While Bass Pro says its average customer drives 50-plus miles to visit one of its experiential stores, a new study finds that consumers are willing to drive just 16 minutes to reach a local "general store."
The study from BrightLocal, a local SEO provider, explored, "Just how 'local' do you need to be to attract new customers." It surveyed over 800 consumers across 13 business categories, looking at how much time they were willing to spend in a car to support a local business.
The lengthiest time was for visiting a wedding shop (23 minutes), followed by doctor/dentist (21 minutes), apparel store (20 minutes), and specialist shop (18 minutes). At the low end was yoga class and gym, with respondents only willing to put up with a drive time of 12 minutes. Pub/bar and hair salon both came in at 14 minutes. The general store/shop ranking of 16 minutes was close to the 17 minutes on average consumers were willing to travel to a local business.
The study found little difference in drive-time impatience among age groups, although younger consumers were found to be willing to travel slightly longer to visit a wedding shop while older ones were willing to travel longer to reach an accountant.
While small differences were also seen among genders, the study found women would travel on average:
On a blog post, Ross Marchant, BrightLocal's marketing manager, acknowledged that consumers in remote areas would naturally be willing to travel much further to reach a "local" establishment versus those in urban areas.
But the study overall concluded that some local stores may be overestimating their local pull.
"Our survey shows that the community often doesn't reciprocate that demand if location dictates anything more than the shortest of car journeys," said Mr. Marchant in a statement. "This research really highlights just how local businesses need to think when it comes to marketing their business — even a neighborhood twenty minutes away could be a block or two too far."
Are stores overestimating or underestimating the reach of their local marketing efforts?