Google has introduced a new set of “health & safety” business attributes tied to COVID-19. This follows earlier introductions of similar features by Yelp and TripAdvisor.
These attributes started appearing yesterday for some, in the Google My Business (GMB) dashboard. They haven’t shown up yet in Search and Maps but presumably will soon. The new attributes help provide clarity and reassurance to potential customers that safety protocols are in place.
Consumers care. There’s plenty of evidence that consumers care about this information. Many people remain nervous about going into stores as long as infection and death rates remain high.
Business health and safety measures and their enforcement (or non-enforcement) have increasingly shown up in reviews, sometimes having a negative impact on retailers’ overall scores, which can impact rankings over time. Mask rules in particular have been caught up in controversy and politics often showing up in review comments.
Survey data from GatherUp, however, reflect that consumers want mask enforcement are more likely to engage with merchants and visit stores that communicate and offer these safeguards.
Why we care. Business attributes on GMB are category dependent and so these new health & safety attributes probably won’t show up for all categories. But the attributes were expected and consistent with the numerous COVID-related changes and features Google has introduced.
The key point is that local merchants and retailers using these attributes may see more engagement or an improved response from consumers who want to do business with them but want assurances that it will be safe.
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