In October 2015 I visited Ramesh and Nim Shingadia’s Londis Store at Southwater in West Sussex, took a photograph of the outside of the store and added it to the shop’s location on Google Maps. Since then, I have added 65 other images of stores and other locations to the service.
I was surprised recently to receive a message from Google Maps telling me that the 66 photographs had been viewed one million times.
Three of the images have been view over 120,000 times, including a photo of a display of new season tomatoes grown by one of my former stores’ local producers taken in March 2020.
As part of the Independent Achievers Academy store benchmarking assessment, Newtrade Media has been undertaking a longitudinal research program looking at how stores interact with the internet. Since the first online engagement assessment in 2016, Google Maps has improved dramatically.
Over the past five years Google has invested significantly in Google Maps and the accuracy of information has improved significantly. Alongside this each location has the potential to have much deeper information that can be added. This improves the Google Maps user’s experience when search the website.
In 2016 63.3% of stores that participated in the IAA were in the correct location on Google Maps. This year 100% of the IAA stores have their location pins in the correct place.
In 2016, 35.9% had store opening times shown. This year 98.6% show their trading hours.
Five years ago, 14.1% of stores had added photographs, today 98.6% have done so.
In 2016 just 16.4% had a website added to their information, now that figure is 76.5%.
For independent newsagents and convenience stores, Google Maps has become probably the most important and easiest online site for setting out your offer. Getting your business location fit does take some effort, but it is reasonably simple to do.
- Search for your store address – is the location pin in the correct place and are the details current?
- Have you claimed your business by signing up to Google My Business? If not, do so today.
- Look at the photographs that have been added to the location. Do they represent and promote your store effectively?
- Read the reviews and respond to them.
Google My Business will provide you with valuable data about how people are reacting to changes that you make to your store’s location information. Since 2016 there has been significant progress, but even if you can tick all the boxes today, a regular visit to your Google Maps location will help you ensure that it is remains fit for purpose.