Should retailers respond to every consumer review?
Retailers closely monitor reviews posted by consumers online, but should they respond to them? According to a recently completed survey of U.S. consumers, the overwhelming response to that question was, “Yes!”
The study of 1,000 consumers conducted by Uberall, a location marketing supplier, found that 65 percent of consumers believe retailers should respond to every review, both positive and negative. Another 18 percent think retailers should respond in the case of negative reviews, while six percent believe responses are only warranted in cases of positive reviews. Only 10 percent said that no response is ever needed.
“It’s critical for brands to have a proactive voice in these conversations,” said Josha Benner, Uberall co-founder, in a statement. “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.”
Eighty-six percent of the survey respondents said they were more likely to shop at stores when the retailer responded to reviews and 47 percent said they were “somewhat more likely.” Thirty-nine percent answered they were “more likely” to shop in stores where responses to reviews were posted.
While it’s important to respond to reviews, based on the study’s findings, it’s also necessary to avoid boilerplate responses. Seventy-eight of percent of respondents believe that responses should be “somewhat” or “very personalized.”
“Consumers prefer businesses who care about them, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that personal responses to reviews show just that to consumers who research a business,” said Mr. Benner. “Responding to reviews is great for brand perception which leads to more new customers and repeat business from existing ones.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What role do you think online reviews of a retailer play in traffic to its stores? What criteria should merchants establish when it comes to when and how to respond to online reviews of their businesses?