When trying to decide what local business to frequent what do people use to make their final decision? In the past it used to be through word of mouth, now most customers use online reviews to determine what local businesses to shop with. A local survey of shoppers has found that 92% of consumers use online reviews to make the decision on what is a good business to shop at – Bright Local.
With the popularity of the internet many different good business review websites have come out. Yelp, Angie’s List, and The Better Business Bureau are just several websites that allow you to rate local businesses. Most of these websites allow you to post a star or A-F ranking that gives a very quick summary of the business, then you can go through and leave a detailed review of the establishment. This means that people will know exactly what other people have experienced from a location.
Since 2010 the amount of consumers who didn’t read any online reviews before shopping dropped significantly. In 2010 29% of consumers surveyed did not read online reviews before shopping, now only 8% of consumers do not read reviews.
One important thing that anyone reading online reviews needs to keep in mind is that there will be bad reviews for any business but it should be significantly less than the positive reviews. However it is a fact that people are more likely to leave a review of a negative experience than a positive one.
The increased amount of people who are looking for local businesses over chains and big names is sure to play a role in the increase of consumers looking to the internet for reviews. They want to make sure these new local businesses that are popping up are worth their business before they visit. A 2014 survey along the same lines found that 72% consumers felt that a positive online review of a local business made it more trustworthy.
The local survey utilizes 2,354 entries from individuals that are part of a local consumer panel that is approximately 5,000 people large. That means that just under half of the population of the consumer panel responded. 90% of the respondents were from the United States while the rest were from Canada. The survey took over 2 weeks to conduct in July of 2015.
The fact that 92% of consumers use web reviews of businesses in their area shows the prominence of the internet. Since 2011 the amount of people who do not use reviews to determine whether or not they are going to visit a business has decreased by 21%. This shows the importance that the internet plays in the shopping world, even when that shopping happens in the physical world.
If you are running a local business and want to attract more customers online reviews are a necessity. The potential of a significant amount negative reviews hurt your business is extremely great. However, many consumers can detect when a review is fake so paying for someone to write positive reviews or writing your own reviews will not doing anything for your business. This highlights one of the most prominent problems with online review websites. Fake reviews are frequent but companies have also successfully had their negative reviews removed as slander or for other reasons.
As time goes on more and more people are going to go to internet reviews to decide whether a local business is trustworthy or not. The reviews are going to begin integrating more and more into our lifestyles. The Google Maps already integrates reviews into search results when trying to navigate to locations. Should the survey be continued next year it is likely to show less people who don’t check reviews.