On a daily basis, people seek for the products or services they need by performing local searches. These searches are focused on finding such results that will be close to the person. This concerns various aspects of businesses such as e.g. the opening hours of a shop, the detailed address with directions, or simply whether a certain product is in stock. Google has conducted a research concerning consumers who use mobile devices for their research process. It has been also aimed at finding the solution and answers to this topic. They have tried to indicate the most popular enquiries people make during their local research, as well as to provide the information on the potential it has for the advertisers. The article is even more interesting, because it distinguishes tablet users from smartphone users. It seems that the intentions and expectations of these two groups are different. On the basis of this research, I will try to analyze what information is important and should be added to a mobile website.


Source: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, Research by Google, May 2014

OK, so what do they search for?

The first vivid conclusion is that the majority of mobile users conduct their search via a search engine. According to Google, 4 in 5 users prefer this way of looking for the local information like product availability or the store address. Google shows that 88% of smartphone users and 84% of tablet and PC users do it by the search engine. However, the research proves that the prospects look for different information than the computer or tablet users. The most frequent enquiries given by smartphone users are the business hours (54%), the directions (53%), and the address (50%), while PC and tablet searches focus on the availability (45%), opening hours (42%), and the local store address (38%). It should not be surprising that when it comes to online shopping, the desktop and tablet devices are more popular.


Source: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, Research by Google, May 2014

Typical Purchase Process

The bigger the screen, the better the presentation of the product. It is easier to view the product, compare it with other brands, or, at last, get through the checkout process. 64% of desktop and tablet users who conducted the local search actually purchased the product or service (compared to only 43% of purchases via smarpthones.


Source: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, Research by Google, May 2014

Similar tendencies are visible when one analyzes the location we use the smartphones at. Most of all, our smartphone is the initial device, we start the research with it. Our decision to conduct the research is impulsive and we are not ready to make a purchase. Most of the searches are performed on-the-go.

mCommerce On the Rise

On the other hand, we cannot underestimate the constantly growing trend of m-commerce. Recent study by eMarketer states that by the end of 2017 the sales within m-commerce (US Retail) should be higher than $100 billion and reach over $108 billion. Furthermore, tablets’ share of US retail mcommerce sales will rise to 71.5%, vs. 27% for smartphones.

Still, the local searches have a significant impact on the actual purchase. Google informs that the prospects react quickly after they finish their research via a smartphone. 50% of consumers who used a smartphone for the research went to the shop to finalize the process by purchasing the product or service (compared to only 34% of desktop and tablet users). What is more, people prefer in-store purchase to online shopping when: they know the store is nearby, they will get it quickly and at better pricing. Additionally, smartphone users are more eager to visit the shop that is within 5 miles from the place they currently are at. Google states that 72% of them actually visit such a store (compared to 66% of desktop and tablet users).


Source: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, Research by Google, May 2014

Bearing in mind all the aspects mentioned above, you should now be aware of the expectations of your mobile prospects when they make searches online. I will also give you advice that is very important when designing the mobile website of your company – you need to look at the problem from the perspective of the online user who seeks for the product or service, the location and the contact information. That is all for now, but stay tuned!

This post was originally published on ActiveMobi.

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