As we’ve noted before, there is a constant flow of research indicating that customers trust and prefer small, local businesses over large, national brands and chains. How can local businesses take advantage of this preference and desire by consumers to shop local?

Key recommendations:

– Improve website
– Reward loyalty
– Increase communication

—Yodle’s “What Customers Want” survey

The small business marketing-software company Yodle has posted a six-part series on their blog about the needs of local customers based on a research survey they commissioned earlier this year.

Here are some of the findings of Yodle’s “What Customers Want” survey.

Customers want to support local business

82% | Customers using local businesses
48% | Customers planning to increase their use of local businesses during next 12 months
< 1% | Customers planning to decrease their use of local businesses during next 12 months

Customers want more ways to connect online with local businesses

Customers ranked website improvements as the change they are most interested in seeing from local businesses over the next year. They also identified promotional offers for returning customers as the best way for a local business to stand out from its competition. Online reviews are expected, and satisfied customers are happy to help.

40% | Customers expect to see reviews of products on a website
6% | Customers have been asked to write a review of a local business
89% | Customers willing to write a review if they had a positive experience and were asked to write one

Local businesses should compete on service and quality, not on price

96% | Customers think local businesses beat national chains on personalizing service
77% | Customers say national chains offer more competitive prices
72% | Customers willing to pay a local business more for better quality work

Local businesses need to have a comprehensive online presence

In addition to search engines and websites, the survey respondents are using review sites and social media to identify the businesses they want to use or work with.

75% | Customers say they use the Internet to find or research a business

Related: See our earlier post on reasons customers give for preferring small and local retailers. (Source: ComScore.)
why customers like small business

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