37/52: Google helped me paint my fence
I had a couple of jobs to work on around the house this week including painting the fence and fixing a Bluetooth problem with my daughter's computer. Standard weekend! The challenge was, how do I stay local during lockdown when the big box stores I rely on are quite a way away? So I turned to Google Maps and started searching.
First search: "Paint near me". In the back block of an industrial estate, only 2.6km from my front door there was a paint shop. I'd never heard of it before! Within the app I was able to check a couple of reviews, check the opening hours and hit the "Call" button to ring ahead order and pay for the paint. Down to the local store and they popped it in the boot without any hassle. Sorry Bunnings.
Second search: "Computer parts near me". Boom! Five stores within a relatively close-range (5-10km). I checked the store with the highest number of positive reviews and called again. This time the pickup limited the customer to standing on the street (much like picking up a coffee), while the lady went into the store to retrieve my goods. Sorry Officeworks!
While chatting to Louise, the helpful computer lady, I discovered she's never been busier. It seems everyone in the local area needed to pick up something for the home office from paper to monitors and Bluetooth dongles. This need comes at the same time their travel is limited and effectively restricts locals from visiting big-box retailers. Louise also put it down to her up-to-date and informative google listing. It seems I wasn't the first customer to discover her through Google maps.
It's a good thing. Small retailers are a dying breed but it seems many are being sought out during this lockdown period - which leads me to the point of this article: if you run a business, do you have an up-to-date google maps listing?
Insights: A tool showing how your business was found, where it was shown, and what information the end-user is seeing
Google Post: allows you to show featured content including events, products, offers and announcements
Reviews play a key role in how your customers see your business
There's a lot on the web about this, but in short, go to https://www.google.com.au/business/sign-up/index.html and follow the instructions.
Next time you reach for the phone to search for something, consider whether your own business is up-to-date on Google maps...and as a consumer, keep seeking out those small businesses in your own neighbourhoo