Yelp is a Supermarket's Friend, Not Your Enemy

April 13, 2017

Four ways you can be proactive about your Yelp reviews.

Founded in 2004, Yelp has an average of 145 million unique visitors per month and is offered in 18 different languages. And the app has become so widely used that now a new Food Network show has been created to help restaurants facing dismal Yelp reviews improve their business and then invite a new round of Yelp reviewers in to assess the improvements.

So how much should you as a retailer care or pay attention to your Yelp reviews? Although we’ve seen a few different surveys showing how the most popular review sites rank, there’s no question Yelp is one of the top sites and along with others such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, the point is that your online reputation can in just a minute or two secure or lose a customer. In addition, these reviews, good or bad, provide valuable feedback for your business. 

Yes, some bad reviews can be deleted, but unless the content contains four letter words, it’s going to be difficult to remove, even if it was a disgruntled employee seeking revenge. So what can you do to be proactive? Think about what you would want to see if you were a customer reading through Yelp reviews. 

1. Respond to every bad review publicly and in a personal message. The good thing about these reviews is that an unhappy customer that may have been too shy to make a personal complaint in your store, may feel very confident doing it online. This offers you an opportunity to make the situation right and to earn another chance with that customer. And if the customer is satisfied, they may even delete their bad review or at least update it to show a change of heart. 

2. Ask your customers for reviews. You can send out an email encouraging your customers to offer feedback on your Yelp page, or simply have your clerks suggest it to customers at checkout. There is no need to offer prizes or incentives as that would appear inauthentic and take potential altruism off the table. Don’t underestimate that if you are truly doing a great job, your customers will want to share that with others as a personal service to their community. 

3. Thank as many positive reviewers as you can. Just like responding to a customer with a bad review can have a positive outcome, so can letting those that post positive reviews know how much you appreciate the feedback and having their business. Any opportunities you have to acknowledge, engage and make a personal connection with your shoppers is a win.

4. Use reviews to improve your business. While you may disagree with a review, there’s always a lesson to be learned from someone else’s point of view. Even if that review was written by a disgruntled employee, maybe that means it’s time to reevaluate employer/employee relationships. Or let’s say a shopper is angry about the lack of certain products, maybe it’s time to open a prominent shopper request process for items they’d like to see in the store. 

The most important takeaway for you as a retailer is to not see these review platforms as working against you. Think of them as cost-free advertising and opportunities to really see what your shoppers think and to connect with them.