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Catman: Grocers: Are You Responding to Online Reviews? Here’s Why You Should Be

Grocers: If your shoppers are reviewing you online – positively or negatively – it’s your duty and in your best interest to respond, new research from location-based marketing solution provider Uberall Inc. reveals.

The San Francisco-based company’s new “Customer Review Report” reveals that 65 percent of shoppers believe that brands should respond to online reviews, whether the review puts the brand in a positive or negative light. About one in five (18 percent) believe that brands should respond only when the review is negative, while far fewer – 6 percent – believe that they should respond only to positive reviews.

Responding plays a key role in whether someone will shop your store: Nearly nine in 10 shoppers (86 percent) said they would be more likely to shop a store if it responds to online reviews.

“It’s critical for brands to have a proactive voice in these conversations,” said Josha Benner, Uberallco-founder. “Ready-to-buy shoppers aren’t just looking for positive online reviews; they’re actually evaluating the quality of an in-store experience based on online responsiveness.”

But it’s not enough for a retailer to provide a canned response: Nearly four in five shoppers (78 percent) expect responses to be personalized.

How much personalization is enough, though? Nearly half (49 percent) expect responses to be “somewhat personalized,” while nearly three in 10 (29 percent) expect responses to be “very personalized.”

“People simply aren’t going to be satisfied with a generic response from a store,” Benner noted. “Some individualization is required to show that the brand cares about the customer. These results perfectly demonstrate why platforms like Google and Yelp spend so much energy on enforcing that businesses post personal responses versus generic, meaningless ones.”

The fact is, more and more shoppers are expecting to interact one-on-one with brands, and that includes where they buy the products that they consume daily. Considering that one in five shoppers (19 percent) check reviews “all the time” – and that the number is likely to grow as consumers become increasingly connected and demand better transparency – grocers can’t afford not to respond to reviews online, regardless of whether those reviews are favorable .

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