On the business owner and manager side, there is Google Maps and My Business (formerly "Places") to start with. While most are familiar with Google Maps, many are not familiar with the level of intricate control you can get from MapMaker, the location pin and management console Google provides to manage your own businesses' listing.
Local search terms are a large part of search queries every month so you should make every effort to address that demographic motivation even if you believe that your own sector or business doesn't require local attention.
Similarly, Google My Business is the business profile managment tool you use to audit the accuracy and consistency of your profile, brand imagery and timeliness (is it up to date?). Fill out your profile as completely as possible. Even if you think some information is only half-relevant, use it anyway. Be sure to use your local phone number on top of your toll free number.
The first time you set up your My Business profile you will most likely need to verify via postcard. Yes, that's right Google will snail-mail you a postcard with a code to verify that you genuinely exist at that physical location. Remember, Google's reputation rests on their information being accurate and above all else credible and infallible. So it is in their interest to verify that all those map pins really exist. The whole postcard process will likely take a few weeks, so be sure to give yourself lots of lead time.
The variation on My Business is to create a Google+ profile for your business. It will need to live alongside a regular Google identity, like a Gmail account. The process otherwise much the same. If your social media marketing planning includes G+ (and it might as well, to keep Google in the loop on your business can never be a bad thing) my preference is to have that G+ presence.
Showing that you have ongoing customer interaction and feedback is important, especially for retail. If you have a strong G+ presence you can promote customers to review, it's easy and seamless. At the very least, promote reviews on your site and have your development team tag it for your Search Console account so Google knows about it.
Google Search Console has been around for a long time. While it's grown, changed and integrated into other Google services, it has still retained its original purpose of providing developer and marketing consultant feedback on what works and what doesn't. It is your window to your digital performance at a site-specific technical level.
This Search Console account status shows that it needs some attention
For some, this raises the question of how Search Console is different from Analytics. Search Console addresses the technical execution of your digital presence, sitemaps, URL submission, uptime, speed and a host of other technical Key Performance Indicators you need to know about and monitor on a regular basis to ensure your efforts aren't falling on deaf digital ears. It provides a crucial link between creative marketing and technical marketing.