Today, retailers are engaging with and selling to a diverse and demanding online audience. Consumers are constantly on their mobile devices - scrolling a news feed, liking a Facebook post, creating online reviews, commenting about their recent experiences and tweeting their opinions on almost every topic. Retailers today can’t ignore all this social chatter because it’s only going to increase. We must face the fact that user-generated content can make or break our reputation.
Managing your business’ online reputation is critical to succeeding today. And, independent retailers traditionally excel at customer service and service beyond the sale, compared to some of the large, chain stores. Going beyond managing how customers talk about you online, because of its viral nature, will have a direct impact on a retailers’ local search rank.
Google now includes star rankings for many consumer searches– why? Well, a search engine’s whole goal is to provide the right content for a users’ search; and the faster they serve quality content that gets clicked on, the more likely users will keep using Google as their primary search tool. That helps generate advertising dollars to their platform because of how much traffic Google receives. And, while Yahoo and Bing still see search traffic, Google retains the lionshare of all search traffic. Their brand is synonymous with search – "Just Google it."
MOZ Local, a leader in the SEO space reported the importance of social and reviews for how Google’s algorithm aggregates results in their 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors findings. (Source: moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors) Reviews account for 8.4% of a retailers search ranking. This takes into account the quality of the reviews, the quality and the variety of sources containing reviews about a business.
Staying up-to-date on how Google ranks and categorizes local search is time-consuming and oftentimes confusing. At MEGA Group, our focus is following all the trends and staying ahead of them, and helping our members remain leaders in how they market and connect directly with consumers.
On Tuesday, August 23, digital thought leader Erik Qualman was the keynote at MEGA’s Fall National Convention held in Nashville, Tenn. Qualman, who authored books like Socialnomics and What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube, vividly conveyed the importance of managing online reviews and reputation, preparing a foundation for MEGA’s launch of WebFronts Review.
WebFronts Review, an online reputation management solution, allows MEGA retailers to easily aggregate and respond to customer reviews from sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook, as well as solicit reviews at the conclusion of each customer interaction. Partnering with Retailer Web Services (RWS), MEGA will be providing this new tool free to its Level 4 WebFronts members through December 2017.
"At our core, we strive to deliver cutting-edge solutions to help the independent retailer succeed where they live and work, and WebFronts Review is one way we can achieve this," said Rick Bellows, president of MEGA Group USA. "The independent has a unique opportunity to compete and win against the big box retailers, and we can help them capitalize on their strengths to win with consumers. At the end of the day, consumers want more than the best price, they also want to know they’re going to be well-cared for and the independent retailer has a legacy of caring for and winning with customers."You can also read this article on page 70 of The Retail Observer