24 July 2013,


As a consumer, we’ve all looked up product or service reviews before going ahead with a purchase. We all know how important reviews are in today’s environment – but just how much of an impact do they have on a consumer’s mindset? And are they becoming even more significant as people become more familiar with sites like YELP or Google’s review system?

Let’s examine these in more detail.

1. Number of customers that search for local businesses online


Key Findings:

The number of consumers that now use the internet to find local businesses has increased, as well as the regularity at which they search for information via the internet.


  • Only 15% of consumers said that they had not used the Internet to find a local business (vs. 21% in 2010)
  • 16% of consumers said they used the Internet every week to find local businesses (vs. 9% in 2010)

Although the ability to be found online has more to do with your sites online marketing and SEO, the results clearly show that people are performing more searches online today, and consequently, it becomes even more imperative to have positive reviews.

2. The influence of online reviews and its impact on selecting a local business


Key Findings

Local consumers are now considering online reviews as an important factor in deciding which local businesses to use. Location and price are less important as reviews are as they don’t guarantee quality or reliability.

We can also confidently say that the majority of people also trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.


  • 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews
  • Just 28% of consumers cite location &/or price as main decision making factor (vs. 28% in 2010)
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

 3. The financial impact of positive reviews


It’s clear that reviews are extremely important for the local business. The more positive reviews there are, the more likely consumers will purchase from that business.

That’s great, but as a business owner, you want to know what the ROI is. How much money is there to gain (or how much have we lost) due to our online reviews?

Great question. Let’s look at a Harvard study conducted in 2011.


They found that a mere increase of one-star increase among Yelp reviews of Seattle restaurants led to 5 – 9% growth in revenue.

This easily translates to thousands of dollars lost due to poor reviews against your business. Based on that, you can easily see the financial impact of negative reviews.


Consumers are now turning to the internet to seek out local businesses. The majority of them will check a businesses ratings before purchasing from them, and all statistics point towards both these trends continuing to increase.

Thanks to BrightLocal for providing the statistics mentioned above.

Now that you know how important online reviews are, how will you go about improving your online rating?

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