There are many reasons your brand needs online reviews and most have to do with the way people shop online today.

Online reviews are impacting purchase decisions in ways we’ve never seen before. In fact, according to these Oberlo stats:

    • Almost 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews online before making a purchase
    • 62% say they won’t buy from a brand who censors their online reviews
    • 3 in 4 shoppers say they trust online reviews almost as much as they do personal recommendations
    • 57% of people use Google to read reviews.
    • 56% of consumers read at least 4 reviews before making a purchase
    • Almost half (47 percent) of all internet users worldwide say they post reviews about a product, company, or service each month
    • 53.3 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to their negative reviews within a week
    • 45% of consumers are more likely to support businesses if they see that they’ve responded to negative reviews
    • 82% of consumers read online reviews concerning local businesses

 

So what conclusions can we draw from these statistics?

1. Online reviews impact sales significantly

Consumers are largely influenced by what others think about your product or service offering. Enough so to increase conversion rates by as much as 270% and drive purchases.

 

2. Online reviews give you credibility

Your online identity and reputation are influenced heavily by what shoppers are saying about your brand. The more positive reviews your brand receives, the more trust you will earn from consumers. This in turn will drive more sales because will feel confident about their purchasing decisions.

 

3. Even negative reviews are useful

According to Neil Patel, 85% of consumers look for negative reviews to make informed purchase decisions and this rises to 91% among shoppers aged 18-29. The reason for this appears to be that people want to know gauge worst-case scenario and how much it will matter to them.

If and how you respond to those reviews also impacts the degree to which they impact sales. A brand that appears to want to engage with its customers and resolve problems is more likely to create a favourable impression. In turn, customers will be more inclined to want to buy from that brand.

How are some of the ways you could respond to negative reviews?

    • Make your apology sincere
    • Show empathy for the distress the customer has experienced
    • Demonstrate accountability and accept responsibility
    • Offer something to compensate for what went wrong (for e.g. a product replacement, a refund, etc.)
    • Be transparent and truthful about why the mistake occurred
    • Assure the customer that you are committed to rectifying the issue and explain how this will happen
    • Ask the customer for their further feedback to demonstrate your commitment in making sure this their bad experience isn’t repeated

 

4. Online reviews influence SEO and ranking

Reviews clearly have an effect on sales but they also have an effect on how your website performs online.

According to eSellerCafe, in the same way that quality backlinks influence where your website will display on SERPs, so too will Google use online reviews to establish if your brand or product/service offering is meeting customer demands or not. Further, positive reviews indicate to Google that your business it not only legitimate but that consumers are having a positive interaction with your brand, impacting ranking.

Business2business adds that more relevant and unique content improves the chance of getting ranked on search engines while the pages are also frequently crawled by search engine bots compared to others. Microformats of reviews on your site increase the likelihood of showing your results as “rich answers” on Google, putting you above the fold of normal search results.

Google’s local search algorithms also include data from authority 3rd party platforms like Yelp (restaurant reviews), TripAdvisor (travel-related reviews) and CrowdReviews (uses reviews to rank technology products and services).”

 

5. Online reviews impact customer engagement

Reviews play a significant role in the type of relationship that a business builds with its customers.

Establishing emotive connections and customer-business bonds are hugely important in the context of both B2C and B2B sales and marketing activities.
Responses to reviews give a business a unique opportunity to achieve this.

In fact, according to Gallup Research, “customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer. And when we look at engagement in specific industries, we find even more evidence of its impact. For example:

  • Retail banking customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank than actively disengaged customers.
  • Consumer electronics shoppers who are fully engaged spend 29% more per shopping trip than actively disengaged customers.
  • Hotel guests who are fully engaged spend 46% more per year than actively disengaged guests.
  • Companies that successfully engage their B2B customers realize 63% lower customer attrition, 55% higher share of wallet, and 50% higher productivity.”

 

Conclusion

Be mindful that there is always someone reviewing your product or service offering and someone else reading what they have to say.

People will always talk about and share their experiences with a brand. Constantly monitor what is being said about your business on all online platforms and respond accordingly.

Encourage customer engagement by keeping the conversation positive and showing genuine concern and transparency. Be consistent and demonstrate your commitment in resolving issues timeously.

Never ignore or delete negative reviews as you’ll come across as distrustful and lose credibility. Use the complaints as an opportunity to discover internal organisational problems and then fix them as quickly as possible.

 

QoboWeb

At QoboWeb, our team of web designers and developers focus on building beautiful websites that deliver results online and on all mobile devices. We design user experiences that engage consumers and which help to improve lead generation and conversion. Contact us here to find out how we can help you elevate your brand’s online presence.