Reaching Customers on the Go

In order to build a winning online marketing strategy, pet specialty retailers must understand the growing impact of mobile devices.


Mobile devices have taken over our lives—and they are playing a larger role than ever in consumer purchasing. In 2015, for the first time ever, mobile devices are being used more often than desktops or laptops to find information on local products and services. Retailers need to adjust to the new reality. Mobile devices keep gaining in popularity, and if you are not keeping up with the changes, you will lose business to competitors who are.
Consider this: 60 percent of consumers research all of their retail locations and purchases exclusively on their phones and tablets, according to the Local Search Association. What’s more, 78 percent of local mobile searches lead to an offline purchase, says Search Engine Land, a publication that covers all aspects of the search marketing industry. Here are some important things pet specialty retailers need to do to make sure on-the-go shoppers find their businesses.

Get your website redesigned so that it is mobile-friendly.
Google recently changed its algorithm to exclude non-mobile websites from its mobile search results. Dubbed “mobilegeddon,” this change negatively impacts the Google ranking of businesses with websites that aren’t optimized for mobile viewing. Do not miss out on valuable search traffic—a mobile-responsive website is now a must.

Use Google’s free tools to improve your online visibility.
Last year, Google’s “Pigeon” update made changes to local search results, and as a result, local optimization is more important than ever. Google offers tools such as analytics and webmaster tools to help small-business owners increase their online visibility and improve their local SEO. Make use of them.

Ensure that your business is listed in high-ranking directories.
Potential customers might be searching for “pet supplies” or “pet store” combined with their neighborhood or city, and perhaps “reviews” or “best.” Do various Google queries to determine which directories come up first, and then make sure that your business profile is favorable on those sites. (Hint: Yelp is likely one of the highest.)

It has become mandatory for small businesses to upgrade their online presence to accommodate searches from mobile devices. And, with wearable devices gaining in popularity, the importance of mobile optimization will only grow. Start making mobile-friendly changes today if you haven’t already.

Retailers can get insights about online marketing and other up-to-date strategies for running a thriving pet business at SuperZoo, The National Show for Pet Retailers, August 1 – 4, 2016, in Las Vegas. SuperZoo offers the best educational program in the industry, with more than 80 seminars and workshops to help you operate more efficiently and more profitably. It is the most valuable business opportunity of the year, so start planning your attendance today. And check out SuperZoo’s new, mobile-friendly website at  PB

Doug Poindexter is president of the World Pet Association.

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