Easy access to the internet has affected a lot of things including the way people shop. In recent times, many people don’t shop online or book appointments for a service without first checking out reviews to know what others have to say about the product or service.
A 2016 study revealed that 90% of shoppers checked at least one review online before carrying out a business transaction. In another study, 94% of shoppers online avoided doing business with some brands because of a negative review.
In light of these statistics, regardless of the industry you operate in, you should know that having and maintaining a positive reputation online has a serious impact on your business. No wonder business owners are now making reviews a part of their branding campaign.
Why online reviews matter
It serves as social proof
Nothing convinces people to patronize a business like reading the positive things others have to say about it. The consumer may not even be looking for a familiar person’s review. In fact, even if the positive review is coming from complete strangers, it is often enough to compel the potential buyer to trust the brand.
The owner of Seriously Silly Socks, an ecommerce website revealed that they noticed a 60% increase in orders when they reached over 3000 5-star online reviews their customers left for them. The owner, Andrew Gill, said that the secret to getting so many good reviews was that the company always sent out emails to the customers that have completed their orders asking for a review from them with a promise of a discount coupon in return. That way, they have been accumulating3 the social proof that helps a new buyer decide to patronize them too.
It spreads the news about your business
Whether it is a positive or negative review, such reviews have a way of spreading faster than wildfire. When people have conducted a business transaction with your business, they will be quick to defend or damage your business on external websites like TripAdvisor, FourSquare, Yelp and other external review websites. Google and other search engines make use of this data to rank your business on search engines.
It increases your trustworthiness
One way to build your online credibility is by having as many positive reviews as possible. Nothing builds peoples’ trust like when they read a lot of good things other people have to say about your business. From research, businesses with less than a 4-star rating don’t get as much patronage as those with better ratings.
This is why you see many business owners encourage their customers to leave a 5-star review for them. These kinds of reviews most often translate into more sales.
It increases online visibility
In today’s business, online visibility is key to how far a business can go. There is no doubt that people check out your brand on credible websites to reinforce their decision to do business with you. Encouraging people to talk about your product and services on social media and other channels will greatly improve your online visibility. This in turn helps your business show up when people are searching products and services that your business deals with.
It creates an avenue for businesses to communicate with consumers
Consumers love when they get responses to some of the concerns they might have about a product. If a customer wants to buy a dash cam but needs to know if the installation is DIY or will require an expert car mechanic, a prompt reply from customer service staff will increase the possibility of that customer buying your product.
As a business owner, never forgo an opportunity to converse with a consumer as it builds social proof and increases credibility. You can partner with deal platforms to offer coupons in exchange of honest reviews.
The importance of online customer reviews cannot be overemphasized. They have a huge impact on sales and in building your brand credibility. Unfortunately, bad reviews stand out more than good reviews. So, as a business owner, you should look out for such reviews and leave words that show your concern and if possible offer a promise of a replacement or refund. Do your best to ensure that you have more positive online reviews than negative.