A recent study showed that brands are struggling to provide “depth” of content online. Outside of name, address and phone number, consumers aren’t getting access to richer and more engaging content like pictures, videos, payment types, services, etc. While the study was representative of brands, the problem isn’t unique to them.
In an attempt to improve the richness of business data found online for both brands and SMBs, Goodzer has launched Merchant Center, a self-serve tool for service-based businesses to update their offerings that are then published on Goodzer’s Partner Network. The data is distributed and published as “Service Menus” via Goodzer’s automated technology.
According to Mike Wilson, CEO at Goodzer, the company has more enhanced profiles than anyone else with more than 2.5 billion offerings spanning 2.5 million US locations in the retail and services space (retail = 500K, services = 2M).
“We create rich, detailed profiles that focus on specific offerings such as service lists, descriptions, prices, and inventory,” said Wilson. “This is the information users really need to be able to make purchase decisions and it is presented to them as full service menus, apart from the basic profile.”
While the company specifically called out Merchant Center’s value for service-based SMBs in the press release, the solution has multi-location and national application as well. With a partner network that reaches over 200 million users per month and includes partners such as YP, Avantar, MyTime and CitySearch.com, the solution addresses needs for businesses big and small.
The self-serve component of the Merchant Center alleviates any concerns related to the accuracy of the data, allowing Goodzer to be a source of “verified” business information. However, self-service presents the common challenges faced by any other self-serve tool, especially among SMBs, such as facilitating participation, need for education, support, etc.
Overall, the local services space is a highly contentious one. Many local search sites have been integrating business services to search results in order to make it easier to interact and transact with local service providers online. However, the importance of more fundamental aspects of local search – rich business data and information – shouldn’t be overlooked.
According to Placeable’s recent study referenced earlier, greater depth of content produces higher “click-to-brick” conversion rates and supports other marketing calls-to-action. The study explained that richer, more engaging content is an important factor of local online marketing success.
Goodzer’s efforts with Merchant Center are definitely needed and helpful for both consumers and merchants. But what about pictures, videos, payment types, accessibility, parking, etc.? Since local business data comes in many forms, there are still a number of opportunities to improve the “depth” of this data online.