It's not enough simply to rank in search results, though: The report shows that 93 percent of respondents are somewhat or very likely to view the first set of results.
So how can grocers ensure they're among the top-ranking results in "near me" searches? By optimizing their local presences online to "meet that shift and deliver against demand," Benner advised.
How can this be done? A number of ways, actually – Jonathan Obar, search and social manager for Chicago-based retail intelligence provider EnsembleIQ, parent of Progressive Grocer, recommends that grocers try several practices, including the following:
Use as Many Directory Sites as Possible
Grocers must avoid setting up their listing on their website, and then calling it a day. Instead, use directory sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yelp, Apple Maps, Foursquare and Hotfrog.
"Google crawls all of these sites especially if they use the Google Maps API," Obar told Progressive Grocer.
Use Consistent Information for Every Directory
When grocers set up their listings on directory sites, they must make sure the information and formatting are exactly the same. A couple of examples: "St." versus "Street," or using the full name of your store versus a shortened version.
"It's easier for a Googlebot to make connections between different sites when the information is exactly the same," he said.
Cater Information to a Local Audience
Every store increases a grocer's odds of ranking, so make sure that every location or branch is listed, and then create a unique description of each store location.
"Unique and descriptive content ranks better on Google, so catering your listing to the local audience will help diversify your content," Obar noted.
If you're skeptical about the importance of ranking among the top few results in a "groceries near me" search, think about your own Google searches: How often have you reviewed listings beyond the top three options? I'd venture to say, probably not much.