SAN FRANCISCO— “Near me” searches—localized mobile searches for brands and products close by—have exploded. Today, 82% of people have tried a “near me” search on their mobile device, according to an Uberall Inc. study. Among millennials, “near me” adoption is even greater, at 92%. More than ever, as search engine and smartphone technology advances, consumers are prioritizing proximity and convenience.
For brick-and-mortar brands, online customer reviews are a key part of the “near me” brand experience. When conducting “near me” searches, consumers often turn to reviews and star ratings of locations across platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Instagram, Google and more. In fact, almost half of all consumers have left such a review online, with 95% influenced by reviews in their buying decisions.
Uberall’s “Reputation Management Revolution Report” found that the higher the star rating of a business location, the higher the conversion rate. Conversion rate is a combination of phone calls, requests for driving directions and website clicks. However, even a marginal increase has a dramatic impact. Uberall found that a star rating increase of just 0.1 could increase the conversion rates of a business location by 25%.
Locations that move from a 3.5 to a 3.7-star rating experience conversion growth of 120%—the highest percentage growth jump from any star rating. Norman Rohr, senior vice president of marketing at Uberall, in a press release concludes, “Consumers who are engaging with the brand are also extremely likely to visit a store within 24 hours, so a 25% rise in conversions could also mean a 25% increase in foot traffic every day. By focusing on review star rating and reply rate, brands can massively impact their overall conversion rates.”