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New BrandSource program seeks online reviews from shoppers

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Furniture, electronics and appliances buying group BrandSource has launched a program that encourages BrandSource store shoppers to post online reviews about their experiences on sites such as Yelp and Google.

The new program "makes it easy for members to encourage satisfied customers to write a review about their store experience, beginning with an email request immediately after they exit the store," according to a release.

The customer can answer a short survey on their shopping, service and delivery experiences and post their review online at up to three review destinations of their choice, including Yelp and Google.

For every gold star increase in rating reviews, "retailers can see a revenue increase of 5% to 9%," said Bob Donaldson, BrandSource vice president of digital marketing. He said positive reviews helps retailers overcome negative reviews.

The program was introduced to several BrandSource members this spring. The cost is less than $100 a month, much less than comparable programs, the buying group said.

"No matter what industry you're in, positive testimonials from your customers can dramatically improve online visibility," Donaldson said.

The group pointed to a study by the Pepperdine University School of Business that showed 86% of consumers use online ratings and 72% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The study also showed that 3% percent of new customers categorize themselves as likely to try a business with two stars or fewer, while 80% and up said they would try a business with four or five stars.

"There's been an explosion in the number of consumers doing online research before they shop, especially for appliances, consumer electronics and home furnishings," Donaldson said. "We want our members to be at the customer's fingertips as soon as they begin searching
The online review program will be introduced to all members at the group's upcoming National Convention and Buying Fair Aug. 25-28 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas."

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