A study released in September shows how Ratings and Reviews has an impact on consumer shopping decisions. They seek out what experiences other consumers had before they make their own decision. This of course is different from general "social media" where they seek out commentary from their friends.
Some excerpts of this study include:"Data from “The 2011 Social Shopping Study” indicates that customer reviews have the largest impact by a considerable margin. Almost half (48%) of online shoppers say reviews and ratings are a critical or very important user-generated research component for retailer sites. Q&A follows a distant second at 31%, with product likes (23%), product likes from people you know (22%) and community forums (18%) following in order of declining popularity." You can read more at this link.
While DealerRater.com has been significant in the automotive world, Google has been pushing to secure it's own ratings and reviews by eliminating 3rd Party ratings and reviews from Google Places. Since consumers tend to go to Google first to find something locally, their first exposure to ratings and reviews will come at Google and not at DealerRater.com
This shift will become more apparent over the next year and as we have seen with our Penske dealerships, we are spending more time at Google now than before.
Look forward to other comments, experiences and feedback.
Melih ("may-lee") Oztalay, CEO
SmartFinds Internet Marketing
Tel: (248) 568-2241
Geographic Marketing: http://www.smartfindsgeographicmarketing.com