Online reviews have become huge factors that influence a buyer’s journey. They are the modernized version of word-of-mouth based on the principle of marketing and advertising. It has especially evolved rapidly over the last decade to significantly impact everything from brand awareness to consumer trust.
So, this question should be a no-brainer: when you’re on the hunt for a new audio system, do you base your decision on the ads you see or the reviews other customers have left behind?
The answer would be the latter, of course.
How online reviews affect your business today
According to a 2016 survey from Bright Local, 84% trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know personally. This statistic alone proves just how important consumer feedback is for your business. In fact, online reviews are imperative to the success of any company’s digital marketing strategy today.
The buyer cycle
Ratings and reviews influence every stage of the buyer’s cycle. Their presence is imminent from awareness all the way to conversion. We’d even add an additional stage to the cycle and call it ‘evaluation,’ where leaving a review after conversion can influence the coming awareness stage of the following buyer.
95% of shoppers in the United States consider reviews as an essential part of making a purchase decision, according to Power of Reviews (2016). Our review campaign with Lelo Hex backs this statistic up after proving more reviews for a product lead to high conversion rates.
On-site online reviews provide unique content about your product that your product description may otherwise not have. The more reviews you have, the higher your Google search result rankings will be since Google factors conversion rates into their search ranking systems.
Reviews also significantly impact off-site rankings when you sell your product on an external retailer’s website. E-retailers rank products with the most reviews or best ranked at the top of their vertical search engine. Similarly, Google will base its search engine rankings on the conversion rates on these sites as well.
Online reviews add value to your business
There are so many reasons online reviews add value to your business. First, it acts as direct input for your R&D department from the consumers themselves. Second, if managed well, it can become an extension of your customer service. Last but not least, consumer feedback builds trust, especially when you follow up on negative reviews and other forms of constructive criticism from customers.