Today’s consumer is armed with a smartphone in hand, and it’s their go-to resource for information on the products and services they need. Nearly half of all Google queries today are ‘near me’ searches for products and services in the local area, and as a result, the rules of customer engagement have radically changed.

In this new commercial landscape, consumers aren’t relying on brand recognition alone. Google reports that nearly 9 out of 10 shoppers aren’t absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they start looking online on their smartphones. Consequently, a retailer’s online business listing is often the first touchpoint in the customer journey. Yet, many retailers have inaccurate or incomplete information in their online business listings, or aren’t even listed in the key online directories for their target market. 

Most retailers know that Google My Business listings are vital to online presence – with Google garnering 87% of the UK search engine market share in 2019 – and at a minimum, have established a business listing on Google and one or two well-known platforms like Facebook and Bing. But many are unaware of the reach of other online directories that may be lesser known, but still crucial to connecting with the right customer.  

To avoid losing out, here’s a list of the top five business directories UK retailers should be targeting:

Apple Maps

Apple iOS is the most commonly used mobile operating system in the UK. With Apple Maps as its native map application, it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most popular apps in the UK, boasting 9 million monthly unique visitors. Businesses that register on Apple Maps Connect can include their company’s website URL, as well as their Facebook, Twitter and Yelp profiles.

Why Apple Maps is an important directory for retailers:

  • The disposable income for Apple iOS users is typically higher than that of Android Users
  • Retailers can reach iPhone, iPad and MacBooks users
  • Retailers can optimise for Siri (voice search)
  • Apple Maps is more commonly used by consumers looking to purchase at a particular location now
  • Apple Maps has global consumer reach, with 1.4 billion active Apple devices worldwide

Yelp

Yelp has a high domain authority and is one of the most utilised business review sites in the world. It’s also a popular community-based review forum, hosting over 184 million reviews in 2019. Yelp for Business Owners is free to sign up for and also has analytics tools which can help your business to see how many clicks, calls and page visits your Yelp pages are receiving.

Why Yelp is an important directory for retailers:

  • 1.2 million monthly unique UK visitors
  • Yelp’s high domain authority can influence your SEO rankings
  • Users visit Yelp when they are looking to make a purchase
  • Yelp powers the voice search assistant Alexa and Bing
  • SurveyMonkey found that 97% of people searching on Yelp spend money with a business they find on the platform

Scoot

Scoot is one of the directories fed by Scoot Network, which operates the largest online-only business directory network in the UK, with a network of over 400 websites. Around 2 million businesses are registered on Scoot and registration is free. The directory allows consumers to review, rate and recommend local businesses and services.

Why Scoot is an important directory for retailers: 

  • Scoot Network powers the business directories for Touch Local, The Independent, The Sun and The Mirror 
  • All your business data is uploaded to the Central Index 
  • In addition to the basics (name, address, phone number), retailers can include payment methods, testimonials, reviews, map location, special offers, and social media profiles 
  • Retailers gain visibility on multiple search websites, covering broad demographics

Waze

You may know Waze as a navigation app that’s great at finding alternate routes around traffic jams, and provides crowd-sourced, real-time information about road works and even debris on the motorway. For businesses, it’s a powerful tool for local marketing — enabling them to connect with drivers on-the-go who are looking for local businesses in the vicinity. 

Why Waze is an important UK directory

  • Over 2 million users in the UK, and half of them in London alone
  • Reaches potential customers exactly at the moment they might be looking for you (sponsored searches) or at the moment they’re near your store (impulse purchases)
  • Easy action for users, “drive there” below your listing/ad
  • Global reach, used in more than 200 countries and available in 40+ languages
  • Affordable pricing for small businesses or test runs, with no commitment or subscription

Yell 

Although 2019 was the last year that the Yellow Pages was published on paper, it’s digital counterpart, Yell, lives on. Yell is the UK’s leading online business directory, and consumers in the UK turn to Yell for the products and services near them, making this directory critical for businesses who want to reach nearby consumers who are ready to buy.

Why Yell is an important directory for retailers:

  • On average has 6.4m unique visitors per month
  • Targets UK consumers who are looking exclusively for local business information
  • UK consumers visit Yell to find a local business when they have strong purchasing intent
  • List business locations with contact information, opening times and reviews
  • Links directly to your company website 

In the age of ‘Near Me,’ consumers have unprecedented access to the information they need to find exactly what they need, right here and right now. Retailers can’t afford to miss out on the chance to connect with consumers who are nearby – and ready-to-buy.

Getting your business locations listed on key directories is a vital step towards reaching these customers and ensuring their first experience with your brand is a winning one. This means not only getting listed on these directories, but also making sure your listings pages are accurate, consistent, and compelling. Retailers need to move to where their customers are at every stage of the customer journey, starting with business listings. And make sure they don’t forfeit the opportunity to make that all-important first connection.