SAN FRANCISCO -- If store websites and social media profiles are the storefront of today, review sites are the new town gossip.
Yelp and similar websites might pose a headache to entrepreneurs, but sometimes they are the only options for consumers looking for honest customer feedback on brick-and-mortar stores. That feedback often comes with more passion and grammatical errors than necessary, but any online seeker of truth who knows what they are doing should be able to see through such irregularities.
Uberall, a location marketing business, recently completed a survey of 1,000 consumers asking where they go when they want to look up store info online.
Read on for the results from Uberall’s surveys and tips on how to handle less-than-stellar reviews …
1. Google Maps and reviews
A full 51% of survey respondents tend to go to Google Maps for reviews.
The strength of Google Maps—and Google in general—as a review platform is likely a result of its convenience and ease of use. The program allows users to look up directions and reviews simultaneously, making Google a veritable one-stop-shop for planning any shopping trip.
About a third—36%—of consumers go to Yelp for business reviews.
While Yelp is a popular bogeyman for business owners, not all reviews are bad. “I think the perception is that most reviews are based on negative experiences. But our data proves that is not the case,” said Josha Benner, co-founder of Uberall. The survey found that 64% of review writers wrote a review because they had a positive experience, while only 28% left a review due to a negative experience.
Similar to the results for Yelp, 35% of consumers frequent Facebook for online reviews.
“Google is dominant in customer reviews,” Benner said. “But Yelp and Facebook are obviously very popular as well. Facebook in particular is well positioned to grow its share here. When combined with Instagram, Google has a real challenger.”
Facebook also makes engaging with consumers relatively easy, which is important for engaging with reviewers online. Uberall’s study found that one-third of consumers do not return to a store if the brand does not respond to their online review. Of those who have written online reviews of businesses, 66% said the store did not respond.
The fourth most visited review site is the Better Business Bureau at 22%, followed by TripAdvisor at 15%. Instagram, Angie’s List and Yahoo Local Listings were tied for sixth place with 13% each. Yellow Pages was in seventh place with 10%, followed by Foursquare at 3% and Manta at 1%.