Small Business Owners Heavy Users Of Ratings Websites
The majority of small business owners and consumers are heavy users of review and ratings websites for a variety of professional and personal reasons, according to new survey by LexisNexis.
More than 90 percent of small business owners and 80 percent of consumers engage in some type of activity on review and ratings websites, but respondents indicated concerns about the reliability and trustworthiness of these sites.
Small business owners are heavier users of review and ratings sites than consumers and they are also more engaged.
- 82 percent of small business owners surveyed use review and ratings Web sites for a variety of professional and personal reasons including: legal needs, travel/tourism, local interest/activities, food service/restaurant, trade and medical needs; whereas only 49 percent of consumers said they use review and ratings Web sites for the same reasons.
- 87 percent of small business owners surveyed have provided feedback on review and ratings Web sites; only
- 63 percent of consumers said they have engaged in the same action.
Small business owners place a greater value on ratings and review websites than consumers.
- 57 percent of small business owners find review and ratings Web sites useful when making purchasing decisions, compared to 41 percent of consumers.
More than half of small business owners agreed that ratings Web sites give customers even more control over the quality of goods and services – and 40 percent of consumers agreed.
- More than half of small business owners also agreed that review and rating Web sites mean businesses are held to higher standards – whereas 43 percent of consumers agreed.
"Review and ratings Web sites are being used to a greater extent than ever before to inform buying decisions," said Alfredo Sciascia, a vice president with LexisNexis. "
"Ratings offer consumers valuable insight into a wide range of goods and services, and they can be a powerful tool used by business owners to differentiate their goods and services from those offered by competitors."
When it comes to the reliability of ratings websites both small business owners and consumers have some issues.
- 60 percent of small business owners and consumers surveyed agree that ratings Web sites can be easily biased by very positive or very negative reviews.
- 55 percent of small business owners and 54 percent of consumers surveyed agree that it’s too easy for a business to post "fake" positive reviews for itself.
"The survey indicates that in order to offer a trustworthy, complete resource that provides significant value to business owners and consumers, providers of ratings will need to incorporate a combination of qualitative and quantitative evaluations," said Sciascia.