New Uberall Study Finds That Shoppers Want Stores to Respond to Customer Reviews

By Josha Benner, Co-Founder, Uberall

At Uberall, we recently announced the results of our “Customer Review Report”. The survey analyzes how shoppers evaluate brick-and-mortar store reviews online. For the study we commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S.

Here’s a closer look at some of our findings.

65% of shoppers believe that stores should respond to customer reviews.

While consumers are the ones posting online customer reviews, brands are closely monitoring what’s being said. But should they actually respond to reviews? It’s critical for brands to have a proactive voice in these conversations. Ready-to-buy shoppers aren’t just looking for positive online reviews ⏤ they’re actually evaluating the quality of an in-store experience based on online responsiveness.

The report found that 65% of respondents believe that stores should respond every time, whether the review is positive or negative. In addition, 18% believe they should respond only when the review is negative, while 10% feel they should never respond and 6% think they should only respond when the review is positive.

More than 3 out of 4 customers think a store’s responses should be personal.

When asked how personalized a store’s responses should be to a customer review, 78% said that there should be some personalization. 49% said responses should be “somewhat personalized,” while 29% said “very personalized.” Just 13% said “not very personalized” and 9% said “not personalized.”

People simply aren’t going to be satisfied with a generic response from a store. Some individualization is required to show that the brand cares about the customer. These results perfectly show why platforms like Google and Yelp spend so much energy on enforcing that businesses post personal responses instead of generic, meaningless ones.

More than 80% are likely to shop at a store that responds to reviews.

Consumers prefer businesses who care about them. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that personal responses to reviews show just that to consumers who research a business. When asked how likely they’d be to shop at a store that responds to online reviews, 86% said they’d be more likely. Of that group, 47% said “somewhat more likely,” while 39% said “more likely.” Only 8% said “somewhat less likely” while 6% said “not likely.” Responding to reviews is great for brand perception which leads to more new customers and repeat business from existing ones.

Almost 20% check store reviews every time.

When asked how often the survey’s respondents check customer reviews to help them figure out where to shop, 57% said "occasionally", while 19% said “all the time.” Seventeen percent said “rarely” and 7% said “very rarely.” Most people are checking store reviews to pick where to shop. There will be greater growth for those who always check, as more brands invest in driving eyeballs to their reviews, given the ROI they can deliver.

About 75% of shoppers think that online reviews are important.

Customer reviews are important, period. When asked about the importance of online customer reviews for a store, 74% cited them as either “moderately important” (40%) or “very important” (34%). Just 20% said “slightly important” and 6% said they were “not important”. With so many options out there, stores live or die based on their ratings.

Nearly 40% of consumers define a positive review as 4.0 and up.

The idea of what constitutes a positive review varies. Uberall discovered that 39% consider “4.0 and up” a positive review. Other responses include: “3.5 and up” (20%), “4.5 and up” (15%), “5.0” (13%), “3.0 and up” (8%), “1.5 and up” (3%), “2.5 and up” (2%) and “2.0 and up” (1%). Many people think a positive review has to be a 4.0 or up. This isn’t a surprise. Brands need to keep this in mind when evaluating their online presence. If a store has a rating under 4.0, that’s just not good enough anymore.

Our latest study shows that everybody cares about customer reviews. Shoppers look to customer reviews to decide if they’re going to choose a business and businesses follow them to better understand how their store is perceived. Customer reviews will only become more and more important as shoppers continue to rely heavily on them for their purchasing decisions and in their daily lives.

Read more here.