5 Ways Online Reviews Drive Customers to Pet Businesses

“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.” -Google

Local pet shops face unique challenges; how do you stand out from the pack of other pet stores like yours? Or even more challenging, how do you stand out from big box stores like Petsmart and Petco that operate in the same industry?

Getting a pet owner’s attention is the first step. The act of enticing customers has become increasingly difficult as consumers choices have drastically multiplied. “The paradox of choice,” states that when people are presented with a wider selection of options, the time that a person takes to make a decision increases rather than decreases.

In a world with so many pet supplies options, how can you simplify the choice of potential customers?

More Positive Reviews Means More Visibility Online

The number one goal of every business owner is to make money. Being “the best-kept secret in town” may seem like a compliment but it’s really the opposite. Being obscure is a great way to become obsolete.

Ensuring that you have plenty of quality online reviews is a crucial first step for getting pet owners and their pets in the door. Pet shops with the most reviews and highest average ratings are going to get more traffic both digitally and physically than those with very few reviews, or a large number of negative reviews compared to positive ones.

More 5-star, high-quality reviews mean more business. Fewer positive reviews (or more negative reviews) means less business.

Reviews = Trust

Consumers no longer trust businesses. You can try telling everyone that you see that you are the best local pet shop in town, but if that feeling isn’t being voiced by your current customers online, potential customers online will take note. Ratings and reviews have become a reputational necessity.
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We seem to have collectively agreed that online reviews are trustworthy. Nine out of ten consumers say they trust some online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. Studies show that customer confidence in online reviews is increasing every year. Do not undermine the importance of this!

Keep Customers For Life By Responding to Reviews

Bad reviews are no fun at all. You can’t prevent them, you can’t delete or hide them, but you can control whether you’re addressing them reactively, or proactively. Properly addressing a negative review increases the chance that a customer will give your business another chance.

No response is still a response. Silence says it all; it tells current and potential customers that you don’t care enough to acknowledge less than ideal experiences, which makes things even worse. Every last review that you have is an opportunity to learn more about your customers and how to communicate with them in the best way possible.

Responding to a customer is not just about answering them alone. Your whole audience is watching how you interact with your customers online. Responding to reviews goes much deeper than simply the one person who you might happen to be responding to.

Keep a Steady Stream of Reviews

Your review stream must be steady and continuous. Most customers now say that reviews more than 90 days old are irrelevant, so you’ve got to keep things fresh all the time.

Google’s rewards businesses that have “high review velocity.” Businesses with more reviews, that are reviewed more frequently are ranked higher in local search. One in ten customers will leave a review unprompted. The other nine are too busy living their lives to spend time online reviewing your local business. But if you proactively ask them for their feedback, the vast majority of your customers will at least consider it.

You’re Local, and You’re Personal

Talking to customers in your local business and promoting online reviews is the fastest (and most efficient) way to get tons of online reviews. 76% of all online searches for local business results in foot traffic within 24 hours. Those people are going to go somewhere for Steve’s Real Food or their training treats and leashes; how do you make sure they find their way to you? You need to be making sure they’re able to find hundreds and hundreds of positive, detailed reviews about why they should shop at your pet store.

Online reviews are a great way to create brand ambassadors and loyal shoppers, but you’ve got to put in a little effort, instead of leaving it up to chance.

8/10 pet professionals neglect their online identity. How are pet parents finding your business? Schedule a demo by clicking here to learn more about how your business stacks up.

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