond to local customer reviews. If the data was kept up to date and phone calls answered, it would go some way to protect the brand from negative reviews.

Customer comments and reviews are answered when left on a brand’s Facebook page, but local reviews are often ignored. While this could be down to a lack of visibility, the impact of this on store footfall and revenue can be huge. For instance, a recent study by the Harvard Business School found that a one star increase in reputation can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.

This wall between e-commerce and retail is completely artificial and does not exist in the mind of the consumer. The longer these functions run as silos, the more money is left on the table.

Brands can’t afford to ignore local for too much longer. Local search is here to stay, so the faster brands break down those silos and embrace the local channel, the better.

Mike Fantis is vice president and managing partner of digital agency DAC Group.

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