Take Charge of Your Customer Reviews by Elias Amash

The Results are In: Positive Reviews Boost Retail Business with Customer Acquisition and Retention

The best retailers care about online reviews, and for good reason: nothing tells you more about your business than a satisfied customer – except an unhappy one.

Before you dig into the stats behind the Annual BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, look at the online reputation that one prominent Oregon-based retailer has cultivated, which landed them in FRONT of Home Depot in a search engine result:

Coastal Farm and Ranch has 30 online reviews, with a good score of 4.1. They have obviously spent time ASKING their satisfied customers for feedback. (Most other retailers in the area have less than a dozen reviews – the local Home Depot has none at all!). Coastal Farm and Ranch also has customers who talk about the best aspects of their service, points that are crucial to a retail store. Here are some results from Yelp:

Here are more stats you should consider when putting together a strategy to gain MORE and BETTER online reviews:
Key ‘Takeaways’ From Online Review Survey Research

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
  • 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
  • 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important

This survey explores how consumers read and use online reviews. The information contained in this survey helps businesses and digital marketing agencies qualify the value of online reviews and how reviews impact consumers’ opinions and actions when searching for local businesses. The findings of this survey are specifically concerned with reviews for local business services and not general product reviews.

Why Online Reviews Are So Important

A positive reputation is one of the most powerful marketing assets a business has to convince new customers to contact them. The social proof contained within reviews and star ratings helps consumers short cut their research and make decisions faster and with greater confidence than ever before.

The growing quantity of online reviews and review sites covering more industries and services, provides huge benefits to both consumers and the businesses that fully embrace reputation marketing.

In November 2016 we will be publishing some follow-up research that studies the impact of positive star ratings and reviews on both Search Click Thru Rates and Landing Page Performance. These findings, coupled with the results below, create a hugely compelling argument for why SMBs should invest more in reputation marketing.

About the Local Consumer Review Survey

The Local Consumer Review Survey was first conducted in 2010. Since we started running the survey we’ve seen see a dramatic shift in how consumers search for local businesses and the role that online reviews play in consumers’ research and decision-making process.

This year’s survey has evolved from 2015 with some variations on the questions asked. There are new questions, modified questions and certain questions have been removed which are no longer relevant or useful for SMBs and SEOs.The complete BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey can be found here.