Consumer reliance on online reviews continues to grow. People consult reviews for nearly everything – from shopping for products and services to selecting a healthcare provider.
A brick-and-mortar store is no different. An Invesp study revealed that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, while OuterBox found that 8 in 10 shoppers use their smartphones to check product reviews while in-store.
Online reviews provide valuable insights into businesses, offering information on customer satisfaction, service quality and product reliability. Simply put: Good online reviews equals more foot traffic.
To see just how crucial online reviews are for businesses, we’re going to discuss:
- The Benefits of Online Reviews to Brick-And-Mortar Retailers
- How To Get More Consumer Reviews
- Tips for Managing and Responding to Customer Feedback
Benefits of Online Reviews to Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
An excellent online reputation gives your store a competitive edge over other local retailers. It helps attract more customers who may have yet to visit.
See how online reviews can benefit your brick-and-mortar business:
A brick-and-mortar store with zero customer feedback online seems sketchy. Online consumer reviews make your brand seem more legitimate and increase the trustworthiness of your store. Before customers walk through your door, they want to know they can trust you with their time and money.
Since shoppers can’t see your products in person, Google reviews search offers a glimpse of the quality they can expect from you. Good reviews prove that you have satisfied customers in the past, which can sway them to shop at your store.
Add Social Proof
Another great benefit of Google reviews for business is social proof. Social proof is when an individual’s opinion or decision is influenced by the views of others in their social circle. In other words, if someone sees that many people are happy with your store, they will take those reviews into account and may be more likely to shop there, too.
Leveraging consumer reviews is a great way to increase trust and attract more customers to your physical store. It’s also free; you don’t have to invest in costly marketing campaigns or hire influencers when customers can vouch for you.
Generate Positive Publicity
People love to share their experiences online; the more satisfied customers you have, the more people will talk about your store on social media and review websites.
User-generated content, such as video reviews, can go viral and spread the word about your store to an even wider audience. This positive publicity plays a huge role in boosting discoverability and getting more customers through the door.
Yelp and Google business reviews also expand your audience. Forty-nine percent of consumers rely on online reviews like Google reviews search as much as personal recommendations, so make sure your customer service is top-notch and encourage people to review their experiences online.
Get Feedback on Your Products/Services
When customers leave Google reviews for business, they often include details about their experience, including what went well and what could have been improved. This provides you with invaluable insight into how to enhance your offerings.
With customer feedback, it can be easier to know exactly how customers feel about your store – reviews provide objective data and help you see where improvements are necessary.
Appear on Google’s Local Pack
Increase your brick and mortar store’s discoverability by appearing on Google’s Local Pack – a list of three local businesses near the top of search engine result pages.
Being featured in the Local Pack can bring an influx of customers to your brick and mortar store since users typically click on one or more of the businesses listed.
Google takes into consideration customer ratings when considering businesses for its Local Pack. Ensure your brick and mortar store appears on this valuable list by encouraging customers to post online reviews.
Get Insights Into Customer Preferences
A positive review won’t only tell you what customers liked, but it’ll also provide insight into customer preferences. This information is critical for developing effective marketing strategies and staying ahead of the competition.
Suppose your store specializes in home decor; Google business reviews reveal which types of products are most popular with customers, allowing you to focus on stocking those items in your store.
Location targeting lets you choose specific cities or regions for your marketing campaigns. By default, your ads reach people who are located in, frequently visit or have shown interest in your targeted locations.
Location-based targeting is especially beneficial for a brick-and-mortar store since customers are likelier to shop at a store near them.
What’s more, location targeting is a cost-efficient way to boost your shop’s discoverability. You can narrow the radius of who sees your ads, reducing costs and improving return on investment (ROI). Invest in location-based targeting to increase store discoverability and drive further sales.
Improved Customer Service
Online reviews give you a heads-up on customer service issues before they arise. If customers leave negative feedback about their experience with your staff, it’s best to act quickly to address those concerns.
