How Consumers Read and Use Online Reviews

A negative review doesn’t have to kill you.

Consumers are 12 times more likely to trust reviews from other shoppers than descriptions that come from the company itself, according to, which has produced an infographic on how consumers read and use online review sites. Among Millennials—core customers at most dance stores—68 percent trust online reviews most (compared to TV ads, for instance) and, on average, positive reviews produce an uptick of 18 percent in sales. On review sites that have star ratings (Yelp, for example), for every star a business gets, there will be approximately a 5 to 9 percent increase in business revenue.

Consumers read fewer than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. So what about negative reviews, something every storeowner worries about? Twenty-two percent of consumers will not purchase a product after reading just one negative review about it; 59 percent will not buy after three negative reviews.

The outcome of a negative review doesn’t always have to mean loss of business, though. The storeowner’s response is key: According to the infographic, “55 percent of consumers use Facebook as a place to learn about brands, and when retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, a third of customers deleted their original negative review or even replaced it with a positive review.”

Is Your Business Prepared for a Natural Disaster?
The IRS offers tips for protecting your business.

During Hurricane Preparedness Week in May, the Internal Revenue Service issued advice for taxpayers who may be affected by the Atlantic hurricane season (which started June 1) and by other natural disasters. In any federally declared disaster area, a toll-free help line (866-562-5227) will be staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues. But what can you do ahead of time to avert some issues? Here are some tips from the IRS.

Don’t forget to update emergency plans. Your business and personal situations change over time, so review the emergency plan you have in place annually. Do you have new employees, or a new store location, that will affect your plan? Be sure to review and rehearse what would need to happen in an emergency.

Create electronic copies of key documents. Keep a duplicate set of key documents, including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place, such as a waterproof container, away from the original documents. Electronic banking makes this relatively easy now, since documents are available over the internet. Scan any paper-only documents and store them electronically as well. You may want to keep the scans on an external hard drive or flash drive at a different site from your business—away from the disaster area.

Document valuables and business equipment. Photographing or videoing the valuable contents of your home and business can make it easier to claim any available insurance and tax benefits after disaster strikes. Ideally, keep these photos with a friend or family member who lives outside the area, or use a cloud-based service from which you can download the documents from any location. See IRS Publication 584-B, Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook ( for information on documenting a loss.

Check on fiduciary bonds.
Ask your payroll provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect you as an employer in the event of default by the payroll service.

In the event of a disaster, the IRS may postpone certain filing, payment and other time-sensitive deadlines, waive failure-to-deposit penalties and abate late filing or payment penalties.

Check the National Weather Service website for more tips on keeping your business strong through any storm (

Don’t Make These Snapchat Mistakes
Do this instead.

The social-media marketing experts at HubSpot have identified Snapchat mistakes to avoid—and how to fix them. Here are a few.

Your stories are too long. If your message is long, maybe a Snapchat story is not the best medium for it. Snapchat users aren’t in the mind-set for extensive clicking.
Solution: Keep your story to 10 snaps or fewer, and make sure those have impact.

Your stories are too short. Is the message so short that it’s uninformative?
Solution: Give your stories enough context that they make sense—and make a point.

Your stories offer no way to engage. Without a call-to-action, a story hits a dead end for your business.
Solution: Include prompts to reply, take a screenshot or visit a website.

For more tips and examples, go to

Thinkstock; courtesy of Snapchat

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