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Yelp helps drive sales.

That’s the conclusion reached by Merchant Warehouse after it conducted a research study about how Yelp, the popular community-based online review site, affects the performance of businesses. According to the results, 93 percent of consumers who use Yelp typically go on to make purchases at the business they looked up and researched via the review site.

This isn’t the first time a study has shown the impact Yelp reviews have on purchase behavior. A recent study by Nielsen revealed that 82 percent of Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money on a product or service.

(Check out: “7 Smart Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation”)

The numbers from Merchant Warehouse’s study should help businesses feel a little less apprehensive about Yelp, which has been viewed by numerous business owners as a scary place where they have no control of the reviews being posted. According to the same study, as much as 87 percent of small businesses (SMBs) still don’t actively use the site – and they still aren’t actively doing online review management or monitoring their business’ online reputation, which could seriously undermine their bottom line. Moreover, 22 percent of SMB owners who have active Yelp listings have never actually looked at their profiles at all.

Merchant Warehouse was quick to note, though, that attitudes towards Yelp are at least starting to change: 77 percent of SMB owners say that the site has changed the way they respond to customer issues and complaints.

The study also revealed that consumer trust in online reviews is increasingly making an impact on the business bottom line. 90 percent of Yelp users say that positive online reviews influence their company buying choices. When deciding what businesses to go to, they base their choices on: the text content of the reviews (44 percent), the aggregated ratings of businesses (26 percent), the quantity of reviews (17 percent), and reviews from friends and family (14 percent).

For more information from the study on how Yelp impacts consumer behavior and business performance, check out the infographic below:

monitor yelp reviews

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

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