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You probably already know this, but a lot of people check multiple kinds of Internet sources when researching or shopping for products and services in a specific local area.
Actually, make that almost all people.
A new study by local media firm BIA/Kelsey, in partnership with market research organization ConStat, reveals that 97 percent of all consumers use their computers or mobile devices to consult the Internet before buying a product or service. The consumer tracking study – called “User View Wave VII” – also showed that:
- 90 percent of consumers or shoppers use search engines
- 48 percent use the Internet yellow pages
- 24 percent use vertical sites
- And 42 percent use comparison shopping sites
An average of 7.9 different online media sources are used by consumers who are looking to find out more about products or services in their local area – which marks an increase from the 6.5 sources recorded in 2009. It goes without saying that these sources include most of the review sites you should know about: Google Places (now Google+ Local), Yelp, Insider Pages, Angie’s List, Yahoo! Local, Citysearch, YellowPages.com, Urbanspoon, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Agoda, among many others.
Online media: more than a source of information
The study also reveals that an increasing number of consumers are using online media to do more than just find information: they’re also using online coupons, checking and posting reviews, and making appointments.
In fact, 19 percent of the study’s respondents have, in the past six months, scheduled an appointment online – be it a restaurant reservation, a business appointment, an automotive service call, or a healthcare or medical services appointment.
Stay on top of what’s happening online and take control of the information that your potential customers can see about your business. Claim your business listings, complete your social media business profiles, and begin tracking customer reviews. Still haven’t claimed your online business listings and profiles? Check out our guide to claiming your listing on 55 business review sites.