Personal opinions on the subject may differ, but the simple fact of the matter is that online reviews are spectacularly powerful and are still gaining momentum by the day. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re working at one of the biggest brands on the face of the earth or have just set up as the smallest local e-commerce company imaginable – reviews can and will have a huge impact on your reputation and perhaps your success as a whole.
Of course it’s often debated as to whether or not anybody actually reads into online reviews for the simple reason that much of what is communicated comes down to personal opinion rather than fact. Nevertheless, research has shown that reviews do tend to be taken seriously by a pretty huge proportion of the consumer public and are extremely influential when it comes to purchasing decisions.
Take the following research carried out by Nielsen for example:
- Before deciding on a purchase, more than 60% of consumers said they consulted online reviews.
- When polled, almost 50% of all UK consumers said that they had reviewed products online.
- Statistically speaking, positive reviews can lead to a 20% increase in sales.
But what’s of genuine importance to bear in mind is that while these above statistics are certainly eye-opening and not to be overlooked, we are really only just seeing the varied take on a much larger iceberg. The reason being that while reviewing online products traditionally involved a process of creating an account, logging in, verifying your details and waiting for the review to moderated, it’s now perfectly possible for a review to be left pretty much instantaneously via a mobile device courtesy of any consumer, anywhere in the world.
Even when and where it is something as simple as star ratings, these little icons next to any given product, service or company can make all the difference in the world when it comes to influencing consumer purchase decisions.
Why You Need Online Reviews
The importance of being proactive therefore when it comes to gathering customer reviews really cannot be overstated. According to recent research carried out by TripAdvisor, over half of all UK travellers will not even consider making a reservation at a hotel which hasn’t been sufficiently reviewed. What’s more, almost 80% said that they read into reviews with such confidence that they base their booking decisions largely on the opinions of other people.
But it’s not just about instilling confidence in your target audience as online reviews have so much more power. Positive reviews allow you to build confidence and trust in your target audience, but at the same time negative or neutral reviews provide you with a platform on which to demonstrate just how committed to customer care you really are. What’s more, reviews also have the potential to increase your click-through rates, improve conversion rates and provide you with fantastic, unique and brilliantly relevant content for both your website and your social media presences.
Suffice to say therefore that if you haven’t already begun a strong and targeted campaign of proactively seeking and building an archive of online reviews, now’s the time to get started.