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Holiday Opening Hours: Don’t Leave Your Customers Confused!

For most businesses, November and December could be (and should be) the busiest time of the year. With the bustling holiday season, it's common for local businesses to introduce special hours to maximize sales. But what's the most effective way for businesses to publish their special hours for the thousands of motivated shoppers out there?

First, the business needs to be listed on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, where customers can begin their purchasing journeys by simply searching. It could be basic, short-tail query like "holiday shopping", or maybe a local search like "shoe stores around me". As more than 78% of consumers today are using search engines for seeking information on local goods and services, the business needs to be listed on these directories to be found.

How to cater to online-to-offline shoppers

Better news for small businesses: more people are looking through these search engines with a clear intent to purchase. Google reported that "where to buy" searches grew over 85% in the past two years. This means more people are searching on Google with queries like "where to buy ugly Christmas sweater", "where to buy cards", and "where to buy gift boxes".

And these searches are becoming more local. If the business is listed correctly with the right address, name, phone number and opening hours, there’s a much higher chance customers will come and visit the store. Neustar found that over 76% of those who search from mobile will visit the business in 24 hours. So, however your business hours change, you have to include accurate holiday hours.

Surprisingly enough, Google reports that a staggering 56% of retailers have not even claimed their business listings. This means the public can make any edits to these unclaimed listings! If your client owns a retail store and they haven't claimed their business listing yet, there's a great chance that business may have incorrect hours and addresses out on the web. And that’s not only on Google, but on numerous search engines and online directories.

Out of all the details people look for in a business, analysts from Comscore, Neustar, and Localeze discovered that hours of operation were the most important element, followed by ratings and reviews.

The most wonderful time of the year

It's worth noting that mobile searches for "store hours" peak on Christmas Day. It's the most popular day of the year for that search, as shoppers hunt for last-minute items. Some of the top searches included: "What stores are open near me on Christmas?", "What stores are open right now?", and "What grocery stores are open on Christmas?" If your client is listed as closed for these types of local search terms, they may be missing out on opportunities.

The time-consuming solution is to visit every search engine and directory out there and manually update the special hours. Then switch them again after Christmas, then for Easter, Independence Day, and so on. Another option is working with a local presence management system like ConvergenSEE, which can push out new special hours for a business with a click of a button. Special hours can be scheduled in advance so they’re queued for the holidays.

How are you managing your current holiday hours, or those of your clients? There's always a better way, and we're always here to help. Contact the ConvergenSEE team today to learn more and get started.

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