According to the Street Fight poll (which asked a group of US consumers about how they use local review sites), 93 percent of respondents check reviews before dining or shopping.
Moreover, 30 percent said that they read or check online reviews of a business, product, or service about half the time; 16.5 percent admitted doing it about 8 out of 10 times; and 15 percent reported checking reviews every time.
These numbers rise as soon as the focus shifts to a specific key market: the Web-savvy, social-media-driven 18 to 34 demographic. Of this segment, 25.4 percent check reviews 8 out of 10 times before dining or shopping; 20.63 percent, meanwhile, acknowledged checking reviews every single time.
The results of the poll – as well as of recent research studies by Berkeley economists and the Harvard Business School – serve to demonstrate the increasing influence and impact of online review sites on consumer perspectives and behavior.
Not only have sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and Angie’s List become popular and heavily-relied-upon sources of user-generated content; they’ve also created a new set of challenges and opportunities for business owners who are seeking to monitor consumer reviews, manage their online reputation, and stay on top of what their customers are saying.
“With gaining consumer confidence, reviews sites, mainly Yelp, should only continue to grow, all but forcing local marketers to take them very seriously,” writes Street Fight editorial assistant Patrick Duprey.
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