It’s not often a week goes by without another media report about how shoppers are purchasing more and more online. And they are. But what’s surprising is, with the world at their feet online, Australians are still fiercely parochial and will seek out local suppliers online just as they do when shopping on the real world.

A 2015 Brand Finance Global 500 report suggests that local consumers firmly stand beside Aussie icons like Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB.

Go hyperlocal

The effect is even stronger the closer the proximity of the business to the customer.

According to the 2015 Westpac Australia Day report:

  • 92 percent of Australians feel loyal to at least one local business in their community
  • 43 percent say they shop at local businesses because they have built up relationships with the owners
  • 43 percent even say they would pay a little bit more for local goods and services

And despite the ability to buy pretty much anything from anywhere, Roy Morgan research found 64 percent of the 7 million Australians who bought one or more products over the internet in an average four week period in the 12 months to September 2014 actually purchased locally.

Other businesses know the value of local – according to the Australian Made campaign, the average number of businesses registering to use the ‘Australian Made, Australian Grown’ logo each month has almost doubled over the past year.

Benefits of a local domain

Not only can a .sydney or .melbourne address help consumers find your business online, a really effective domain name can help you stand out from the crowd and ultimately increase revenue. Business coach John Denton says “It is important and will definitely improve the value – how much will depend upon how much profit directly comes from sales generated by the website.

“And a good URL will make the business easier to sell even if it doesn’t add too much to the value”. He recommends having multiple domains linking to the one website, with at least one .sydney or .melbourne domain if you have a business based in, or servicing, those cities.

“As with any element of the business – know your numbers!” he says. “The analytics. Most business owners have no idea if their domain name and website is working for them or not. If it is too technical, get a good Google analytics person to work on it.”

The benefit of local domain names under the likes of .sydney, .melbourne or .nyc is that they act as an online signpost to help consumers find trusted, locally based providers.

If there’s any doubt about the power of being local, consider this: Starbucks isn’t always known as Starbucks. Where once the ubiquitous coffee retailer felt its strength was in a consistent international brand, some of their new stores opened in the past five years – like ‘15th Ave. Coffee & Tea’ in Seattle – don’t carry the Starbucks brand at all in an effort to compete against the truly local cafe. It’s a process called “unbranding”.

Image: fresh by {sea+prairie}, Licensed under CC BY 2.0