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Determining The Importance And Effects Of Customer Reviews
In recent years, consumer reviews have become an increasingly common part of shoppers’ purchasing decisions and the general public’s perception of a brand. These reviews have evolved into, in many ways, the internet’s answer to walking into a store and trying out a product for yourself.
Do Consumer Reviews Really Matter?
The short answer? Yes.
Recent research showed that positive online reviews are the most important factor for consumers who are considering a purchase. Between Google My Business, Yelp, Glassdoor, Facebook and several others, review platforms have begun acting as search engines to show consumers a number of factors for any given business, including star ratings, review volume (which translates to consumer engagement), prices of items offered, the source of the review and much more.
An increase of just one star on an Amazon rating correlates to a 26% increase in sales. The same shift in stars on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. On the other hand, brands with an excess of three negative reviews can expect to lose 59.2% of their potential customers. With that being said, it’s easy to view consumer reviews as unpredictable and potentially detrimental to a brand. However, audience feedback can be a powerful tool for growing a business and improving brand reputation.
Externally, marketers can use consumer reviews to promote their brands’ strengths and offerings, improve brand awareness and establish credibility and trust among their audiences. Internally, consumer reviews can be used to identify areas of improvement and opportunities to enhance messaging.
Consumer Reviews By The Numbers
The average consumer reads 10 reviews per site and requires at least 40 reviews written before trusting the overall business rating and the brand as a whole.
Some additional insight into consumers’ review habits:
- Nearly half of all consumers only focus on reviews written within the last two weeks.
- More than 50% of consumers ignore brands showing a rating of less than four stars.
- Almost 90% of consumers stated they read reviews for local companies.
- Positive reviews make 91% of consumers more likely to use a business. On the flip side, 82% of consumers are put off by negative reviews.
- More than 78% of consumers hold the same value in online reviews as they do personal recommendations.
- If consumer reviews are displayed on a brand’s page, conversion rates have the potential to increase by 270%.
- Across product categories, the likelihood of purchase usually peaks at ratings within the 4-4.7 range.
- Reviews from verified buyers are significantly more positive than reviews written by anonymous sources.
It’s safe to say, it's highly likely consumers – or prospective consumers – research and read multiple reviews before their initial interactions with brands.
A Brand’s Response To Consumer Reviews Is Equally As Important As The Review Itself
Among consumers that read reviews, 97% read businesses’ responses to reviews, making it more necessary than ever for marketers to be aware of the online conversation that surrounds their brands and engage quickly and strategically to audience feedback. According to a Sprout Social survey, when a brand responds to consumers, 65% of consumers become more loyal to the brand and 25% are less likely to post negative reviews.
This form of online reputation management can take many forms – from requesting your customers leave reviews through a seamless, clear call to action to daily social media monitoring – all in an effort to ensure your consumers are satisfied and walk away with a positive perception of your brand. In other words, if marketers are not investing efforts into collecting, managing and promoting online reviews, they are missing out on the chance to obtain an increased understanding of brand perception, control the first impression their business leaves on each consumer and acquire the ability to gain insight into how customers perceive competitors online.
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