Online reviews are an extremely crucial part of modern consumers’ purchase behavior. More than ever, reviews guide and influence people as they decide where to eat, where to stay, and where to go.
Thanks to the success and popularity of sites like Cars.com, Edmunds, and DealerRater, online reviews are making a big impact on the decisions of car shoppers, too.
The latest industry statistics reveal that 7 out of 10 auto shoppers believe that online dealership reviews are either a “very” or “extremely” important part of their research process. Moreover, according to a study last year by DealerRater and Dataium, car shoppers are 5.3 times more likely to convert to a lead when dealers have positive online reviews.
Now, another study – this time by automotive reviews site Cars.com – sheds new light on how reviews impact the behavior of today’s car shoppers, as well as the online business reputation of dealerships and automotive businesses.
Request for reviews during peak times
Conducting a text analysis of nearly a million user-generated reviews on its site, Cars.com found that customers like to leave feedback during office hours. In fact, more than half – 52 percent – of dealer reviews posted on Cars.com are left between 10 AM to 4 PM, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as the peak days for review writers.
Cars.com advertising insights senior manager Simon Tiffen said, “Since consumers are most likely to leave a review during mid-day, it makes sense for manufacturers and dealerships to capitalize on that behavior. If you’re asking customers to submit a review, time your communication for when they’re most open to sharing, which often means during typical working hours.”
By taking advantage of this information and using tools like ReviewTrackers’ Feedback and Review Request feature, automotive companies and marketers can optimize requests for reviews – an important component of reputation building efforts in an increasingly competitive industry.
Strengthen brand image and gain an edge by responding to reviews
Cars.com’s analysis also shows that only few are savvy enough to take advantage of the opportunity to respond to their reviews. Cars.com found that less than 33 percent of all its dealership reviews are answered.
The companies that do respond to their online reviews enjoy higher levels of engagement and better ratings. For example, dealerships in Delaware have an average response rate of over 60 percent (the highest in the US) – and enjoy aggregated ratings of 4.7 of 5; while South Dakota dealerships, which collectively only respond to reviews at a rate of less than 10 percent, have lower ratings with an average of 3.9 of 5. (The overall average of Cars.com dealership ratings is 4.6 of 5.)
“Online reviews are more than social proof; they’re equity for dealerships,” said Tiffen. “Now that reading and writing online reviews is normal behavior for consumers, we’re able to aggregate and analyze real-life experiences to make tangible improvements to the shopping process – not to mention find out some fun stuff along the way.”
If you have any questions about how to more effectively manage online reviews on Cars.com and other automotive review sites, give us a call and our friendly team will show you how to get started. You can also request a demo of ReviewTrackers and enjoy exclusive access to our award-winning reputation software platform, used and loved by thousands of dealership locations.