The colossal shift in shopper behavior
No matter how we look at the data, there has been a massive shift in shopper behavior, most notably in the way people start shopping. Even people planning to shop locally now begin with an online search. We’re not talking an incremental shift of a small percentage. We’re talking the vast majority of shoppers have changed how they start shopping. What’s more, they heavily weigh a local business’s online listings in their purchase decision.
Today, 89% of shoppers start shopping with a search. They turn to review sites and listings to comparison shop business before they start comparison shopping products or the cost of services. Most importantly, the information shoppers find (or don’t find in most cases) shapes their decision more now than ever. According to Google, 90% of shoppers say the reviews they found influenced their decision.
If a business doesn’t pass the shopper’s first test by having a strong online review listing (or a listing at all), it will likely lose that customer’s interest and business. It’s highly unlikely the prospective customer will visit your homepage, let alone visit your physical store, if you don’t claim your business’ listings on Yelp, Google, etc. With this shift in shopper behavior, local shops need to better understand the role their review listings play in the fight for foot traffic.
Your review listings are the new homepage
It’s time to think of your review listings as your storefront, your OPEN sign, and your front door—all rolled into one—to new customers. If you’re not showing up where they’re looking, then they won’t know you exist, let alone that you’re open for business and the best choice in town.
It used to be that a business only needed a nice online website and a Yellow Pages listing for shoppers to find and visit their store. Not anymore. Your home page, while very important, is not the first stop a shopper makes anymore. They’re starting with your various online review site listings.
Start by showing up where they’re already looking for you. You don’t need a web developer or designer to get your listings a Grade-A facelift. Review listings are mostly informational and provide prospective customers with information like business location, hours and days of operation, relevant links. Throw in a few photos to give a sense of what you do, where you’re located, and what your store looks like, and you’ll be well on your way.
If you’re not claiming and managing your review listings, you’re giving up a chance to get in front of 90% of the shoppers looking for restaurants, services, and products like yours. If you’re hesitant to employ review sites in your business, you’re not alone. But that’s not a good reason to keep avoiding it.
“Showing up is 80% of life.” – Woody Allen, also quoted by Google in regards to winning the battle for traffic
Don’t feel like you need to tackle your online review strategy in one sitting. You don’t have to be a review pro. You don’t need specialists, teams, or a 12-point plan. You just need to start. So start by claiming your listing so you show up when shoppers come searching. Don’t forfeit your foot-traffic by not showing up.
Take time this week to claim a few of your online listings. Be sure the information you provide is accurate customers can find and contact your shop. Below are links to the most used review sites and their respective claim my business pages.
If you’d like to learn more how to manage these listings from one location, get notifications for new reviews, missing information, or when information may be outdated, learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!