As we have reported before (for example, 1, 2), customer reviews and comments made at social media sites can have a large impact on a company’s image and performance.

Consider these recent observations from eMarketer:

“Customer reviews have gotten more important for local businesses over the years, according to research. And that means positive reviews appear to be having a bigger effect than in the past. Based on 2015 polling from local search marketing firm BrightLocal, more than two-thirds of US internet users trust businesses more because of positive online reviews. While that’s down slightly from 2014, it still represents a significant increase over 2010 levels of trust in positive reviews. Five years ago, 45% of respondents said they either didn’t pay attention to online reviews at all, or didn’t let reviews influence them. This year, that share is down to 32%.”


Click the chart to learn more.


8 Replies to “Online Customer Reviews Important for Local Businesses”

  1. I agree that online customer reviews are important for local businesses. Both negative and positive comments can help or hurt a business. Consumers are using more on line reviews more than ever. Many parents use Facebook when they need to purchase an item and are not sure where to buy it . There are town groups i.e. Commack Moms and they ask the questions and both positive and negative feedback about the business is posted for everyone to see. The business owners need or should dedicate time to make sure they are aware of any comments about their businesses.

  2. I agree with this article. Online reviews are so important to a company these days because of the wide use of technology. I personally look at reviews before visiting certain shops. For example if I wanted to find a reputable automobile shop in my area I would search the reviews on each shop and choose the best one.

  3. Before placing an order online, I always look at the customer reviews. If there are bad reviews from some sellers on Amazon, I never place an order from them. However, I’m also influenced by the positive reviews, as well. If someone raves about a certain brand on social media platforms (and their comments are not sponsored), I try to remember that when I have to buy something. However, I also remember negative comments from social media. For example, a friend of mine posted online about a certain cosmetics company and how there was a malware breach where customer’s personal information such as name, address, and card numbers were leaked.

  4. I am not surprised that the study concluded that local businesses are significantly affected by online customer reviews. Due to technology, practically everyone today has some form of online access – whether it be on a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer. This makes it easy for patrons of a business to share their experience at an establishment, for potential customers to learn about previous customers’ experiences, and puts pressure on establishments to emphasize customer satisfaction. People are looking to get the most value for their money, and reviewing businesses online before making purchases allows people to fulfill their desire of making an educated decision.

  5. Online reviews is to today’s world, as what disco was to life in the 70s. I completely agree with this article as I feel online reviews are tremendously important. Whether it is choosing a Saturday night movie on Rotten Tomatoes, a new restaurant to experience on Yelp, or even the satisfaction of an Amazon product, online reviews are my best bet. Recently, my friend was looking for an off-campus room for NYU. The pictures were beautiful, the description fantastic, and the price wonderful! However, it wasn’t until he noticed the unsatisfactory reviews did he quickly look for another place to live because this place was a scam! People love to hear fellow peoples’ critiques with products or experiences before spending big bucks. Just as we discussed about word of mouth suggestions, online reviews work similarly. When an individual sees almost a straight 5 stars reviews across the board with multiple postings from various individuals, one feels more secure in investing in this product! Additionally, local businesses and all businesses can read the pros and the cons in what they are doing wrong and only improve from there on out to make their business/company better!

  6. I think customer reviews could potentially be the most important thing that affects a business depending on the industry. For example, when I go on yelp and search for a restaurant to go to I only look for restaurants that get 4 stars and up. I am certainly not going to go to the restaurant that has a 2 star rating. However for companies like home depot or radio shack I am not going to care if they get rated two stars if I am searching to buy a light bulb or speaker wire because it will be the same no matter where I go.

  7. I also agree that online customer reviews are very important to gaining or diminishing the popularity of local businesses. I am not from Long Island, therefore I am very unfamiliar with what restaurants, diners, or cafes are good to go to around here. When my boyfriend comes to visit on the weekends, I religiously use the app “Yelp” to locate and read reviews on local eateries. I find most customer reviews to be very honest and helpful. Often times they will even go as far as posting a picture of their meal to give other consumers a chance to see what the presentation looks like before they go to the restaurant.

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