Yelp can be a scary place for some small businesses, but don’t fear the unknown. In reality, just having a presence on the review site can bolster customer awareness and provide small businesses with new customer insights.
While Merchant Warehouse is focused on developing credit card processing and payment solutions to help merchants save money, we also recongize that many of our merchants struggle (as we do) with online reviews. However it's not all bad news the following infographic looks at how small businesses can benefit from consumers' love affair with the review site. You can see additional results from our survey, as well as learn more about how Merchant Warehouse has used our reviews to improve customer support and service here.
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How Yelp Can Help Your Business
People who research online review sites for their purchasing decisions say that text reviews do make an impact. Surprisingly, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation made by their friends or family. The good news is that 90% of Yelp visitors report that positive reviews help their buying decisions.
In addition, research firms have found that customers are influenced by several factors. One survey discovered that 44% of consumers like text reviews, 26% study business ratings, 17% look at the quantity of reviews and 14% ask their friends and family for advice.
People search out businesses on Yelp for many reasons. Some are looking for general types of companies while others are investigating specific stores. The top 5 types of business searches go to restaurants at 78%, beauty and spa sites at 65%, food at 63%, nightlife at 60% and home or local services at 57%. Some of the next popular searches are professional services at 51%, shopping and retail at 43%, pets at 43% and hotels or travel at 42%. The other groups of businesses searched include the auto industry at 40%, arts and entertainment at 35%, health and medical at 32%, real estate at 30% and financial services at 25%. If your business is in one of these categories, you have a good chance of reaching new customers.
YELP INFLUENCES PURCHASES
With reviews and ratings posted on most of the businesses on their site, Yelp provides valuable information to consumers to guide them in their daily purchases. In fact, 93% of savvy customers who seek out review sites will make their purchases at the stores that have positive reviews.
GO FOR THE STARS
Stars or other forms of ratings can help your business gain more traffic and potentially bring in additional income. One study done by UC Berkeley analyzed the star system for several restaurants and the impact of additional stars for those businesses. For example, during prime time dining hours, a restaurant with three stars had a 13% chance of selling out at that time. When a restaurant earned 3.5 stars, that percentage jumped from 13% to 34%. Take that up to four stars, that restaurant would sell out 53% of the time! By increasing your company’s business rating, the potential benefit is staggering.
THE INTERNET AS AN ASSET
As consumers have become more web savvy, they also seek out more information. Because of this, small businesses are participating with more avenues for a viable web presence. Based on a recent survey, 90% of small businesses have a Facebook account and 70% are on Twitter. With social media, small businesses are empowered by the recommendations of their followers.
Yelp can also play a positive role in increasing annual revenue for small businesses. A survey done by Boston Consulting Group reported that companies with Yelp accounts saw an average growth of $8,000 in their annual revenue. Moreover, businesses that advertised on Yelp could see an average increase of $23,000!
Because Yelp has a large consumer base, many companies are pleased with the increased customer awareness. Even negative feedback has helped some companies analyze the way they react to customer complaints.
USE YOUR TOOLS
Amazingly enough, 87% of small businesses don’t take advantage of review sites. Even those who do have Yelp accounts often don’t look at the feedback. If you had a tool that could make your work easier, why not use it? Smart business owners are beginning to understand the value of review sites like Yelp to help them gain more market share, participate directly with customers and potentially earn more income.