Consumers Consult Friends, Websites, and Online Reviews Before Visiting Local Businesses

November 22, 2012

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Their friends, your website, your online reviews – in that order. This is what your existing and potential customers check out and consult just before visiting your business location.

This is according to the results of a recent study conducted by Toluna QuickSurveys on behalf of Street Fight. Developed and released in early November, the “Hyperlocal Business Survey” gathered 500 US consumers (59 percent female, 41 percent male) in a survey about which sources they’re most likely to consult before visiting a local business.

(Check out: “Close to Half of US Consumers Don’t Trust Reviews with Bad Spelling or Grammar”)

The Street Fight study revealed that, before visiting a local merchant, 37.4 percent of consumers first ask their peers about their experiences with the said business. This further supports the assertion made recently by Battery Ventures when it said that 55 percent of US consumers trust only the opinions, reviews, and recommendations of either family or friends.

Results also showed that 35.8 percent will consult and visit the merchant’s website before visiting its actual location. This is why Street Fight’s Patrick Duprey urged business owners to establish their Web presence (if they haven’t done so) – beginning with the website. He wrote: “As long as local businesses can accurately and efficiently maintain their online presence – with a user-friendly site including hours of operation, contact information, and other offerings that index near the top of Google and Bing’s search results – these digital footprints should prove a net positive in attracting customers.”

After peers (family and friends) and websites comes online review sites and reviews aggregators like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Citysearch, and Foursquare. Before visiting local businesses, 15.8 percent of consumers first read online reviews from these sites – more than the number of people who conduct a local search for information about the given business and its competitors.

(Check out: “The Ultimate Guide to Yelp for Business”)

That’s why, according to Duprey, “If business owners are serious about attracting these younger consumers into their storefronts, they need to properly manage an accurate, high-quality Web presence across an array of networks (including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, their own websites and many others).”

We understand that, as a business owner, you may have time and budget constraints that limit your ability to reach out to your customers and enhance your online reputation and visibility. That’s why we created ReviewTrackers, a simple yet powerful online review monitoring solution for aggregating reviews from sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+ Local, and more.

Infographic credit:

Toluna QuickSurveys

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