Why Online Reviews Are So Important

Online reviews play a significant role in shaping your business in the digital marketplace. They can help you develop your brand, attract new leads, drive more revenue, and educate yourself on strategies to grow and improve your business. They truly are an important resource for your company, and they’re only becoming more important by the day.

However, some business owners aren’t paying attention to online reviews. There’s a certain degree of apathy that they feel toward feedback from customers. To them, customers can expect whatever they want to expect about their business, and that’s it.  

Others are open-minded. They know for a fact that online reviews can attract new customers but regard it as one of the marketing tactics that they’re too busy to think about. Whether this arises from fear of getting negative reviews or even suspicion about their reliability, they’re not too concerned.

Even worse is that many business owners see online reviews as a waste of time. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

All of these reasons or excuses are a recipe for disaster. The biggest mistake that a business can make is neglecting the vital element that is online reviews. They can quite literally make or break your online presence. And in today’s increasingly saturated and competitive digital world, you can’t afford to neglect them.

Here are the facts with their corresponding statistics that prove the value of online reviews.

Why You Should Care About Online Reviews

1. Consumers Refer to Online Reviews Before Making Any Purchasing Decisions

Reviews have become a primary source of information that consumers use to decide where, what, and when to buy. According to a study conducted by Spiegel Research Center in partnership with PowerReviews, 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision on products and services. In fact, 30% of respondents from a survey conducted by PowerReviews reported that they read reviews before every single purchase they make.

man looking at online reviews on smartphone

Additionally, Testimonial Engine found that 72% of customers won’t take any sort of action when it comes to making a buying decision until they’ve read reviews online. Reviews are the digital equivalent of a word-of-mouth recommendation. Potential customers are going to listen to and trust current customers more than your brand. We’re inherently skeptical creatures and don’t simply take a brand’s word for it.

It’s clear, then, that a lack of online reviews will be a huge obstacle for your brand. Collect more reviews and your sales will go up. Period.

2. Customers Especially Rely on Reviews Before Making Big Purchases

The higher the price of the product, the greater the importance is placed by customers on reviews. This is because high-priced products such as personal gadgets, appliances, and even automobiles are based on personal preference.

Consumers are more demanding in terms of their requirements and expectations when paying more for a certain product or service. They want to be able to match their expectation to the level of satisfaction of other customers who have experienced using a brand. The upfront investment is greater for the shopper, which means that the risk is, too. Thus, they want to stack the odds in their favor as much as possible. That’s where online reviews come in. 

So, if you’re selling something with a higher price point, then you’re going to want to take extra care here. Asking for online reviews from people after they’ve purchased from you and have had time to use the product/service will be crucial to your success.

3. Reviews Increase Confidence in Your Brand for Prospective Customers

A study conducted by Brightlocal’s annual Consumer Review Survey found out that 87% of American-based consumers need a business to have an average rating of three to five stars to use it. Interestingly, 11% looked only for businesses with a perfect five-star rating. Womply also found out that five-star businesses earn less in revenue than businesses with a one- to 1.5-star rating. While this looks ironic, excellent ratings, in reality, lead to consumer skepticism. Having a perfect or near-perfect score makes consumers suspicious and gives them the impression that reviews are too good to be true. This finding aligned with ReviewTracker’s survey that an average rating of 4.5 to five stars is actually more appealing to customers.

None of this is to say that you should intentionally try to manipulate your ratings. However, it should bring you some comfort that being perfect isn’t necessary. Instead, focus on creating awesome products and services, and then getting glowing reviews from your customers.

woman carrying shopping bags

4. Negative Reviews Can Be a Good Thing

Though negative reviews are inevitable, they can actually work in your favor. According to Reevoo, negative reviews can increase conversions by up to 85%. And more than two-thirds of customers trust businesses more when they see a mix of good and bad reviews.

This is good news for your business! A few bad reviews won’t derail your average score as long as you have a steady stream of (mostly positive) reviews.

And again, we really mean it when we say that negative reviews happen to everyone. It will never be possible to please everyone. The most popular brands and products in the world have people who hate them. So, don’t lose sleep over people who have not-so-flattering opinions of your brand, as long as these reviews are the exception — not the rule.

5. Higher Review Quantity Affects Credibility

Besides the overall star rating, the number of online reviews is also a powerful factor that customers consider when evaluating a business. How many reviews are enough? Salsify revealed that an average of 112 reviews would make consumers trust a business.

This indicates that as consumers prefer businesses with a higher volume of reviews, business owners like you should actively and consistently encourage your customers to share their experience about your business. The more reviews your business has, the more credible you appear to consumers. You can easily ask for reviews by hanging a sign in your store (if you have a brick and mortar). You should also be asking for reviews via email and also your social media channels.

Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business are all important places to collect reviews.

google on ipad

6. Online Reviews Can Drive More Sales

Reviews do more than build trust. They can make or break your business growth. Statistics published by Reevoo found that 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. The Spiegel report supported this by showing that the first five reviews increase sales nearly four-fold. These aren’t numbers to scoff at and can mean a serious boost for your revenue.

With more favorable reviews, customers are more likely to come back and will prefer you over your competitors. Furthermore, a study published by the Harvard Business Review showed that simply achieving a one-star increase in your overall online review rating can increase revenue by up to 9%. A closer look at this study reveals that reviews result in an increase in sales and overall business growth.

Think one more review won’t make a difference? Think again!

7. Reviews Create Customer Engagement

Engagement is not a one-way street. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is to actively encourage customers to leave reviews. A report by Podium suggests that businesses overlook a major opportunity when they do not engage with customers to leave reviews. According to the report, 77% of consumers agreed to leave an online review if given the chance.

Businesses need to look for ways to make it easy as possible to encourage customer reviews. In order to collect reviews, you can share customer experiences via social media, have a special feedback button on your website, incentivize reviews through loyalty programs, send an email request after their purchase, and manage communities or forums dedicated to customer feedback.

It’s also possible to use reviews to rectify poor customer experience. By simply responding to a negative review, you can restore your customer’s trust and improve customer experience. Statuslabs found that by simply replying to online reviews, 30% of consumers become optimistic about a brand.

This is also an opportunity to possibly learn something about your brand, product, or service. When people leave negative feedback, listen! This information is as insightful and informative as positive feedback, if not more. Use it to improve your brand.

man on the computer

8. Reviews Build Your Reputation and Expand Your Customer Base

As Warren Buffet puts it, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Creating and maintaining a good reputation isn’t an overnight achievement. According to Zendesk’s Dimensional Research, 95% of customers are more likely to share their bad experiences with peers. This is why it’s critical that you reach out to disgruntled customers and address the situation right away. Sometimes, all it takes is offering a quick apology to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.

Ultimately, a good brand reputation leads to referrals. To accomplish this, you need to amplify the voice of customers and build a culture where reviews are considered valuable.

It’s clear to see why getting more online reviews should be one facet of your digital marketing strategy. And one simple way to ask for them is to post about them across your social media channels, along with the link people can visit to leave their feedback.

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