Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations

The recent (2012) Search Engine Land’s Local Consumer Review Survey shows that since 2010, consumers are more likely to use the Internet to find local businesses, and they are doing it more often.  They are also just as likely to turn to the internet, and trust online reviews as they are to ask for personal recommendations about local businesses.

  • 85% of consumers surveyed have used the internet to find a local business in the past 12 months. This number is up from 79% in 2010.
  • The majority of consumers surveyed use online reviews to make spending decisions. 27% of consumers are regularly reading online reviews, while another 49% are occasional readers.
  • 65% of consumers (up from 58% in 2010) are reading between 2-10 reviews when researching local businesses.
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as they do to personal recommendations.
  • 58% of consumers trust a business which has positive online reviews (up from 55% in 2010)
  • 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews
  • 28% of consumers cite location &/or price as main decision making factor (down from. 38% in 2010)

If you own a business, the statistics are clear, you need a strong online presence, you also need to monitor reviews and be proactive in following up with reviewers in a positive and constructive manner.

Reviews, even negative have always been opportunities to learn, to improve and create fans, do not ignore them, acknowledge reviewers, make things right if you can, pledge to improve, be transparent and truthful

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Car Dealership Reviews Affect Purchase Decision

Almost seven in 10 consumers said dealership reviews affected their purchase decision

Just like consumers in almost every other sector of ecommerce, car shoppers are doing their research online before heading out to make a purchase. According to an April 2012 poll by Digital Air Strike of US consumers who had purchased a car in the last six months, review sites were a widely used tool by car buyers during the research phase of their purchase process. In fact, 69% of consumers said review sites had an impact on the dealership they visited.

Half of respondents said reading reviews of dealerships had affirmed their choice of where to make a purchase, while about one-quarter said the reviews had no effect on them. But online feedback from other customers held an outsized influence on a small minority of car shoppers—14% said reviews were the sole reason they had decided to visit a dealership. And 5% decided to change the dealership they bought from after reading negative reviews online.

And when it came to actually buying, almost seven in 10 shoppers said reviews had aided them in their purchase decision. About four in 10 said the reviews helped them in a general sense, while three in 10 had decided to purchase from a particular dealer based on online feedback from other customers. Moreover, if a dealership had been completely absent from review sites, one in 10 respondents would have been less likely to purchase from them.

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