97% of customers use online media when researching products or services in their local area. Ranking well in local searches increases the likelihood of conversion, either online or in person. Building a solid reputation across review sites is an important step in boosting your search visibility, acquiring new customers, and managing customer feedback.
To help you in this process, we’ve compiled the top 6 review sites for retail reviews that you should prioritize and actively monitor for each of your locations.
Of all the review sites to manage, Google reviews should be one of your highest priorities because of the direct effect your reviews have on your search ranking. The more recent your reviews are and the higher your average rating, the better you’ll rank in relevant searches. Since Google is usually the first place customers begin their journey, small efforts to optimize your listing go a long way to attract customers.
Begin by creating or verifying your Google Business Profile. Submit or update any relevant information about your business and choose the verification process you prefer (phone, email, postcard, bulk, or instant). Once your business is claimed, you are free to periodically update your listing and respond to reviews (which you should do frequently).
Customers who write Google reviews are verified through their Google account and are prompted to:
- Rate their experience out of 5 stars
- Share details of their experience at a specific location
- Leave pictures with their review (optional)
When inviting your customers to leave Google reviews (in person, through text, or email), be sure to specify why these reviews matter to your business and what aspects of the customer experience you would like feedback on.
For tips on collecting more Google reviews, faster, see Google Business Profile reviews.
Facebook has nearly 2 billion daily active users. And 78% of American consumers have discovered retail products to buy via Facebook. Setting up a business Facebook page for each of your store locations can keep you top of mind for current customers as well as attract potential customers through reviews and recommendations.
After setting up your page, enable customers to leave reviews in the settings tab. This way, customers can share why they recommend your business—and not just to the followers of your page, but to the customers’ friends as well. 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase with a referral from social media. Give customers the chance to become advocates and word-of-mouth marketers of your brand through social media engagement. See our additional tips to optimize your Facebook reviews.
Customers who use Yelp mean business. 97% of people purchase from a local business they visited on Yelp. To optimize your Yelp listing, go beyond including the usual information like hours and services. Include your business license (to show up as a verified business), price estimates, pictures, and unique characteristics about your history or ownership. This piques customers’ interest and boosts your credibility on a site that customers value.
Begin by claiming your business, updating your information, and responding to your reviews. In addition to leaving reviews, customers can also use the platform to ask questions, make appointments, or request quotes from your business. While Yelp recommendation software is designed to be voluntary and not incentivized, Yelp still offers review badges for your website, widgets to embed your favorite reviews on social media, or free “Find Us On Yelp” stickers to display in your stores. An active presence on Yelp helps turn visitors into customers. Check out our full Guide to Yelp Reviews for more info.
Just because traveling is put on hold for now doesn’t mean that retail shopping is stalled. Tripadvisor is still a popular review site for retail customers—claiming 490 million unique monthly visitors. This directory helps customers find businesses as well as other local attractions to review and visit. While the site is free, stores looking to up their game can choose from paid packages to include click-to-call options, sponsored placements, ad-free listings, and data tracking for business listings.
Customers who leave reviews are prompted to rate their experience on a scale of terrible to excellent, including details of their experience, share the time frame of their visit, and upload a photo to the business page. And remember, each of these visits and reviews is tied to a specific location (if you have multiple locations, the reviews at each matter!) Many of the optional questions relate to travelers and tourism. Tripadvisor will remove any reviews that customers are rewarded for writing. However, Tripadvisor still encourages businesses to respond to customer reviews and even offers a paid program to send review requests to recent customers via email.
Originally founded as Consumers Union in 1936, Consumer Reports serves as a longstanding “independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace.” Funded entirely by its members who pay to access their database, this organization buys, tests, and researches a wide variety of products ranging from appliances, homes, electronics, cars, food, and health products. They provide and congregate in-depth reviews (from research experts and consumers) relating to product safety, value, reliability, owner satisfaction, and more.
In addition to providing reviews and creating user scores for products, they share buyers guides to help customers know what to look for when shopping in specific industries and categories. And now, the site also rates stores and provides affiliate links for customers to purchase products through retailers—which is why it’s a good idea for your business to be involved with Consumer Reports. You cannot pay for advertisements, placements, reviews, or ratings of products on the website. But if you meet the standards of transparency and honorable marketplace practices, you could qualify to become a commercial service partner of Consumer Reports. Members of Consumers Reports can easily transition from reviewing a product to purchasing through your website, and you’d be supporting a nonprofit mission for fairness and sustainability.
Yahoo’s Localworks initiative is an all-in-one platform to help small business owners and startups manage their business listings across a network of 70+ directories including digital maps, apps, social networks, GPS systems, and search engines. Ensure accurate information for your customers across several channels, respond to reviews from one place, and receive intelligent data reports to evaluate your acquisition strategies. Choose from a standard or premium plan for $23 – $33 per month.
Check out a free demo of Podium Reviews to see how you can maximize your online reviews, improve your reputation, and increase customer satisfaction at every store location.