Consumers, more than ever, are turning to online reviews to make purchasing choices for restaurants, hotels, and even doctors according to a recent survey from BrightLocal, a local marketing company. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Healthgrades, Google+ and other business listing sites offer a chance for consumers to rate their experiences.
In addition, just about every major retailer offers people the opportunity to comment on products and read unbiased reviews from other consumers — social marketing is a major factor in how purchasing choices are being made today.
Below are some highlights from the survey:
The BrightLocal survey asked consumers how many times have they used online reviews to find a local business. 37% of consumers used the internet to find local businesses at least one time per month (up from 34% in 2012) and only 5% said they do not search online for a local business.
- Restaurants – 67% of consumers searched for restaurants (up from 57% in 2012)
- Doctor / Dentists – 35% (up from 27%)
- General Shop – 35% (35% in 2013)
- Hotel/B&B/Guest House – 30% (down from 35%)
- Clothes Shop – 28%
In addition to locating the right business, consumers said they read online reviews to find a reputable business, product or service. As a matter of fact 85% of the survey participants say that they read online reviews for local businesses (up from 76% in 2012) and only 15% of consumers say that they don’t read online reviews, according to BrightLocal.
An interesting question posed was how many online reviews do people in general read before they make a decision. The BrightLocal survey found that 67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less* (up from 52% in 2012).
These online reviews carry significant weight as 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (up from 72% in 2012). In addition, 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more (up from 58% in 2012) and 65% of consumers are more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews (up from 52% in 2012).