Reviews for restaurants and cafes are searched in the highest volume by consumers online so in a way this category of business might satisfy as the answer. A one star difference on a popular website like Google was found to have as much as a 9% impact on total sales for businesses like restaurants in a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review a couple of years ago. So if you own a restaurant a 3.2 compared to a 4.7 rating can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue. But the average restaurant patron spends about $11 per meal and every year the number of consumers who rely on reviews increases steadily, I do not have any data on the life time value of a restaurant customer but one very important thing to keep in mind about reviews is that consumers only seek them out generally the first time they decide to buy from you so good reviews = new customers.

When was the last time you read the reviews of your favorite restaurant that you go to all the time? Probably not recently because reviews are for consumers looking for additional info to make an informed purchasing decision and once you are familiar with the business you no longer need that information as you have formed your own opinions based on real experiences.

The other way to approach this is what category of business has the highest customer life time value? So restaurants are the most researched category online but if I had to guess I would think that even a great customer of a middle of the road restaurant would have a lifetime value of around $5,000 over a span of a decade or so. So what about other industries like doctors, lawyers, plumbers, contractors, electricians, home builders or real estate agents… A plumber a dentist or contractor could easily generate revenues far in excess of $5,000 with the first purchase from a new customer. Even though these industries are not researched in the volume of restaurants the life time values of their customers are much higher than that of a restaurant patron.

Businesses spend large percentages of their revenue perfecting systems to generate new business in a scale-able manner and it is a fact that your average consumer places much more trust in a Google or Facebook review then they do in any other form of advertising or marketing that the best in any company can produce. So I do not think I am able to narrow down one category of business that is affected the most but I believe every category of business (including police departments, government entities, commercial and niche industries) are all currently affected directly to their bottom lines by online reviews and that influence is only growing.

I do not know if you are familiar with Gorilla Marketing but in my opinion reviews are the ultimate bang for the buck highly effective drivers of sales that exist today and that is why we created the only AI powered Word Of Mouth BOT.

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