Easy web access and an endless choice of products has long revolutionised the way we shop and choose services.
Whether late-night scrolling on our phones or carrying meticulous research for which web designer to go with, online reviews are increasingly becoming our most trusted friend. But how much do they actually affect purchase decisions?
Since its inception in 2010 and for every year since, the Local Consumer Review Survey conducts its namesake and gives insight over how consumers explore and use online reviews before purchasing a product.
Specifically for 2022, the survey found that 98% of consumers read online reviews for local business before making a purchase. Similarly, 78% of consumers admit that they Google to find information about local businesses about once a week. Perhaps even more importantly, 92% of online consumers stated that negative reviews convince them to avoid a specific brands.
Clearly then, having a positive online presence offers your business key advantages while dragging a negative image online can only bring harm.
Perhaps even more importantly, 92% of online consumers stated that negative reviews convince them to avoid a specific brands.
Understanding why your business needs customer reviews will help create a strong online presence for your brand and positive online footpring.
So let’s start by reviewing the three vital reasons why your business depends on what your customers publish.
Reason #1: Social Backing Drives Sales
Would you jump off a cliff if your friends did it? Yes!
It's the same with sales.
It is proven that we are that much more likely to buy something if people around us -apparently including online strangers- do the same. We simply follow suit, trusting that we are backed by an army of fellow shoppers and carrying none of the risk of being the first.
For example, we as a Design Studio have seen great difference from the early days of chasing after clients to today when our customer reviews speak for us.
Importantly, your brand identity is linked to the manner in which clients are talking about your business. Therefore, making sure to have a highly positive online footprint by not being hesitant to ask a customer for their feedback will help you drive up sales.
Reason #2: Online Reviews Increase Visibility
Launching a business is one thing, making it known is another!
Most online buyers will search on Google or even on Facebook, before deciding what to purchase. While most search engines have their own distinct mechanisms of ranking and displaying content, they all value original and fresh content.
Online reviews can help fuel the search engines and keep your brand favoured by their algorithms.
Essentially online reviews by customers give your company a steady source of (surely) positive content. This in turn has two benefits:
Fellow visitors can verify how great of a brand you are and make purchase decisions based on social-proofing
Google and search engines in general will value your website higher when choosing which results to showcase.
Beyond algorithms and search engines, it's only natural that the higher you rank the more trustworthy you appear to shoppers Googling you. Think about it, if you were the one searching which brand to choose, wouldn't you go for the one high-up on the frontpage?
Reason #3: They Build Trust
Positive thinking is contagious and so is a loveable brand!
But in order to have a brand that people love, you first need to have a brand that shoppers trust. Poetic, isn't it?
Recent research actually proved just how important online reviews are at forming your business' online presence and brand identity.
Evidently, many online shoppers distrust businesses with review scores below 4 stars and higher. Brightlocal's annual survey found out that an estimate of 87% of US-based consumers look for a company that has an average rating of 3 to 5 stars in order to choose it. This aligned with ReviewTracker’s findings that an average of 4.5 to 5 stars is more appealing to shoppers.
87% of US-based consumers look for a company that has an average rating of 3 to 5 stars
While the exact percentages do allow for a small margin of error, it is generally agreed that the businesses bolstering better online ratings are that much more likely to see those starts converted into sales.
As a last note, don't be afraid of negative reviews - everyone is guaranteed a few!
It can be your chance to address existing issues and show to skeptics or potential buyers how your company handles pressure.