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Local isn’t just advertising: it continues to expand into a suite of marketing and operational services. It’s not just about helping local businesses acquire new customers; it’s helping them keep customers.

This is concept we’ve examined for a few years, recently formalized as the “Local Commerce Universe.” It includes CRM, loyalty, scheduling and a growing suite of local marketing and operational services.

This will be a central theme at BIA/Kelsey NEXT, and it was also a topic on a recent interview with BIA/Kelsey analyst Abid Chadhry. This is part third and final episode of YPs Influencer Series with Chaudhry (see parts one and two).

Below is an excerpt and you can read the full dialogue here.

YP: Now that you have the marketer’s full attention, what would you be telling them about the future of The Local Commerce Universe?

AC: Right now, I’d suggest keeping a close watch on how consumer search and app use evolve and interact, likely one of the most important trends to track in coming years.

As iOS and Android operating systems evolve and app development gets more advanced,
I expect more app ‘deep linking.’ Links that we see between one webpage and another becoming synonymous with the links that we see between individual apps. In some cases we may see consumers bypassing the web altogether, moving directly to many of these ‘single serve’ channels (apps).

YP: So you expect apps, ‘single serve’ apps or otherwise, will take chunks of the consumer search function?

AC: Absolutely. It would behoove brand marketers to know how to play in this new world. Consumers are going on a guided journey. They seek the best experience over anything else.

On demand services are likely driving some of this partial ‘search bypass to apps’ behavior. Examples – YP local search app for finding a 24-hour plumber. Looking for chicken parmesan right now via Yelp. In these and other cases consumers would be funneled to a specialized app versus a specific search engine results page. While the web and apps will likely co-exist, marketers need to find ways to integrate behaviors and benefit from the rise in apps use on mobile devices.

On the other side, search engines are moving to be more than just a delivery of knowledge, such as integrating ‘buy’ buttons right into query results as Google and others have done. This also gels with Amazon and Pinterest allowing a buy in 2 or 3 click directly from an app. In all cases, possessing the mindset, ‘When users come to us, they can complete transaction within results.’

Read the rest…

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