Does your business use online location or third party review data for your store (e.g such as Yelp)? If you do, Great! Your business is ready in the digital age! If you haven’t, you should enroll now! Here’s why:
The main benefit of using third party review data is to expose your physical stores to wider audience.
Consumers use these third party review data services to easily locate your bricks and mortar, and to see what others have to say about your business and the products/services you provide. There are also people who have a mindset that popular third party rating services are actually more genuine than the reviews on store’s website.
The main reason for this is that you can see a reviewer’s history and reviews, and can decide for yourself whether the review (and reviewer) is trustworthy. There is also a rising trend of people posting fake reviews on merchants websites. Using third party review data wards off the threat of having manipulated or fabricated reviews on your website, and helps to build trust with your current and, hopefully, future customers.
For this tutorial I will use Yelp as an example, as this is something I’ve recently completed for a client! This client came to us wanting to retrieve their overall store rating and total number of reviews for each of their physical locations.
The Yelp API takes an unique store identifier and returns to me: review, location, deals/promotional, gift code and general information. You can then grab this information via the Yelp API and display the date in your own preferred format, with the exception of their logo and rating image (part of their end user agreement).
Yelp’s Helper Class:
Yelp’s helper class uses Magento (Zend) cache to reduce API calls. The important functions are getBusinessRawData($yelp_id) and _getBusinessRequest($yelp_id). The first function handles the cache. It checks whether the data is in cache. If it is not in cache, the second function is called, which will handle the API call. The API function utilizes Zend’s OAuth class for authentication. It requires token and token secret to authenticate the client, and then it uses consumerKey and consumerSecret to authenticate the call. The rest of functions are just data management & formatting functions:
The above class is extendable to handle all aspect of Yelp’s API. You can integrate store deals, store gift certifications and etc. You can read the full integration documentation here.
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Improving Functionality within Magento
This is a simple way to improve your Magento store pages and to optimize trust-factor of your online (and physical) stores. Third party review data is there ready for you to access and utilize in your Magento store pages! As I mentioned previously, consumers have a certain level of trust built in recognition with these third party review services. Integrate this with your online store to leverage this trust to your benefit with my Magento tutorial. Using these third party review data services may save you time when it comes to developing these features that Magento lacks. Implementing this tutorial will help expose your business to a wider audience, who may use these web services to try to understand more about the products or services you provide!
Comment below if you have any questions about using third party review data within your Magento Store Pages.