Consumers use online reviews to make in-store purchases
July 08, 2013

While many retailers may be focused on understanding showrooming, or the act of entering a store to see what to purchase online, small and medium-sized business may want to note that many consumers choose to go online to see what to buy in stores. According to a new survey, nearly half of customers buy a product or service from a local business after reading a positive review about the retailer on sites like Yelp. 

While SMBs may not be able to control what posts on certain sites say about the company, it is a good idea to mention the business does accept debit card payments or mobile credit card payments on its home page to differentiate itself from competitors. When an Internet user notices that he or she will be able to use a card in the store, SMBs can see sales rise.

In-store purchasing decisions made online 
Nielson, a market research firm, found in a recent survey that 85 percent of consumers search for local business information online. From store hours to reviews, customers often use their mobile device to glean insight about a local SMB before entering its store. Sites like Yelp that offer information and reviews about businesses were found to be valued among consumers, with a previous Nielson study finding 70 percent of customers trust online opinions. 

In fact, 51 percent said they used Yelp and other sites to make their purchasing decisions, with many choosing to make an in-store appearance to buy a product or service. Consumers who look at an online referral site on a portable device were also more likely to enter the store sooner than those who didn't. Forty-nine percent of participants reported reading an online review or gaining information through the Web drove them to visit a local business instead of purchasing goods online.

With many customers using the Internet to gain information about local retailers, it is a good idea for SMBs to make sure their online profiles show the company accepts plastic at the point of sale. When SMBs place purchasing options online, consumers are able to understand whether they will be able to use their debit or credit card if they enter the business. SMBs may lose sales opportunities if customers feel they were misled about available purchasing methods.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2