Placecast: Getting National Retailers on the Local Web

National retailers are increasingly looking to get their local stores into local websites, directories and social and mobile sites. But they are confronting issues such as bad local store listing data, and the challenge of competing with locally-owned stores for social and mobile media awareness, according to a morning panel hosted by Red Door Interactive at its San Diego headquarters.

Members of the panel included ESET VP Dan Clark; Universal Business Listings CEO Doyal Bryant; Citysearch National Sales Manager Michael Tood: and Placecast Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Montgomery.

For national retailers, “the biggest competitor is a locally-owned shop,” notes Placecast’s Montgomery. “Digital Physical” efforts attached to consumer wallets are the way to go.

Because of that, the natural goal for chains like Target is to zero in on what makes the local Target outlet “My Target.” Relevancy is tied to where you are,” says Montgomery. In fact, it is “not just where you are, but the time of day. It means something if it is 8:30 on a Saturday night.

Montgomery suggests that retailers begin to go beyond “no brainer” Website features such as Store locaters and product info and start digging in with video, mobile and SMS. “Mobile web sites are obviously something you need to do in the future,” he says. But in conversations with more than 160 agencies and brands, Placecast has learned that the bug question is: “what do I do in mobile?”

“The objective is to learn as quickly as possible,” says Montgomery. “Don’t just look at clicks. They don’t capture a user’s emotional connections.”

Montgomery suggests that retailers start with short codes and keywords, which have a similar impact as more sophisticated bar codes and scannable coupons, even if they don’t exactly provide “the same rich experience.” What retailers will find is that SMS is “incredibly affordable. You can build that asset right out of the gate,” he says. They’ll also see very high open rates in email from smart phone users. The mobile open rate is 82 percent, and 69 percent open immediately.

Red Door Interactive Headquarters, San Diego

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