Here is a transcript of the webinar:
Bob Phibbs: Hey, it's Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor. Thanks for joining me with this special webinar, Don't Just Show Up, Stand Out. It's a proactive approach to online reviews. Now, this is dedicated for anyone who is a brick and mortar retailer and giving you some new tools. If you don't know who I am, I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor. I am the speaker and consultant of choice for some of the biggest brands in the world, from Lego to Yamaha, from Hunter Douglas and all the way down to the smallest mom-and-pops.
Bob Phibbs: I believe that we can change the world by the people working and shopping in retail. That's why you're on this call today is to find out how do you do it better. Our agenda today is why online reviews matter to your business, how online reviews increase your word of mouth because ultimately that's what we're trying to do as well, to how to determine which review sites are best for your business in particular, and then best practices for collecting more new reviews. I hope that's what you were expecting because that's what we're talking about for the next 10 minutes. We're going to go through this fairly quickly and hopefully share some really good stuff.
Bob Phibbs: First off, reviews influence the entire customer journey. What that means is what do people do with all these reviews? 61% of buyers use online reviews to learn about new products. 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 84% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Now, if you're like me, you know, I know that people who review, I either get those guys who are like, "They are the worst person in the world. I wouldn't do anything with that brand," or they're like, "Oh, my gosh, they were amazing, and I'm going to only shop there the rest of my entire life."
Bob Phibbs: That polarizing idea of reviews is kind of what we're talking about as well because if you only have a few, it's probably going to be one or the other, and you need to have a lot to balance it out so when somebody goes to your site, the shopper really has an idea that, "Oh, there's a lot of people that feel this way."
Bob Phibbs: Our next part is how do online reviews impact your word of mouth? Well, customers are your best sales people. Notice these are people who gave you money to shop in your store. Consumers want to hear about that because it's not a shopper's experience. It's not like somebody's just opinion. These are people that actually gave you money, and they are trusted as much as personal recommendations that ultimately your customer referrals convert at a higher level for one reason. They're champions of your brand. They aren't a paid ambassador or influencer. They're actually somebody who has gone through and used it or experienced it.
Bob Phibbs: Online review sites are everywhere. 58% of consumers look at online reviews at least weekly. Isn't that crazy? Weekly. But 87% of consumers, they either access Google, Facebook, or Yelp on their smartphone, so the mobile consumer is the one we're really targeting. These are people who are actually out there checking their reviews and using their sites to provide feedback. 36% are frequently industry-specific sites like Angie's List or something like that, which, again, are what? More online review sites.
Bob Phibbs: Online reviews affect you more than you know. If I just did a quick Google search of "best car dealership in Draper, Utah," I come up, and I see the map. But do you notice that under AutoSource Draper, we have 82 reviews under that one business? Well, that's a lot of certainty. That's a lot of credibility that this is really somewhere that I would use. What does Google do? They bubble that up so that you see it's a 4.7 versus the other, which is 4.2. 4.2 isn't bad, but 4.7 is better. Now, I'm going to want you to do this on your own website when we get off the webinar, but don't do it now, or I will lose you.
Bob Phibbs: Also, online reviews influence the decisions. 82% of consumers say the content of review has convinced them to make a purchase, so it's not just, "Oh, I like this." It's the actual what did they say in there. 93 consumers say online reviews have a major impact on their purchasing decisions.
Bob Phibbs: Now, here's the thing that most retailers don't understand. Reviews are a two-way street. 77% of your consumers would be willing to leave a review if you just asked. But what does it take to ask? You've got to say, "Would you mind giving us a thumbs up on Facebook?" Look, it's hard enough to get your employees to greet a customer, much less go that extra level, and you know that yourself if you tried to get people on to your email list.
Bob Phibbs: When we're talking about being more visible to online searches, online reviews are the key factor that makes up Google's local search ranking. Again, most people are looking for quick searches of best and then [inaudible 00:05:04] category in my area. That really makes a difference. We call them "near-me searches," and they're growing rapidly, so "best" is a perfect example. "Best flooring stores near me." Same exact idea. There we have it, we see the map, and we see 132. Now that was an ad they took out, but I'd take out an ad to if I was 4.5 star, and then the other ones down below. Notice that the number of reviews gives us more certainty to be able to do that.
