This week we noticed a story re-emerging from December 2017 about how a man from London made his shed the top rated restaurant in London. By using pictures of fake food and an exclusive “invite only” appointment system, his fake restaurant went from 18,149 on Trip Advisor to #1!

Whilst the journey of ‘The Shed’ is a fun story, a testament to this gentleman’s hard work, and a critique of society’s willingness to blindly follow trends, it also shows the importance of online reviews and how they can revolutionise a business.

Oobah Butler began his venture from his knowledge as a review writer. He used to be paid to write reviews for restaurants he had never visited. This alone shows how much people value a positive review that they are willing to pay for false accounts.

The Shed Restaurant

“One day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation… maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it’s exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?”

Using a network of false reviews and photos of make believe meals made from shaving foam, coffee grounds and even the sole of his foot, it wasn’t long before Oobah’s phone was ringing constantly and his emails inundated with bloggers, birthday parties and even TV executives begging for a reservation.

Fake Meals from The Shed

What you can take from this, beyond a laugh, is the encouragement to utilise reviews for your own business. Whether it is for products, services, or your business as a whole, a review is a crucial resource to encourage customers to get in touch.

Over 60% of consumers will read reviews before committing to a purchase and it is essential for successful e-commerce websites to have reviews as a prominent selling point. Consumer opinion is up to 12 times more trusted than a description or features list from a manufacturer, and having fresh, user generated content on your site is a fantastic way to increase your search engine optimisation too.

Above all, reviews are a golden opportunity to increase conversations. They offer the chance to eliminate customer doubts, help with product selection, and showcase the expert knowledge of you and your business. Studies have shown that websites can experience uplift in sales by up to 18% by displaying reviews.

Online Review

Whether they are product specific reviews, a Google review of your entire business, or feedback on social media, the opportunity to engage with the customer is what makes a review so valuable. As another customer looking for more information, or the business aiming to clarify why the customer was pleased or disappointed, getting involved is another key way to use reviews to your advantage.

Here are just a few examples of how a conversation can help your business:

 – Thank the customer for their review and offer an incentive for their next purchase to ensure they return.

 – Reaffirm any wrong information presented in their review, in a non threatening way, and offer to get in touch to solve any problems to try and win the consumer back.

 – Answer questions, add information and suggest similar products and services to close the sale

There are too many benefits that can be reaped from a clear and honest review section to fully dissect in a blog, but if you would like to explore utilising reviews on your website, and staying on top of third party reviews, get in touch with Office Friendly. Our relationships with top e-commerce platforms, and our expert web management services can help your online presence reach 5 stars.

Call 0114 256 6300 or email hello@officefriendly.co.uk

To read the full story of ‘The Shed’ restaurant, click here.

Photos courtesy of Oobah Butler | Vice.com