The Top 20 Cities in America to Shop Local for the Holidays – Plus Reputation Management Tips for Every Local Business Owner

December 05, 2014

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The Top 20 Cities in America to Shop Local for the Holidays – Plus Reputation Management Tips for Every Local Business Owner

Just a couple of weeks ago, we shared you the results of a study by Yelp and Nielsen on how Americans are expected to shop this holiday season. According to the study, about 80 percent of Americans will be shopping at a local business in preparation for this year’s holidays. (Hooray for local business owners!)

Yelp and Nielsen also found that, more than ever, shoppers will be looking for experience-based gifts this year. These include gift certificates from a delicious local restaurant; tickets to the theater, movies, or opera; a massage or some relaxing treatment at a spa; or even free passes to a crochet or cooking class. That’s right: consumers are getting more creative with their gift ideas, which should be good news for small business owners in all kinds of industries.

(Check out our “Ultimate Guide to Yelp for Business“)

But where exactly will these holiday shoppers be going to find great local gifts? Once again, Yelp set out to study consumer behavior, tracking and analyzing its millions of online reviews and business listings in order to determine which cities in the U.S. are the most popular for great local gifts. Here’s the online review site’s list of the Top 20 Cities in America to Shop Local for the Holidays:

  1. Portland, ME
  2. Lawrence, KS
  3. St. Petersburg, FL
  4. Asheville, NC
  5. Santa Cruz, CA
  6. Detroit, MI
  7. Bend, OR
  8. Chapel Hill, NC
  9. Wilmington, NC
  10. Hoboken, NJ
  11. Minneapolis, MN
  12. Portland, OR
  13. Frederick, MD
  14. Flagstaff, AZ
  15. New Orleans, LA
  16. Worcester, MA
  17. Savannah, GA
  18. Providence, RI
  19. Seattle, WA
  20. Baltimore, MD

Is your local business gearing up for the holiday shopping season? Keep these tips in mind for boosting your online visibility and business reputation, and for making the upcoming holidays an extraordinarily merry one.

Find out what your customers want. On sites like Yelp, you can track and read your local business’ online reviews in order to identify which products and services you offer are likely to be a big holiday hit. You can’t go wrong if you build your holiday marketing efforts around these bestsellers and five-star offerings.

(Sign up for a free trial of ReviewTrackers today.)

Keep your local business information up-to-date. One of the stumbling blocks for shoppers who are ready to make a purchase decision is wrong or missing local information: wrong or missing business name, address, or phone number. So if you’re listed on Yelp and on other review sites and business listings, be sure to update your business info to keep the door open for local holiday shoppers.

Respond to online reviews. Unique local gifts can make your business stand out, but sometimes the bad reviews and low ratings that shoppers see online prevent them from visiting your shop and checking out what you have to offer. That’s why it’s important to respond to your reviews (negative and positive): it gives you an opportunity to change the conversation and show customers that you value their feedback.

Deliver excellent customer service. As you’re gearing up for the influx of local holiday shoppers, spend some time training your staff to ensure that you’re able to deliver excellent, five-star-review-worthy customer service. It’s going to be a busy season, but if you’re focused on meeting shoppers’ needs and wants, the holiday buzz around your business will build itself.

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