Podium study reveals importance of online reviews

A new study by communication company Podium reveals that more people look at online reviews now than ever before.

A new study from Podium, a customer communication platform used by companies in the home furnishings industry, reveals that 88% of Americans believe that online reviews play a role in how they discover a new local business, and 71% believe that reviews matter more today than ever before.

“Companies need every advantage they can get right now, and the importance of positive online reviews can’t be overlooked,” said Eric Rea, co-founder and CEO at Podium. “Local businesses are impacted by online reviews more now than before the pandemic hit, and successfully managing reviews is an essential skill for any business, even those that do not primarily operate over the internet.”

Nearly 28% respondents said they had looked up online reviews for a business while standing in a parking lot or parked out front of a store when deciding whether or not to enter, with younger people more likely to use these types of reviews in making doorstop decisions.

The report also showed that 41% of Americans feel more compelled to patronize local businesses now than they did prior to COVID-19.

JuniperWeb launches B2B site for gift and home industry

JuniperWeb, an ecommerce website development tool powered by IMC_di (International Market Center’s digital innovations division), has launched its first proprietary B2B site for the gift and home industry.

“JuniperWeb is off and running!” said Eric Dean, IMC_di President. “JuniperWeb is our first next-generation product in the Juniper Suite and it’s exciting to see it live and delivering results for a great brand like Bethany Lowe.”

Bethany Lowe Designs, Inc., produces artisan-made and vintage-inspired holiday décor from its Osco, Ill., base. Its website enables round-the-clock wholesale purchasing of the company’s 1,700 SKUs, with another 400 items scheduled for onboarding prior to the winter markets in Atlanta and Las Vegas.

“Buying patterns have been slowly trending online over the last few years, but as COVID reduced our ability for in-person sales, our B2B website quickly became a crucial sales and marketing tool,” said Erin Glennon, CEO of Bethany Lowe Designs. “With our new website, everything you love about Bethany Lowe Designs is just a click away.”

As part of IMC_di’s omnichannel approach, the new B2B site also allows Bethany Lowe product images and data to publish directly to IMC market websites, enhancing discoverability as buyers are planning for markets.