How Online Product Reviews Impact Brick and Mortar Sales
| By Oscar King
There’s widespread speculation that traditional brick and mortar businesses are on their way out; that they’ll soon become extinct, no thanks to online retailers like Amazon. But, this isn’t technically true.
Yes, regular brick and mortar businesses without any innovative solutions might become extinct. But those who focus on customer experience and creating a seamless connection between online and brick-and-mortar processes will thrive.
Amazon itself is setting up brick and mortar locations. These stores known as Amazon 4-Star stores are designed to showcase only their highest-rated products, and bring them closer to customers. They wouldn’t that if they didn’t think it was a viable business model.
This goes to show that the brick and mortar business model still works. You just need to integrate viable, working solutions into the current processes.
And a key contributor to this outcome is online reviews. It’s not enough to be satisfied with people just buying stuff and leaving. You need to get them to interact more with your brand online. Brick and mortar businesses that have mastered this enjoy good exposure, and have a healthy bottom line to show for it.
Creating a Powerful Customer Experience
At the heart of great customer reviews and brand perception is an awesome customer experience. This is why you need to create a powerful customer experience process.
Anyone who buys from you or hires your service should be happy and satisfied. And if they are unsatisfied, they should be appeased.
Remember, unsatisfied customers will tell at least 7 people who then go on to spread the bad news.
Ultimately, this action hurts your brand and business. So, you have to obsess over high level customer experience. Amazon, Walmart, and other business with massive online presence are gaining such massive traction because buyers enjoy their experience with them.
If you get this right, you never have to worry about bad online reviews or poor ratings. You will always have great rating and perception.
How Online Product Reviews Influence Intending Buyers
In a survey carried out by Podium, 93 percent of respondents stated that online reviews helps when they’re making a buying decision. Also, millennials and Gen Z folks are more likely to choose a restaurant based on what people say about them on Yelp, Google and other directories.
About 75 percent of patients look up dentists and doctors before booking an appointment with their practice. The rating system is everywhere, and people are fast adopting it.
So, if you have more negative reviews than positive, chances are your business will struggle because people will avoid your business and go to your competition –even if your services are better or you have superior products.
Like it or not, we now live in a review-based economy. It’s all about how you’re perceived online. You need to understand that and set up processes and systems that will produce as many verified and legit positive reviews as possible.
Positive Reviews and Perception >/= Increased Sales, Revenue and Growth
So, how will you go about this? Are you just hoping that your customer will be kind enough to give you a 5-star rating or do you have a solid system that encourages them to do so?
Have you set up a seamless process that makes it very easy for your customers and clients to tell the positive experience they had at your business on Yelp, Google, or BBB? Let’s explore this in the next section.
4 Super-Effective Ways to Generate and Manage Online Reviews
Just like bad PR, negative reviews are the stuff of nightmare. They can close down thriving businesses. Good customer reviews on the other hand, can result in a full calendar, more leads, better customers, and a healthy bottom line. But you need to know how to go about it.
1. Ask for Reviews from Customers
This is the first step. Some brick and mortar businesses even go as far as including a rating system on their app after you’ve paid for the service or product. We recommend offering incentives for this. Could be in the form of loyalty points, discounts or rewards.
Most don’t need any of that though/. If your service or product is good, they’ll happily leave a positive review. Also, avoid using fake reviews. Consumers are getting better at spotting fake reviews –which end up hurting your reputation even more.
Plus, Yelp and Google’s algorithm has gotten increasingly better at weeding out fake reviews. Culprits are also usually penalized if they’re suspect. It’s not worth the time and money. Always choose legit reviews from real people, particularly if it’s on Google.
2. Remind Customers
Sometimes, customers want to leave positive reviews, but they either forget or get distracted. So, send the occasional reminder via email or text message. Of course, these messages have to be worded properly. So, something along the lines of
“Hi John, it was great to see you. We hope you are satisfied with your purchase/our service. If you are, kindly share your positive experience with others here (insert URL/hyperlink here)”
Will work just fine.
3. Be Personable and Active
Review platforms are a great way to encourage public interaction between you and the customer. It’s also an opportunity to show intending customers that there’s a real human being at the other end. So, you need to start responding to every review. Thank the satisfied customers for their patronage, and address the concerns of those who weren’t satisfied.
4. Have a “Crisis Mitigation” Process for Combatting Negative Reviews
When you’re running a business, it can be hard to monitor reviews in real time. The good thing is you can set up alerts so you’re notified when there’s a new review. But, they don’t always work.
Worse still, you might completely miss the negative reviews. And sometimes, the difference between a viral negative review and one that isn’t is a quick resolution. Remember, negative reviews can have a damning effect on how you’re perceived online.
However, with automated review monitoring software/systems, you can quickly spot these, and jump on to put out the flames very quickly.
The truth is no matter how great your service or product is, some customers will be unsatisfied. There’s not much you can do about their gripe. However, there’s a lot you can do about how you respond.
Do your best, and even if they’re still unsatisfied, don’t worry about it. People actually expect to see some negative reviews.
Do You Need Help with Managing Online Reviews?
Reputation Studio offers an AI-powered enterprise online reputation management (ORM) system that automates review monitoring and response. This leaves you free to focus on delivering excellent products while your brand perception becomes even better, and your business continues to enjoy better sales and revenue.
Interested? Schedule a Demo today and let’s show you how to automate your online reviews.