5 Things Every Retailer Needs to Know about Yelp

Mar 15, 2022

We don’t know about you? But we’re excited that ASD is happening this summer in Las Vegas. With it, the return of the Independent Retailers Conference, hosted by RetailMinded. As part of their programming for retailers, the team at Yelp is going to be on site teaching you how to use Yelp reviews to help rebuild your local business.  Here are tips they wanted to offer to get you started.

Most reviews on Yelp are positive.

When people think of online review platforms, there’s a tendency to assume that people only write reviews if they’ve had a negative experience. But more than half of Yelp reviews are 5 stars and nearly 70% are 4+ stars. That means there are actually more 5-star reviews on Yelp than all the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews combined. This shows that more often than not, consumers want to amplify their positive experiences. Yelp creates a community where people come to share their positive opinions and experiences about local businesses they love. Although less than 1% of Yelp users are writing reviews, when they do, they are writing about the positive.

Yelp’s most reviewed category isn’t restaurants.

When people think of Yelp, restaurants often come to mind. But Yelp is a marketplace connecting people with local businesses well beyond food—like a boutique shop, retail store, plumber, dog walker, massage therapist, and more. You can find reviews for just about anything. Since people typically eat three times a day, naturally it’s a common misconception that Yelp is just for restaurants. In reality, our most reviewed category is Home & Local Services, followed by Restaurants then Shopping.

You should always respond to reviews, regardless of the star rating.

When writing a review, 20% of consumers expect to receive a response within a day. If someone took the time to write a review about your business, it’s important to acknowledge it, whether it’s one star or five. Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters, is an expert when it comes to embracing complaints and keeping customers. He says, “answer every complaint, in every channel, every time.” Although negative reviews can be frustrating, responding publicly is a great opportunity to showcase your customer service. It’s important to never get into an online battle with a customer, but you can and should clarify the situation if there’s a misunderstanding. Remember, sometimes it’s not necessarily about winning that customer over but rather showcasing how you handle conflict, what your policies are, and your level of professionalism to other consumers that land on your page.

Negative reviews can actually help your business.

Negative reviews show that you’re human, and customers typically don’t trust a perfect 5-star overall rating anyway, so a negative review can actually help you earn more business. Reviews about your business serve as real-time feedback and act as your secret shopper; you can have an understanding about what is happening within the walls of your business and make adjustments as needed. Get strategic about how you approach your reviews—investigate, analyze, and find trends mentioned in reviews to help improve your business.

Do not solicit reviews.

It can feel counterintuitive to avoid asking a happy customer for a review. However, not only does Yelp prohibit businesses from asking customers for reviews, but it also isn’t a great look on your business. Jeff Toister, expert business consultant, tells us the importance of not asking for a review paired with a powerful example.

“A customer’s last experience with a business tends to be one of the most memorable. When you ask for a review, you’ve just made your request the last thing customers remember, rather than their great experience. Here’s an example: A landscaper installed a new front lawn at a customer’s home. When the homeowner mentioned how much he loved his new lawn, the landscaper asked him to write a Yelp review. In that moment, the customer was elated about his new lawn but worried about keeping it that way. This was a perfect opportunity for the landscaper to reassure the customer with some lawn care tips. Instead, the landscaper shifted the conversation from the new lawn to asking the customer for a favor (and failed to earn the review).”

You want customers to feel that you were giving them 5-star customer service with no strings attached, not because you had an agenda or something you were waiting to ask for at the end of the transaction.

Contributed by Ali Schwartz, Senior Marketing Manager of YelpYelp has been a long time sponsor of the Independent Retailer Conference which takes place bi-annually onsite at ASD Market Week. They regularly speak at the Independent Retailer Conference experience and support attendees with actionable insight to help them better understand Yelp and manage their own unique Yelp profiles. .

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Macala Rose

Macala Rose

Macala Rose is a writer and researcher who specializes in health, wellness, and consumer behavior. Her expertise has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and many more publications. When she’s not writing about consumer behavior or food, she can be found scouring for deals in antique shops or on the back of her horse. You can with her on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/macala or via https://www.maca.la.