Online reviews are gaining in importance as a resource consumers turn to before making spending decisions. This is one of the key findings from a Nielsen study conducted among 2,000 US consumers in the fall of 2016. Nielsen found that 74% of the consumers searching online for a local business turn to consumer online review sites at least monthly. The study, which was commissioned by Yelp, also claims that consumers who find businesses through online consumer review sites, like Yelp, have a higher purchase intent, ordered faster and drive higher conversions than popular social media sites and search engines.
In general, that may be true. In February 2016, Trustpilot, a consumer review website, surveyed 1,132 internet users. In all, 80.7% of the survey participants said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few survey participants said that reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to purchase. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant.
The study claims that 92% of the survey participants, who use consumer online review sites, said they made a purchase after visiting Yelp. 25% revealed they made a purchase within a few hours after visiting Yelp, 42% within a day or less and 79% within a week or less. 85% of Yelp users shared the businesses they found on Yelp with friends at least frequently or occasionally.
Consumers who use consumer online review sites rank Yelp as the most trusted, most influential and most useful for making a final purchase decision when compared to other consumer online review sites and excluding search engines and social media platforms. That may be true for consumers, but in a recent study B2B social network Alignable reported that small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) in North-America have an unfavorable opinion of Yelp and other digital marketing firms, including Web.com, Yext, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List and Groupon. Most of these services have been sold aggressively in a competitive local digital marketing and have not met the expectations of many SMB’s.