What you're missing after hours
We were having a recent discussion with a local Chamber of Commerce president who was discussing the disconnect between local business owners and residents. She was constantly encouraging her Chamber members to stay open later into the evening so residents could return from work to shop and run their errands. The business owners understandably wanted to close at 5 or 6pm so they could make it home for dinner with their families after a long day.
Sadly this disconnect leads to less local shopping and more online sales.
It probably isn't surprising that peak online shopping occurs after hours.
- During the holidays, peak online shopping hours are 8-10pm. (2)
- 62% of consumers say they mostly online shop between 4pm-2am.
- 14% of consumers say they mostly online shop between 9pm-2am!
For local shoppers who have become accustomed to online shopping, normal business hours no longer apply and they want to schedule appointments and ask questions no matter what time of day it is.
- 23% of business leads now come in after hours. (1)
- 50% of customers choose the business that responds first. (1)
No one should be open 24 hours, but you shouldn't miss all the activity and demand that surfaces after hours. Messaging allows customers to send an inquiry at any time and at their convenience. Once sent, you now have a 1-to-1 channel with that customer along with their name whereas phone calls are often abandoned (28% of calls to local business) or lead to frustrating phone tag.
As one customer put it, "If there was an easier way to shop local, I would shop less on Amazon."
Perhaps surprising but hopefully true! If local customers had easier ways to inquire, interact, and transact with local merchants, they wouldn't resort to online shopping as much as they do. Local merchant should assess how they can be more accessible and convenient to their customers after hours.
1. Reachlocal study, 2016
2. SLI Systems study, 2014