Every business has a digital storefront
Imagine you arrive at work and find a note from an angry customer plastered across your front door. You would probably feel embarrassed, annoyed, and angry. You may even want to track down the writer of the rude note. You’d definitely make sure you did everything you could to remedy the situation.
This is how a lot of business owners feel about online reviews and recommendations. They see it as a place for angry customers to slam their business and tarnish their reputation. This is a narrow view of a bigger consumer trend.
The truth is, when you properly manage and leverage your online business presence and online reputation, you’ll attract more customers to your business without even trying. Taking ownership of your online business reputation is like arriving to work and finding your storefront covered in love notes from happy customers.
Word of mouth still happens, but the conversations have moved online. Every business, even a local brick-and-mortar one, has a digital storefront comprised of your business listings on local search and online review sites. Even if you don’t have a website, your customers and future shoppers can leave recommendations and comments on sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor.
While foot traffic is dropping for small businesses, physical stores still retain 90% of sales from customers whose intent to buy is up 3x! Instead of window shopping and seeing signs on your storefront, however, 90% of shoppers are turning to online reviews to decide where to spend their money. They’re checking out your digital storefront.
A quick alert is an effective alert
Let’s say for a second you did have someone posting mean notes on your store. Chances are your security system would kick in, do its job, and notify you of the threat. Most businesses across America pay for robust security systems, but most of them overlook one of the most crucial areas when it comes to protecting their stores.
Small businesses are at a greater risk of digital threats than physical ones but only 23% have any sort of insurance or notification system in place to cover themselves should something happen to their online reputation. What’s more, over two-thirds of businesses haven’t claimed their online review listings, so people can leave comments and reviews and you may not even know.
Should you get a negative review, it’s important to have a system in place to let you know, and as quickly as possible. As is the case with burglaries, fires or other physical damage to your store, the earlier an alarm sounds, the less damage is done.
While negative reviews do happen, it’s nothing to stress over. It’s just important that you find them early and respond to them as quickly as possible.
Manage negative reviews with positive feedback
As important as it is to know when someone has said something about your store online, it is even more important to have a system in place to get more positive reviews that accurately promote your business. The best way to manage negative reviews is to keep the positive reviews flowing.
Most people consider any review or recommendation older than three months irrelevant. They want fresh, recent, and frequent reviews. Keeping your reviews current is also the best way to keep negative reviews from doing any damage.
As was the case with the coffee shop that was showered with praise, it is a business owner’s dream to have their storefront decorated by admiring fans. Most would go out of their way for this kind of acclaim and recognition—the same should be done online. Find your most loyal customers and invite them to share their positive experiences with other potential customers on their favorite review sites. More often than not, they are happy to do so and flattered that you asked.
Your online business reputation is one of the most powerful ways to attract new customers and boost sales and foot traffic. It’s important that small businesses treat their online storefront just as they would their physical one.
At Womply, we create the tools small business owners need to take control of online reviews, comments, and recommendations. Managing reviews, responding to comments, and getting more customers to review your store has never been easier. To see how you can get a system in place to protect your business on all fronts, learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!