Contributor Tomer Tagrin, co-founder of Yotpo, discussed online customer reviews in an article posted on www.entrepreneur.com last summer. “We all do it,” wrote Tagrin, “routinely sort through search results by customer star ratings and scroll through buyer feedback before making a final shopping decision.”

And, a year after this article was posted, the trend of prospective customers basing their purchasing decisions on previous customers’ experiences with your business is still prevalent and will continue to have a growing positive, or negative, affect on your bottom line. Without actual customers, having the latest and greatest equipment, a vast assortment of service options and high-performing employees do not really matter much.

Also posted last summer, according to a survey from searchengineland.com, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. “Nearly nine in 10 consumers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39 percent do so on a regular basis. The ‘trend line’ over the last four years clearly shows how much more regularly people are reading reviews, clearly highlighting the need for local businesses to attract more reviews and actively manage their online reputation,” noted the company’s analysis of the survey results.

Our cover story this month delves into why your carwash must stand out online. The author provides a perfect game plan to get you started and to help you rise to the top of search and customer reviews.

As a society, we are more on the go and reliant on mobile communications technology and platforms than ever before, which is another long-lasting and emerging trend. Companies, such as Google, realize this demand and are readily tailoring their products to meet customers’ needs. As a business owner in a competitive market, it is important to stay on top of changes in Internet technology and shifts in consumer buying influencers.