Aimee Costello, Localistico: Local Marketing, Post-COVID Retail and Go Digital

Can you tell us a bit about Localistico and what it does?

Localistico is a local marketing SAS provider. So basically any kind of business that has a physical location, we help them market that physical location to their customers. We help them manage the digital representations of these physical locations.

So if you’ve been to a new city and want to find a cafe, what you normally do is just pick up the phone and Google “cafe near me”. And then you’ll find one that has great reviews and nice photos and tells you about specialty coffee. And then you’d ask for directions, walk there, get there, and then maybe leave a review.

It’s a bit of the basics. So we help the big retail chains run a lot of locations that way to get all the information on those digital platforms and then help market those customers.

I know the pandemic has put a damper on many businesses and many plans have been put on hold. But what have you been doing lately? Are the wheels moving again with your shots?

Yes exactly. Obviously, we are working with people with physical locations, and they have been hit hard by the COVID situation. But it was interesting, because before COVID there was a lot of talk about the death of physical retail. But in fact, what we have realized is that no one wants to sit inside their house and mindlessly order on Amazon. People always want to go to physical places.

The United States is a little further than us in Europe, but we have seen that there is actually 20% more monthly retail sales than before COVID. So we are seeing a growth of these type of physical retail areas. And it’s an opportunity for our clients to capture those people who are excited to go out again. And it also helped us to work with new people.

We are also seeing that our customers are very enthusiastic about digitalization. It has been talked about a lot in the industry for some time. And what we’ve seen is that COVID has meant retailers, especially retailers that have lots and lots of locations, are really looking into local marketing and trying to make it better, more automated, and more digitized. And we think it’s a really big opportunity for us. We are seeing great interest in what we are doing from these type of retailers around the world.

What is the situation with local marketing? Do you see any particular trends appearing there?

It’s quite interesting. Local marketing is kind of a new area. Because if you think of people who work in e-com marketing, they sort of have 10 or 15 years of really innovative digital solutions. And the speed at which people can market their website is pretty amazing and very dynamic.

And the change we’re seeing right now is actually coming from the platforms that work in local marketing. So think of the big ones – your Googles, your Facebook, your Apple, a few others like Foursquare and Yelp – these kinds of platforms. They are really looking to make sure that this local marketing can happen at the same speed as the digital. So they come up with many new ways in which retailers can market their customers.

So your Google and Facebook publish local posts. Google has geo-targeted ads. All of those kinds of things make it an exciting area in terms of what’s going on. And I think that takes it away from your traditional store posters or home billboards and makes it digital, and we think that’s really interesting. And we think it’s a really exciting place, and the best retailers will be the ones who take advantage of these new tools.

Why do you think marketers should consider including local marketing in their strategy? And is it something that would work for all businesses?

I would say everyone should look to local marketing. Google conducted research which found that one in three searches on a mobile phone is the user looking for a place near them. And of those searches, 75% of them end up with the person walking into a store. So it is only customers walking down the street with money in their hands that they are trying to spend. It’s totally different from people who are just browsing online. How often do you go to a website to look at a pair of shoes or a t-shirt? But you’re just watching, aren’t you?

With local marketing we are talking about people in the real world looking to do something. So there is a large cohort of people that businesses can capture. For me, if you have a physical store and you don’t do local marketing or take it seriously, I think you are missing out on a lot of the customers who are looking for you. You don’t have to sell them. They are looking for you. You just need to be there with your best face – a great profile, the right photos, talking to your customers, responding to reviews, etc. – and those customers will come.

What is your opinion on the importance of omnichannel marketing?

I think omnichannel is the way to go. In marketing circles, we have long talked about omnichannel at all levels. What we’ve seen is that retailers who take omnichannel seriously are winning. They attract more customers.

With omnichannel, what you’re really trying to do is create the same experience for your customers, whether they are looking for and buying from you online, or whether they have gone to your store to make a purchase, or that they have had something delivered. at home, or even find something online and go click and collect. These are trips we have all taken. Any retailer who can make those connections seamless, beautiful, and easy, it’s a true omnichannel experience. It shouldn’t be more difficult to find out what’s in your local store than to go online and have it delivered.

This omnichannel journey is also very important for immediacy. We’re used to Amazon bringing us something the next day, which is great. But sometimes you need something the same day and you can pick it up at the local store.

It’s important for retailers to think about how they can take care of their customers and provide them with a joyful experience as they walk through these journeys.

What advice would you give to marketers trying to improve their omnichannel approach?

See local marketing as a revenue driver, and I think it will change their perception of local marketing. Many retailers take their online brand very seriously with social media, for example. But then they don’t post their opening hours, they don’t have nice pictures of their stores. They therefore miss one of the most important points of contact in a consumer’s journey even before accessing an e-com site. It’s a really basic thing and every retailer has to sort through these basic things.

Once you think of local marketing as a source of income, you can start doing some of the most exciting things. So Facebook and Google posts, local ads, messages, response to reviews. A report from Deloitte found that about half of consumers consider reviews before buying anything. Therefore, if you don’t respond to your reviews on Google and Facebook, these people won’t want to buy from you.

I think omnichannel local marketing is a really big piece of the pie. So not doing these things will make it harder for retailers to meet their revenue goals.

Hear more from Aimee Costello at DMWF North America West 2021, where she will participate in a fireside conversation titled “The Rise of Local Marketing and Creating a True Omnichannel Experience”.

Interested in hearing the world’s biggest brands discuss topics like this in person?

Learn more about World Digital Marketing Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Key words: e-commerce, local marketing, Localistico