Consumers Turn to Google, Yelp, Facebook for Online Store Reviews

A new study finds that two-thirds of brands don’t respond to online customer reviews and lose customers as a result.

November 30, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – Google is the most-used review service, according to a new study released by Uberall Inc., on how shoppers evaluate brick-and-mortar store reviews online. What review aggregators and platforms do shoppers tend to go to the most when researching bricks-and-mortar stores?

When asked this question, the top-five responses were:

  • Google Maps & Reviews (51%)
  • Yelp (36%)
  • Facebook (35%)
  • Better Business Bureau (22%)
  • TripAdvisor (15%) 

Instagram, Angie’s List and Yahoo Local Listings were tied for 6th place with 13% each. Yellowpages (10%) was in 7th place, followed by Foursquare (3%) and Manta (1%).

“Google is dominant in customer reviews,” said Jha Benner, Uberall co-founder, in a press release. “But Yelp and Facebook are obviously very popular, as well. Facebook, in particular, is well-positioned to grow its share here. When combined with Instagram, Google has a real challenger.”

Forty-five percent of respondents say they have left a review online, while 55% say they have never left an online review online. When asked why they left the review, 64% say they did so because they had a positive experience at that location. Alternatively, 28% left a review because they had a negative experience, while only 8% left a response for another reason.

“Customers can be an amazing brand ambassadors, and this is the perfect example,” added Benner. “I think the perception is that most reviews are based on negative experiences. But our data proves that’s not the case. People leave reviews because they enjoyed the experience and intend on going back. And they want other shoppers to know that.”

When asked if the store responded to their comment, two-thirds (66%) said the store did not respond while 34% said that the stores did respond. Uberall found that 66% of shoppers did continue to shop at the store after leaving their online review, even if the review wasn’t replied to, while 34% haven’t shopped there since.

“Most customers that leave reviews will continue to shop at a location, even if the review wasn’t responded to,” Benner said. “But one-third don’t return. That’s a huge number. Brands with multiple locations need to have a strategy in place to respond to customer reviews -- regardless of whether or not the review was positive or negative.”