The Australian Retailers Association has predicted that Australians will spend $6.2 billion in the four-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. This is an increase of $200 million over 2021.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, first popularized in the US, have now become more anticipated in Australia that Boxing Day sales.

This year’s Black Friday and Small Business Sunday will be completely different than previous years. Retailers say that the fourth quarter is their busiest quarter and the most profitable because it’s the last quarter of each year.

Online sales by retailers have increased significantly this year. Converting their operation to an e-commerce platform that is flexible will meet the fluctuating traffic requirements of each customer.

According to research by communications and payment platform Podium, the Australian average will consider a star rating of 3.5. 28 per cent of Australians read business reviews while waiting outside a restaurant before making a decision.

Key Findings:

Google reviews influence 84 percent of Australians when choosing a company. 44 percent are willing to spend more and travel farther to visit a superior-rated business.

  • 51 per cent of respondents said that the responses to reviews by a business had changed their perception.
  • Pre-Covid 46 percent are more likely than not to look at the Google listing of a local business before visiting.
  • Since the pandemic 69 percent of Australians read reviews to verify local business’s health and safety.
  • Sixty nine per cent of Australians think that the attitude of employees is most likely to be a factor in leaving a negative review. Online reviews are deemed “very important” by 45 percent of local businesses.

Dave Scheine, Country Director, Australia, at Podium, states that today’s consumers are more digitally-savvy, and use online channels to engage, research, and build relationships with local businesses.

In the discovery phase of a local business, word-of-mouth is still important, but it is now digital, in the form reviews. Reviews are authentic and relatable for consumers. They can influence their decision whether it’s a retailer on the high street, a hairdresser, a tradesman or anything else.

“Shopfronts remain important for retailers. But those who only rely on footfall during peak seasons and their physical location will find it difficult to compete with retailers who use great reviews and an online presence to engage customers.

Dave stresses the importance of online reviews. He argues that businesses don’t exist if they do not have a website, or if they do but there are negative reviews.

The Podium Research shows that businesses with optimised Google Reviews are better placed to be successful and provide meaningful experiences for the millions of Aussies, who support local businesses.

“A retailer may have great products at great price, but it doesn’t matter if customers can’t locate them when they search for ‘best toys near me’ or custom jewellers Perth.

“Incentivizing satisfied customers to leave reviews can be a cost-effective and time-saving way to increase customer retention and acquisition. It also allows you to tap into the power of’supporting local’ sentiments during the peak season and even after.

Fake negative reviews

Online customer reviews are becoming more important to customers as they make better informed decisions. As long as reviews are neutral, this is a good thing. Falsely negative reviews posted by customers who are motivated to dislike a company or its employees can do considerable damage.

Businesses who receive falsely low ratings can lodge a complaint at the review site as well as the appropriate regulatory agencies.