By Nichole Petersen, Retailer Marketing Specialist

I’m constantly surprised at how many storefront retailers ignore their placement in the online world. Consumers shop retailers like they would a partner on a dating site. If you haven’t been consistent or have never updated your online company profiles, here are some important reasons why you should:

1. Increases your searchability. Search engines like Google have algorithms for determining how you’re found on the web. The more up-to-date your information is, and the more sources that have it, the more likely you’ll be found by your customers, and the higher you’ll rank on the search result pages.

2. Keeps your customers coming back. If you never carry anything new or update your store or run promotions, customers will lose interest and stop shopping at your store. Keeping your online profiles up to date and fresh is as important as keeping your store flowing.

3. Establishes you as the local resource. Staying current online shows customers that you’re paying attention. And when you’re paying attention, you have automatic assumed credibility. Have you ever been leery of a place because of their poor online presence?

4. Makes you aware of new trends in social media and technology. When you’re aware of current trends, you are a better sales professional and marketer. You’ll have the needed foresight to adjust for consumer desires.

5. Increases your web-traffic.
If you don’t have a website, that should be first on your to-do list (and it doesn’t have to be complicated). Consumers assume that you have one. Using other platforms and tools that include your website will drive more traffic to your store.

Here are some platforms that should include a complete profile of your company with regular (at least monthly) updates: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google Pages, Yelp, Twitter, Pinterest, and FourSquare (there are more... but these are the most common). If you’re limited on time, start with the first three. A great resource for online marketing and presence is Social Edge. Find out more here: http://www.socialedge.co/