Remember, a single bad review is enough to turn customers away from your store, so be proactive in monitoring and responding to feedback (more on that later).
How To Get More Reviews for Your Business
A high star rating can be the deciding factor when customers choose to buy a product or service. So, how do you get customers to leave reviews?
Here are some tips:
1. Ask politely and at the right time: Ask your customers to leave reviews when satisfied – after purchase or post-delivery for services. A polite email, text message or review request card can remind them to review your business.
2. Offer incentives: Encourage customers to leave reviews by offering incentives, such as:
- Discounts for leaving a review
- Free shipping when customers leave a review
- Gift cards or vouchers for referring friends and family to your business after leaving a review.
3. Show appreciation: A thank you note or follow-up message is great for showing customers you appreciate their feedback. This encourages customers to leave more reviews in the future.
4. Make it easy: Lessen the friction customers may face when leaving a review by linking directly to the review page from your website or emails. Give customers different options for providing feedback, such as Google, Yelp and Facebook, and attach direct links to each platform.
5. Simplify feedback forms: To ensure customers aren’t overwhelmed, keep questions short and to the point and fields to a minimum. Also, avoid asking multiple-choice questions – open-ended questions ensure you get more detailed responses.
Streamline the review generation process with online review services. A professional review platform can help you generate high-quality reviews while enhancing customer experience.
Dealing With Customer Feedback the Right Way
You can’t satisfy everyone, and at some point, you may receive negative Google business reviews. It’s essential to respond promptly and address the issue professionally. Here are some tips for dealing with customer feedback:
Negative reviews can damage your brick-and-mortar store’s reputation. Still, responding quickly and professionally shows that your brand takes customer service seriously. This goes a long way in improving customer relationships.
Offer an Apology
A sincere apology goes a long way in diffusing an angry or frustrated customer. Remember to be genuine and understanding of their perspective.
Once you’ve addressed the issue, follow up with customers and ask them to update their reviews. A simple “Is there anything else we can do?” message can turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Propose a Solution
It’s important to offer customers a resolution to their problem – this could be a refund or discount on future orders. Doing so helps turn potentially negative sentiment into positive outcomes for your business.
Check for New Reviews
Stay on top of reviews by setting up email alerts for new reviews or using a review monitoring tool, which sends you real-time notifications when you receive a recent review.
Social listening is also a great way to monitor customer sentiment around your brand. You can set up keyword alerts in social media listening tools that send you notifications when someone mentions your company on social media.
Don’t Censor or Manipulate Reviews
About 62% of consumers boycott brands that engage in review censorship (Trustpilot, 2020). The same goes for manipulating reviews in an attempt to appear more favorable. Statistics show 62% of consumers do not tolerate fraudulent reviews.
Instead, respond professionally to show potential customers your commitment to addressing their concerns.
Learn from the Mistake
Negative reviews provide an opportunity to learn about what went wrong and take the necessary steps to prevent reoccurrence. Use this valuable feedback to improve processes, products or services within your store.
Effortlessly Maintain Your Online Reputation With Rize
Managing and responding to customer feedback is a full-time job that should be left to the pros. Rize Reviews offers full-service online review management services, making managing the online reputation for brick and mortar businesses easy.
Partner with us to access the following online review management services:
- Automatically monitor customer reviews across major review sites like Google and Yelp.
- Quickly respond to customer feedback with pre-written response templates or custom messages crafted just for them.
- Get real-time notifications whenever a new review is posted so you can address any issues as soon as possible.
- Analyze your customer reviews to identify trends, see which products are most popular, and get insights into customer sentiment.
- Identify fake reviews with advanced algorithms and technology.
- Use a custom review widget tool to display reviews prominently on your website.
- Maintain a pristine online reputation and attract more customers.
With Rize online review services, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a 5-star review rating. Book a FREE 30-day demo today to get started!