Nowadays, you don’t order a take-out, you don’t book a hotel or buy a product without having read some reviews first. According to Bizrate Insights , in 2021, 91% of people say they read at least one review before making a buying decision. Marketers know that online research plays an important role in the modern consumer’s shopping journey. Successful e-commerce sites are those that harness customer reviews as a valuable sales tool. But then, what is the exact role of reviews in the decision-making process of consumers? How to collect opinions to establish your credibility? This is what we will see in this article.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE ONLINE REVIEWS TO YOUR BUSINESS?
1. Buying decisions are based on customer reviews
According to BrightLocal , 97% of consumers have searched online for reviews of local businesses. This figure already says a lot about the importance of customer reviews and their impact on purchasing decisions. What’s even more important is that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.
Positive or negative reviews can have a significant impact on your sales, as consumers seek feedback before making a buying decision . We will come back to this later in this article. If they find the reviews reliable and accurate, they will most likely take them into account. Customers want to identify with reviewers; they want to hear the opinions of people like them, even if they are complete strangers.
2. Customers will tell you what they think about your product / service.
Consumers are not limited to digital and can share their experiences as they wish. They are free to honestly say what they think of the product. What they think is essential that others know before making a buying decision. Often times, they don’t limit their opinion to “This product is good” or “I didn’t like this product” – they explain why . And that’s where these reviews come in handy.
With reviews, businesses will know what to improve, what details to change, and what benefits of your product to showcase and promote. Even negative reviews are helpful as they tell you what needs to be improved to deliver a better product / service.
3. Gain visibility
Search engine algorithms take into account the importance of customer reviews . A high number of reviews indicates that your business is legitimate and reliable . Your search engine ranking will improve if you get more positive reviews . When comments about a product are shared on social networks, readers may want to consult the website of the brand, which increases the brand awareness and brand visibility . Comments onconsumer review sites can also have an impact on the number of visits to your own site .
Take the example of a hotel on TripAdvisor. This site allows travelers to rate the hotels they have visited and on different aspects of them (cleanliness, location, etc.). They can also leave comments in free format. If a hotel is highly rated by travelers, it will appear higher in the ranking of all hotels in the city. This will encourage TripAdvisor users to visit the hotel site.
WHAT IMPACTS FOR POSITIVE REVIEWS?
The positive ratings are a crucial way for companies to sell their products, customers are willing to spend 31% more for a company with excellent advice. But there are also other advantages:
- Increased Consumer Confidence – As you know, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose as a result of a bad experience. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy after reading a trusted review.
- A direct line with customers – Customer feedback will give you information that will help you improve their experience. You will soon be able to build a picture of the entire customer journey , and discover which areas you are performing well in and which need to be improved. With most review sites, you can also respond to the customer and start a dialogue to learn more, and come full circle to make sure their issues are resolved.
- Appear Higher in Search Engine Rankings – Online customer reviews rank higher (6.47%) in local organic searches . What customers say in their reviews is also important: “Negative sentiment in Google reviews” is a negative ranking factor.
WHAT IMPACTS FOR NEGATIVE REVIEWS?
On the contrary, negative reviews online can have a devastating effect on your business:
- 3.3 is the minimum number of stars given to a business that consumers would engage with, and only 13% of consumers would consider calling on a business with a 1 or 2 star rating.
- 94% say an online review convinced them to avoid a business.
- Four in five consumers changed their mind about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews.
It’s no wonder, but the numbers confirm it: a negative opinion can have dire consequences for your business. Take the example of a restaurant: the loss of half a star in its overall rating leads to a decrease in reservations of 19%.
HOW TO COLLECT REVIEWS ONLINE?
Now that you know how online reviews influence consumer decisions , it’s time to develop your own online reputation management strategy . Below are some practical tips to help you ask your customers to leave a review for your business.
- Send a survey to find out what your customers think of your products or services.
- Then send a thank you email and ask them to give their feedback.
- Include a personalized link to your business review page to make it super easy for your customers to leave you a review . For Google reviews , you can use Google’s dedicated tool to create a short link to include in your email.
- Encourage your customers to rate their experience with the services you have provided, as well as the mention of your brand, as it will usually include the niche keywords you want to rank for.
- Be sure to give the customer a guideline to follow, as this will have a positive impact on the return rate.
- Respond to the notice . Research shows that responding to comments not only builds trust with your customers, but also earns the trust of search engines.