Role of Online Reviews in
Trying to get your website to have credibility is a big part of marketing. Online reviews can help. We have compiled this article to help you understand how to implement an online review section on your website.
Why are online reviews critical? Online reviews are playing a more prominent and more significant role in digital marketing and sales. Customers (potential and current) are constantly reading online reviews to discern if they should buy a product, hire a company, visit a destination, or eat at a restaurant.
Over the years, the popularity of online reviews has been increasing. However, the statistics alone prove why online reviews are essential:
- In a 2019 study, 61% of U.S. online shoppers said the number of reviews was vital to them.
- According to a BrightLocal study last year, 87% of customers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020.
- In 2021, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product, and 94% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above.
Like it or not, online reviews are becoming a key component of your company’s overall reputation in the public eye. Let’s break down where these reviews are coming from, how to handle both positive and negative reviews, and how you can take advantage of these reviews to help your business grow.
Online reviews come from several websites and social media channels. Here are some of the top sites on which customers leave reviews:
- If you haven’t claimed your company’s listing on Google My Business, now’s the time. Why? Because prospective customers can learn essential information about your company without even having to go to your website. Find out why.
- When it comes to online reviews, Amazon is a no-brainer. If you have products that are sold on Amazon, chances are, customers have left reviews.
- There’s a tab for reviews on every Facebook business account where customers can either recommend or not recommend your company. These reviews are also pulled onto Google search as a star rating under the Google My Business box.
- Yelp is a trendy review site where you can search for just about any business. To see reviews left by customers, you’ll have to claim your company’s page.
- For reviews about vacations (think rentals, restaurants, tourist spots), TripAdvisor is the site. So many people look to the reviews on TripAdvisor when planning out a break.
- BBB allows customers to search for any business or charity and leave a review on a scale of A+ to F. If your company fulfills specific credentials, you’ll be marked as a BBB “Accredited Charity.”
- Angi is the place for finding home services. If you are a roofer, plumber, handyman, etc., Angi likely has a page for your business with customer reviews.
Buyer-beware when it comes to third-party review websites that charge for access. While these sites may have some reviews of your business, your efforts are best spent where most of your audience resides.
Why You Should Care About Online Reviews
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 purchasing products and services. Additionally, 30% of respondents from a survey conducted by PowerReviews reported that they read reviews before every single purchase they make.
Additionally, Testimonial Engine found that 72% of customers won’t take any 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. But, conversely, collect more reviews, and your sales will go up. Period.
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 regarding their requirements and expectations when paying more for a specific product or service. They want to match their expectation to the level of satisfaction of other customers who have experienced using a brand. The upfront investment is more significant for the shopper, which means that the risk is, too. Thus, they want to stack the odds in their favour 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.
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 companies with a perfect five-star rating. Womply also found out that five-star businesses earn less 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 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 excellent products and services and then getting glowing reviews from your customers.
Though negative reviews are inevitable, they can work in your favour. 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 (predominantly positive) thoughts.
And again, we 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.
Besides the overall star rating, the number of online reviews is also a decisive factor that customers consider when evaluating a business. But, how many studies are enough? For example, salsify revealed that an average of 112 reviews would make consumers trust a company.
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 experiences 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). It would help if you also were asking for reviews via email and also your social media channels.
We hope that the above article has been a help when trying to add online reviews to your website.
Article compiled by hughesagency.ca
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