Footfall in retail during COVID-19: How Up Analytics helped retailer Pets Place Boerenbond pandemic-proof their business
Pets Place and Boerenbond (PPBB) are two Dutch retailers that are part of the same group, specialising in pet care and garden products. They currently have one hundred and seventy-five stores in the Netherlands and have plans to expand to other Western European markets. These are a mix of franchised and “owned and operated” stores.
The situation – suboptimal store traffic
Having mostly ignored social, navigation and directory networks in the past, with the exception of listing new store openings or closings on Google Maps, there was plenty of scope for improving the use of online to drive extra footfall to the stores. Most location data, even on widely used platforms such as Google was left to Google Maps users to provide. As a result of that, most (Google) store listings were poorly maintained and scored suboptimally on local search. Several store owners had been asking the marketing team for help to manage their Google My Business (GMB) listing. A few were pro-actively managing it, and yet others had no time to dive into these details or even knew that GMB existed at all.
With as many as one hundred and seventy-five stores, PPBB was struggling to keep the information up to date in the most important platform, Google My Business. Expansion plans for more stores meant that it was going to be increasingly difficult to manage the store network on Google (Maps). And the ambition was to manage store listings across all relevant social, navigation and directory networks, not just on Google.
Before any further rollout of the location-based strategy to drive store visits, COVID-19 pandemic intervened. Many retailers were forced to reconsider the way they offer their services. With customer behaviour rapidly changing around them, PPBB had to respond to the situation accordingly. And they had to do it fast.
“Developments around operating our physical stores change faster than ever and our customers demand accurate and up-to-date information. Up Analytics’ tooling makes it easier to meet this need and be one step ahead of competition.”
– Ard Malenstein, Managing Director of Pets Place Boerenbond
80% increase in impressions on Local Search despite COVID-19
Statistics show that fifty-four percent of retailers haven’t made any changes to their business model in order to prepare for the possibility of a second COVID-19 wave*. Pets Place Boerenbond made sure they did not fall into that category. Investing in providing a great user experience has definitely been proven to drive results for them. PPBB’s local listings have seen an eighty percent year on year growth in impressions across Google Search and Google Maps. And that is comparing the first nine months of 2020 (warning – pandemic included) to 2019 when COVID-19 was not impacting consumer behaviour yet. Potential customers find PPBB’s stores a lot more often when conducting discovery searches. The marketing team’s biggest surprise: these users that find them via local search have also boosted website sales significantly.
By investing in the right tooling and support, PPBB have saved approximately four-hundred hours of manual optimisation of their GMB data. Furthermore, twelve-hundred hours of maintaining listings and reporting on results have been reduced to sixty minutes per week.
*According to a Brightpearl survey
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