Anthony Curtis, founder of Local Marketing Today, believes this new phenomenon is going to drive a massive flood of new customers away from mediocre chain restaurants and retail stores, and toward the local independent business community.
However, only the local business owners who offer excellent products and services, as well as exceptional customer service will benefit from this shift. Those that have quality issues will now have a bright spotlight exposing those issues to their neighborhood community via user reviews.
Product Branding was born in the late nineteenth century as a means to help consumers differentiate quality among similar products. Since then, we've all learned to base our product trust on well-known national and global brand names.
Fast forward to today, the year 2010. We are now beginning to see a new source of consumer trust… local online user reviews. The belief that unknown brands equate to unknown quality has kept many of us eating at Applebee’s and shopping at Old Navy, without even considering BETTER local independent alternatives.
Consumers are crying out for more variety. They’re tired of shopping at the same old stores and eating at the same old restaurants.
Now with sites like Yelp and Google Local, it's possible to expand our circle of referring “friends” very quickly. You can try new restaurants and merchants with much less risk of disappointment. This is what Anthony believes will be the catalyst for a massive shift in consumer behavior, one that will dramatically benefit small business owners everywhere.
Consumers need help discovering new businesses, so small business owners should encourage their current customer base to share their opinions on Yelp, Google Local, and other related sites.
With this new arsenal of local opinion data, consumers will now be empowered to add some much-needed variety to their lives.
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Local Marketing Today shows local business owners free and cheap ways to find new local customers online. Anthony Curtis, the founder, has been delivering online marketing results to companies, large and small since 1999, including FedEx, Verizon, Nokia, and Buy.com.