A hyperlocal e-commerce business might be a new term for you but ‘hyperlocal business’ is a concept very old and traditional. First of all, let’s build an understanding of the hyperlocal business.
Why hyperlocal?Hyperlocal has two major dimensions: geography and time. Where goods are targeted to people or entities that are located within a well-defined area, generally on the scale of a street, neighborhood, community, or suburb. The hyperlocal system helps customers to connect with local stores of particular geographical regions giving customers a better experience of shopping by providing them easy collection or local delivery of the purchased products. People desire comfort, convenience, and want to save their time and effort. These factors along with the sustainability benefits make the concept of hyperlocal eCommerce solutions hugely attractive to buyers and sellers. While searching for shops, clinics, restaurants, etc. through search engines, customers look for the nearest available option. That’s the concept of hyperlocal. Google has taken this fact into account and built this into their complex search algorithms (that is an entirely much larger subject that we won’t attempt to go into today). Search results are based on the “Near me” concept. For hyperlocal eCommerce marketplace platforms like Totally Local this concept has been tweaked and refined.
Ok so it’s not my intention to get all jargony but this is where I’m going to need to get technical. For those of you with a short attention span you might want to jump straight to the bullet pointed benefits….
Ultra local distance calculationThe hyperlocal marketplace system provides accurate nearby distance calculation. This helps the customer to search the required product or services within their range and also increases the accuracy. The customers can easily type their location on the website and it shows the nearby products or services to them, this is ideally how an effective hyperlocal system behaves.
Inventory ManagementTechnically, inventory management is the trickiest part of any hyperlocal marketplace. But it is critical as it plays an important part in customer communications, keeping the customer updated.
The inventory held by a producer must have real-time sync, so that the customer is able to see the right stock levels of the product with each producer based on the customers’ location. It helps to map the product in the nearby locality so that the customer is aware of product availability prior to adding to their basket. Once added transacted through a basket the producers inventory levels are updated so he or she is aware of what’s been sold.
Chat with the customer
As with bricks and mortor shopping two way communicatiion is an important component, well the same is true with online shopping.Sometimes in the hyperlocal marketplace, the customers requirement does not match the available stock. In this case, the producer has a need to discuss alternative options with the buyer. Inability to communicate often leads to delay in delivery of the product and a poor buyer experience.This challenge can be overcome by implementing a chat system that allows two way conversation.
Benefits for the producers and growers
- Producers and growers are more discoverable and noticed more as marketplaces with lots of product offer a more complete experience for consumers.
- With each transaction captured and reported on it provides valuable insight to the growth of their business.
- It’s always open. Sellers stores are open and available 24/7 without the stress.
- A good scope of generating extra income external to traditional face to face sales.
Benefits for the buyers/consumers
- Receive products within a very short space of time.
- Receive a greater discount than the grocery stores. It helps them save money.
- With the stores in your local area it is convenient and buyers choose how they engage with sellers.
- Consumers feel in-control of the whole supply chain due to transparency, they know where the product comes from, that it is fresh and the standards to which it is grown.
- Consumers will know the location of the shop from where their products are being shipped. It creates a greater degree of trust.
- With less links in the food chain, less distance for food to travel, utilising local resources from the farm to the house it is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable
Overall, the hyperlocal marketplace enhances the customer experience and that’s good news for producers and growers competing with supermarkets and other chain retailers. With Covid-19 there has never been a better time to dip your toes into hyperlocal eCommerce.
The government imposed lockdown has caught many of us on the hop and now we’re all in a mad rush to get back on track. The good news (we believe) is that social business is going to be top-of-mind in the post Covid era and small local producers and growers with great ideas can slay the enterprise giants of today (or maybe already, yesterday). But first of all they’ll have to speak directly to buyers, lots of them!, and play to the different needs of widely varying needs. Make no mistake, hyperlocal will give them that first step up!