STUDY: 65% of Shoppers Say Brands Should Respond to Online Reviews

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Uberall study also found that nearly 80% think responses should be personalized

Uberall, Inc., the location marketing solution for businesses competing to attract and win local brick-and-mortar customers, today announced the results of its “Customer Review Report,” analyzing how shoppers evaluate brick-and-mortar store reviews online. For the study, Uberall commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. The study was conducted from Oct. 1-5, 2018.

65% believe stores should respond to customer reviews

While consumers are the ones posting online customer reviews, brands are closely monitoring what’s being said. But should they actually respond to reviews?

Sixty-five percent of respondents believe that they should respond every time, whether the review is positive or negative. In addition, 18% believe they should respond only when the review is negative, while 10% feel they should never respond and 6% think they should only respond when the review is positive.

“It’s critical for brands to have a proactive voice in these conversations,” said Josha Benner, Uberall Co-Founder. “Ready-to-buy shoppers aren’t just looking for positive online reviews -- they’re actually evaluating the quality of an in-store experience based on online responsiveness.”

More than 3 out of 4 think a store’s responses should be personal

When asked how personalized a store’s responses should be to a customer review, 78% said that there should be some personalization. Forty-nine percent said responses should be “somewhat personalized,” while 29% said “very personalized.” Just 13% said “not very personalized” and 9% said “not personalized.”

“People simply aren’t going to be satisfied with a generic response from a store,” Benner said. “Some individualization is required to show that the brand cares about the customer. These results perfectly demonstrate why platforms like Google and Yelp spend so much energy on enforcing that businesses post personal responses versus generic, meaningless ones.”

More than 80% are likely to shop at a store that responds to reviews

When asked how likely they would be to shop at a store that responds to online reviews, 86% said they would be more likely. Of that group, 47% said “somewhat more likely,” while 39% said “more likely.” Only 8% said “somewhat less likely” while 6% said “not likely.”

“Consumers prefer businesses who care about them, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that personal responses to reviews show just that to consumers who research a business,” says Benner. “Responding to reviews is great for brand perception which leads to more new customers and repeat business from existing ones.”

Almost twenty percent check store reviews everytime

When asked how often the survey’s respondents check customer reviews to help them figure out where to shop, 57% said occasionally, while 19% said “all the time.” Seventeen percent said “rarely” and 7% said “very rarely.”

“Most people are checking store reviews to pick where to shop,” said Benner. “Virtually 20% are checking them all the time, while almost 60% do so with some regularity. I anticipate that there will be greater growth for those who always check, as more brands invest in driving eyeballs to their reviews, given the ROI they can deliver.”

Nearly 75% think online reviews are important

When asked about the importance of online customer reviews for a store, 74% cited them as either “moderately important” (40%) or “very important” (34%). Just 20% said “slightly important” and 6% said they were “not important.”

“Customer reviews are important, period,” added Benner. “Three-quarters of those surveyed said they were either very or fairly influential. With so many options out there, stores live or die based on their ratings.”

Nearly 40% define positive review as 4.0 and up

The idea of what constitutes a positive review varies. Uberall’s discovered that 39% consider “4.0 and up” a positive review. Other responses include: “3.5 and up” (20%), “4.5 and up” (15%), “5.0” (13%), “3.0 and up” (8%), “1.5 and up” (3%), “2.5 and up” (2%) and “2.0 and up” (1%).

“A plurality of people think a positive review has to be a 4.0 or up,” said Benner. “This isn’t a surprise. Brands need to keep this in mind when evaluating their online presence. If you have a store with a rating under 4.0, that’s not good enough anymore.”

About Uberall, Inc.

Uberall is a global leader in location marketing technology. Its flagship Location Marketing Cloud platform empowers the world's biggest brands to connect with their customers and turn online interactions into offline sales. Uberall gives businesses central control of their digital presence and online reputation, enabling them to easily manage brand interactions in real-time on all digital platforms—mobile, voice and desktop—across websites, mobile apps, store locators, search engines, maps, social platforms, and advertising networks. The Location Marketing Cloud provides a consistent, accurate digital brand footprint that helps businesses capture new customers and maximize revenue for every location.

Uberall is headquartered in Berlin, with additional offices in San Francisco, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Cape Town. Its clients include Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders from all over the world.

Learn more at https://www.uberall.com.

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Chris Harihar
Crenshaw Communications
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