Mardo Cigars: Smoking the competition by proactively getting more positive online reviews

The world is changing quickly and seismically for small businesses, including specialty retailers like Mardo Cigars. For three decades, the company’s namesake, Mardo Abajian, ran a storefront cigar business in Southern California. When retirement led Mardo and his wife, Ann, to Florida around the turn of the last decade, rapid changes in the regulatory and business climate were already putting immense pressure on the business. The company had to change with the times.

Looking for help setting your local business apart from the crowd? Reputation management software can help take your online presence to the next level. Get a free demo today.

When Mardo passed away in mid-2015, the mantle for carrying on — and evolving — the cigar business fell to his son, Gerard, and his son’s best friend, Neil Garcia. Neil and Gerard quickly launched a new direction for the company, named in Mardo’s memory, and built a strategy that includes physical storefronts in Laguna Niguel, California and Sarasota, Florida, in addition to a national e-commerce push.

“The physical stores are important for our loyal regular customers — it’s a place for them to hang out, watch sports, and just relax,” says Neil, who serves as president of Mardo Cigars. “We know we also have to find customers online these days, so we’re changing a lot of things about how a business like ours thinks and works. We’re launching a new website, hiring inside salespeople, and using social media and online advertising to find new customers across the country.”

For both the brick-and-mortar and online businesses, Mardo Cigars relies on its online presence to attract new customers and keep loyal ones coming back. A major aspect of managing the company’s online footprint is getting and maintaining strong ratings on popular consumer sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.

Online reviews have a massive impact on business,” Neil says. “Since we’re just getting started, we hadn’t gotten a lot of reviews, which means nobody’s finding us in their searches on Google and Yelp. And, if you get a negative review, it stands out more when you only have a handful of reviews out there.”

The Digital Age has put tremendous power in the hands of consumers, who can cost a business up to 30 customers by posting one negative online review. On the flip side, technology also opens new opportunities for merchants to reach more customers, increase engagement, and build loyalty. Most small businesses don’t know how to get reviews, but technology is offering solutions.

Mardo’s used Womply to get more online reviews and attract more customers. The process was simple: they used Womply to send email requests for customers to rate their experience from 1-5 stars. From there, happy customers (4-5 stars) received a prompt to click and publish their positive feedback on sites like Yelp, Google, or Facebook.

In their first week, Mardo Cigars sent feedback requests to 16 customers, and 15 responded. All of them gave Mardo Cigars high ratings and clicked the prompt to publish their positive feedback on Yelp or Google. If anyone had given less-than-stellar feedback (1-3 stars), Neil and Gerard would have been able to address the customer’s concerns privately. This prevents negative feedback from going online and creates an opportunity for repeat business, since up to 70% of customers will use a business again if their complaints are resolved.

“We only had a few online reviews before, so getting that many responses was huge for us. I plan to do a lot more with Womply,” Neil says. “We’ve had people come into the store recently and say they found us through our online reviews, so we’re getting more organic traffic.”

Request a demo to see how Womply can help you take control of your online business reputation and attract more customers. If you enjoy a good cigar, browse Mardo’s online store or visit one of its physical locations if you’re nearby.

Blog

How your business structure can affect the sale or succession of your business

In this 7-minute read, learn how your business structure impacts the sale/succession of: Sole proprietorships Partnerships LLCs C corporations S […]

Read More

What is the best exit strategy for your small business?

In this 9-minute read: Top business exit strategies to consider Pros and cons of common exit strategies From the time […]

Read More

Is flat-rate credit card processing the cheapest?

In this 5-minute read: What’s the lowest-cost option for processing credit cards Flate-rate processing vs. interchange plus Subscription flat-rate processing […]

Read More

Small business essentials: How to plan your exit strategy or succession

In this 9-minute read: When to start thinking about a business ownership transition/exit strategy What’s the best type of exit […]

Read More

What’s the cheapest way to accept credit cards?

In this 5-minute read: The absolute least expensive way to accept credit cards Ways to cut down credit card processing […]

Read More

Do I need a merchant bank account to accept credit card payments?

In this 4-minute read: Accepting credit card payments without a merchant account Pros and cons of using a third-party payment […]

Read More

See why Womply is the #1 marketing and CRM solution used by 450,000+ businesses.

By submitting this form you agree to Womply’s Services Agreement