'Near Me' Searches Don't Need Keywords To Find Local Goods, Services

About 69% of consumers use their smartphone to help them shop. Some 63% use the phone to research products, while 62% compare prices, 56% look for coupons or deals, 54% check for store hours, and 52% find nearby store locations, according to survey reports released Monday.

Uberall’s “Near Me Shopping Report,” which analyzes responses from more than 1,000 smartphone users across the U.S., aims to understand “near me” search preferences and behavior. The commissioned study was conducted between July 23 and July 27, 2018.

Among millennials, “near me” adoption was even greater, at 92%.

Overall, 84% of survey participants said they typically use near-me searches to find food, followed by 56% who use them to find entertainment, 50% to find banking, 41% to find apparel, and 38% to locate personal care.

When asked to rank a specific retailer or store with “near me” searches or a general product “near me” search and specific brand “near me” search, the top response was “a specific retailer or store.”



Forty-eight percent ranked it No. 1. This includes searches like “Foot Locker near me.” Generally searching for a product such as “Where can I buy toys near me” came in at No. 2 with 29%, followed by searching for a specific brand such as “Where can I buy Nike near me” at 23%.

But the 80% to 85% of shoppers querying “near me” no longer need to type in those exact words -- especially those willing to keep their location services turned on.

Some 60% of respondents, after completing a “near me” search, said they clicked on the first two to three results they saw. Another 33% said they were “somewhat likely.” Overall, 93% said they were likely to click on the first set of results, 5% said they weren’t sure, and 2% said they wouldn’t likely click. 

Proximity-based searches continue to change consumer behavior, driving changes in search and turning the visual query box into a utility that remains in the background. These days, location qualifiers and triggers such as ZIP codes are built into the technology within the mobile phone. These qualifiers allow people searching for information to type in only the basic keyword, rather than “restaurants near me.”

According to Google, “near me” mobile searches also contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy.” These include “where can I buy stamps near me,” “places to buy scrubs near me,” or “where to buy vinyl records near me.”

Those types of searches rose 500% during the last two years, Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing for the Americas at Google, wrote in a blog post in May 2018.

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