Bob Phibbs: Today's consumer values, that could mean it's over relationships. We call that the Amazon effect. How do you take advantage of these micro moments? Well, first identify your top mobile searches in your industry, in the category, in retail. Know what the frequently asked questions are, and then you want to conduct research on how your customers find your business.
Bob Phibbs: But here's the thing that I found really fascinating when I dug into this idea, that 50% of mobile searches resulted in an in-store visit within 24 hours. That's crazy. That means as soon as they find it, they're going to go out and drive to your store in the snow, the wind, the sleet, whatever, based on your review, which makes a big difference, and you build customer confidence in your business by seeing more stars. You know this yourself. You use them yourself.
Bob Phibbs: What would you look at if you saw a two-star review on the best Italian restaurant in your area? You wouldn't go. Well, the minimum star rating on an average consumer that they were willing to engage with is 3.3. Now, I think that's a pretty low bar to be able to meet, but imagine if it's a 4.7. You suddenly have an amazing online presence and ultimately improves your local SEO and visibility because that's what this is all about is we are driving more customers to your store using anonymous reviews, and it builds trust and credibility with your customers.
Bob Phibbs: I mean, when was the last time you actually asked for somebody to give you a review? Exactly. Probably not often. Well, you want to pick sites your customers are familiar with. 66% of consumers don't trust online reviews sites that they don't know, so John's special site isn't going to be considered anything, but 87% of consumers have access to Google, Facebook, or Yelp on their phones. That's probably the ones they are looking for.
Bob Phibbs: Here are the tips for collecting hundreds of online reviews. I hope you're taking notes. First, well, you got to determine the right timing, but you have to have an exceptional experience. You don't want to invite them to a party that's no good. You have to train your employees how to create an exceptional experience that is raving fan-worthy and hold them accountable for delivering it. Then you have to actually plan to ask your customers to do it. Then here's what's really important is send the invite before your customer leaves your business. When you ask in-store, that increases the likelihood of obtaining of a positive review.
Bob Phibbs: Number two is you want to eliminate barriers. They don't want to have to fill in a form or log into somebody else or click some email and try to get back to it. The more frictionless it can be, the easier it will be for them to be able to help you.
Bob Phibbs: Number three is set that expectation for a review. The most successful businesses have built the ask into multiple types of the customer visit. Before leaving, the customer should be told, "Hey, when you leave, you're going to get a invite to review us, and you're gonna get it by text," or if you're going to use email, you still want to tell them. Why it's important for them to respond is that helps other people find the great experience that they enjoy today. You are, especially if you've been saying, "Oh, it's important people buy local," well, this is another way for you to say that. "This is how you can help us stay in business, but more importantly, help your friends find this in the platform they are used to seeing."
Bob Phibbs: Number four is to invite via text. That seems to be the way we're all going because text messages have an open rate of 99%, and you know this yourself. When's the last time you got an email? "Please give us a review on our site," and how many times did you click that after a day, a week, a month? 90% of texts are open within three minutes of receipt.
Bob Phibbs: Step number five is to deliver a high quality customer experience. Now, that's really important that we focus on that customer experience to help build an army of advocates that are willing to promote your business. Now, it's important to know that 66% of customers switch companies if they had a bad experience. That goes back to don't invite them to a party that's no good. Do the hard work of training your employees, and then use an online review management tool that works best for your business.
Bob Phibbs: I mean, obviously this is a sponsored, this Webinar is sponsored by Podium, and they have some really great tools to help you. I hope you can text them, or you can go to their website and find out more. But that's what we're trying to do is to find ways to get more people to not just see you, but for you to stand out online.
Bob Phibbs: I appreciate you joining us today. Again, I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. Certainly check out our friends at Podium, and get going because, you know what, your competitors might have seen this webinar too.