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Best retail business directories to improve your online visibility

Explore the top retail business directories to improve your business' visibility and to attract more clients.

One of the most effective ways for a local retailer to increase online visibility is through retail business directories. These directories provide comprehensive listings of businesses by category or location, along with contact information, website links, and customer reviews that offer shoppers a convenient and effective way to search for and find local retailers that meet their needs. Being listed in these directories can be a powerful tool for local retailers to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and grow their customer base.

According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study, 81% of shoppers search online before buying. Google Insights also reveals that 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical location within 24 hours. And for a local retailer, this means a strong online presence is critical to help drive foot traffic and increase sales. 

This article looks at some of the best UK online retail business directories and how to optimise your listing to get the most out of each directory. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to increase your online visibility, or a seasoned retailer looking to expand your customer base, this article will help you find the best online retail business directories to meet your needs.

Best online retail business directories

Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a free online business directory provided by Google. You can create a business profile for your store to manage your online presence, personalise your profile, and connect with customers who find you on Google Search and Maps.


  • Free to use
  • Highly visible listing in Google search results
  • Provides valuable insights and analytics, including how customers find and interact with their business online
  • Can connect with Magic Reviews


  • Limited customisation options

Key features and benefits: 

  • Manage your online presence across Google Search and Maps
  • Interact with customers, respond to reviews, and track important metrics is the leading UK-based online business directory for local services to create a business profile and connect with potential customers.


  • Highly visible online directory that receives significant traffic.
  • 24/7 Customer Support online chat facility
  • Some free marketing tools. 


  • Fees to use Yell Business
  • No list of prices for digital marketing services you have to request a free quote

Key features and benefits: 

  • Create a free business profile with online review platform 
  • Offers sponsored listings and display ads opportunities
  • Yell Business provides advanced digital marketing services


Yelp is a US-based online business directory that has a significant presence in the UK and helps connect consumers with local business. According to the statistics on their website, they have over 80 million visitors each month and 83% of visitors hire, or buy from a business they found on the platform.


  • Trusted online directory 
  • Easily manage online presence
  • Can connect with Magic Reviews


  • Limited visibility compared to Google Business Profile
  • Primarily focused on reviews and ratings

Key features and benefits: 

  • Create a business profile, manage your online reputation, and connect with customers
  • Valuable insights and analytics, including customer demographics, search terms, and more

Thomson Local Directory

From its early days as the leading ‘paper’ business directory, Thomson Local is a UK-based online business directory and one of the biggest digital marketing agencies in the world. Their goal is “to become an all-in-one information resource for business owners, entrepreneurs and the people seeking their services.”


  • Free and paid listings
  • Highly visible with significant traffic


  • Limited customization options
  • No prices for upgraded listings

Key features and benefits: 

  • Create a business profile with business information, images, and customer reviews
  • Advertising and marketing options available, including web design packages, SEO and PPC campaigns.


FreeIndex is an independently-owned UK-based online business directory that has been in operation since 2003 and has over 1.5 million users. It’s completely free to use unless you decide to upgrade to their Premium package.. 


  • Large user-base
  • Completely free


  • Limited customisation options
  • Online customer support only 

Key features and benefits: 

  • Free package includes customer lead alerts and customer review management
  • Premium package (£9.95 per month) gives you 5 lead responses per day and other benefits


Hotfrog, owned by Locafy, is a global online business directory that operates in 44 countries, including a significant presence in the UK, and helps 69 million businesses reach new customers globally.


  • Pay-as-you-go upgrade option that you can cancel at any time
  • Detailed ‘How-to’ support page 


  • Limited visibility in search results compared to Google My Business and Yelp
  • Very limited customer support, only contact is through online form 

Key benefits and features:

  • Free multi-location listing option for up to 10 locations. More than 10 you need to pay for their API service which then lists your business across the entire Locafy publishing network.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps is available on iOS devices and Mac computer and provides users with turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and information about local businesses. 


  • Access to Apple users
  • Valuable insights and analytics 


  • Limited visibility in search results compared to Google My Business and Yelp. 

Key features and benefits: 

  • Apple Maps is pre-installed on all Apple devices
  • Apple Business Connect helps you customise your listing in Apple Maps


Waze is a GPS navigation app with over 130 million active monthly users. It’s available on both iOS and Android devices and offers users turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and information about local businesses. 


  • Large user base
  • Improves visibility and reach
  • Help customers find your physical location


  • Limited customisation options

Key features and benefits: 

  • Waze ads help you connect with potential customers when they are in your area
  • 4 types of ad available

How to optimise your business directory profile

  • Make sure your business information is complete and includes accurate details including your business name, address, phone number, and website URL. 
  • Regularly update your listing with new photos and relevant information to keep customers engaged.
  • Add high-quality images and videos to your listing to showcase your products and services.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews to increase your visibility and reputation on the platform.
  • Respond to all customer reviews, whether positive or negative, to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Use advertising and marketing options, such as sponsored listings and display ads, to increase your visibility and reach a wider audience.

Frequently Asked Questions about retail business directories

What is an online business directory?

They are virtual platforms where various businesses are listed, and provide essential information such as contact details, services offered, location, and sometimes customer reviews. They help businesses and potential customers easily find each other. 

What are the 3 types of directory services?

  • General: directories that encompass a wide range of businesses
  • Niche-specific: directories that focus on a particular industry or market segment
  • Location-based: directories based on geographic areas, making it easier to find businesses within a specific region.

What can a business directory be classified as?

Essentially, a business directory is nothing more than a comprehensive database of businesses operating within a specific area or industry. However, they are valuable resources for consumers seeking particular services and for businesses aiming to increase their online visibility.

What are the benefits of a business directory?

Having a listing in a business directory can help a retail business improve:

  • Online presence and visibility, which can then potentially increase website traffic and customer inquiries 
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts 
  • Credibility 

What’s the difference between a business listing and a business directory?

  • A business listing refers to a business’s INDIVIDUAL ENTRY and often contains key details like name, address, and phone number. 
  • A business directory is a COMPILATION of multiple business listings, organised in a structured manner by specific category or location.

Key takeaway

A strong online presence is essential for local retailers to attract new customers and stay competitive, and online retail business directories are a powerful way for local retailers to do this.

By choosing the right platform, such as Google Business Profile, Yell, Yelp, Thomson Local, and Hotfrog, and optimising their listings, local retailers can effectively promote their business, build a strong online reputation, and reach new customers. Additionally, directories like Apple Maps and Waze can help businesses reach a wider audience, particularly among drivers. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach new customers and take your business to the next level!

About Magic

Magic helps local businesses grow. Thousands of local businesses use Magic to get more online reviews, win new customers, easily manage customer conversations and grow sales. Magic offers these features:

  • Reviews: Get more reviews with automatic review requests for popular review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TrustPilot, and more. Rank high on local search and enhance your visibility on Google. 
  • Inbox: Keep track of customer conversations across channels in one inbox, including SMS, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. Manage conversations better as a team and do more with industry specific templates. 
  • Text Marketing: Drive more sales with instant text campaigns and reach your customers at the right moment with automation. Use prebuilt templates to send out text campaigns in minutes. 
  • Webchat: Turn website visitors into customers with SMS powered Webchat. Chat to website visitors directly through SMS so you won’t miss a lead, even when they leave your website. 

Looking to grow your local business? Book in a demo call now. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook


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