Millennials are the most digitally savvy generation, and they are the first to adopt new technology. This is why this generation is often referred to as digital natives. Millennials are using online platforms to research products before buying them. 

The majority of millennials read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. They trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. 82% of millennials read online reviews before making a purchase decision.

This article will explore the importance of online reviews to consumers, whether consumers use reviews, what types of businesses see the most impact from reviews, which businesses benefit the most from reviews, and how businesses can use this information to improve their own reviews strategy.

What Does Research Tell Us About Review Usage?

online store reviews

Reviews have been proven to drive sales, but how exactly do consumers use them? The best way to understand how consumers use reviews is to look at the research.

The best data we have on this comes from a study conducted by Review Trackers. They surveyed 1,000 Americans and asked them how often they read online reviews, and why they read them. The results of this survey can help us understand the realities of review usage and better inform our review strategy as marketers.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • 67% of shoppers read online reviews.
  • Millennials are the most prolific reviewers (78%).
  • 36% read reviews while they’re in a store and 50% read reviews after purchasing a product.
  • Most people read 2-3 online reviews before making a purchase decision.
  • Most people only click on the first 3 reviews on a page.
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.

Importance Of Online Reviews To Consumers

Before we get into how consumers use reviews, let’s explore why online reviews are so important to consumers. Online reviews not only affect overall product sales, but also brand perception.

Customers rely on online reviews to provide insight into a product before purchasing it. As a result, a bad review can harm sales and brand perception. A good review, on the other hand, can have a positive impact on sales and brand recognition.

This can be especially important for businesses that rely on repeat customers. Recurring customers are more profitable than new customers, so it’s critical to keep them satisfied. If you have brand loyalists leaving reviews, it can help you retain them. If you have dissatisfied customers leaving reviews, it can help you identify issues so you can fix them.

How Consumers Use Reviews

One of the most important things to consider when exploring review usage is understanding how often reviews are read. Just because a review exists doesn’t mean it will be read by anyone. 

First, let’s look at how people will discover reviews for a business or product. Research shows that most consumers will use search engine results pages when looking for reviews.

Consumers also use social media and e-commerce websites for reviews. As well as where consumers find reviews, we also need to know how they engage with reviews. Research shows that consumers will read 1.8 times more reviews when they are in a shopping mode than when they are in a reading mode. This indicates that consumers engage more with reviews when they are in the buying mindset.

Finally, let’s consider what percentage of consumers actively write reviews. According to research, only 7% of consumers write reviews. This means that the impact of the 93% of consumers who don’t write reviews is minimal.

Which Businesses Benefit The Most From Reviews?

online reviews importance

As we explored how consumers use reviews, you may have started to wonder which industries see the most impact from reviews. What type of business will reviews have the most impact on? The answer to this question depends on how people use reviews. The businesses that see the most impact from reviews are those that:

Offer A More Personal Experience Than The Competition


  • Healthcare
  • Travel, and
  • Hospitality Businesses

Have A Large Product Selection


  • E-commerce companies
  • Retailers, and
  • Brands

Have A Brand That People Feel Strongly About


  • Apple
  • Samsung, and
  • Ford

3 Tips To Maximize The Impact Of Reviews

Now that you understand how consumers use reviews, it’s time to dive into how you can leverage your existing reviews and encourage new ones. These 3 tips will help you maximize the impact of reviews on your business. They’ll also help you boost sales and improve your brand perception. Let’s take a look at each.

Review Request Emails

One of the most effective ways to get new reviews is by sending out a review request email to your customers. The best time to send this email is directly after the customer receives the product and experiences the level of service.

You can do this manually or automatically through a review request email tool. If you choose to do manual review requests, make sure to follow up with customers who don’t write a review. It’s easy to forget about these requests, which can lead to missed opportunities for additional reviews.

Review Prompts

If you don’t want to send out review request emails, there are other ways to encourage customers to write reviews. One way is by using review prompts. A review prompt is a message, usually placed on the product page or website, that encourages customers to leave a review.

There are various types of review prompts. Some businesses use generic review prompts that ask customers to rate the product and provide feedback. Other businesses use targeted review prompts that are specific to the product.

You can use review prompts in addition to sending out review request emails or on their own if you don’t want to take the time to reach out to customers individually.

Respond To Bad Reviews

You might assume that you should only respond to positive reviews, but that isn’t the case. It’s important to respond to negative reviews as well, and it’s important to do so as quickly as possible. There are a few ways to respond to negative reviews.

You can respond with an open-ended comment, asking the customer to contact you directly so that you can help resolve the issue. There is also the option of sending them a private message.

Final Thoughts

Online reviews are the most important part of any business owner’s marketing strategy. They allow consumers to make an informed decision about making a purchase, and they also help businesses gain recognition for their quality service. When people are looking for a new product, the last thing they want to find on a search engine is an empty page with no reviews. 

The best thing about online reviews is that you can use them to boost your business’ standing and improve your brand perception. That said, not every business will see an impact from online reviews. If your business is not well-known, or if you don’t have a large number of loyal customers, you may not see any impact from the content on your business’ website.

Lastly, it is important to know that even if your business is one of those listed above, you still have to make an effort to maximize the impact of online reviews. Reviewing request emails, reviewing prompts, and responding to bad reviews are some of the ways to do so.

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The Importance of Online Reviews: The Ultimate Guide