Online reviews are an essential part of the customer journey when browsing for a product or service online. Research shows that 83% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 94% of shoppers read online reviews before buying a product. These stats make it essential for businesses to understand how online review sites impact purchasing decisions as well as their marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how online reviews work, how online reviews affect purchasing decisions, why you should care about them, and what you can do to leverage their influence on prospective customers.
How Online Reviews Work
Before we dive into how online reviews affect purchasing decisions and marketing strategies, let’s first understand how online reviews work. There are two main categories of online reviews, ratings, and reviews.
For ratings, customers rate products or services on a scale of 1 to 10. For reviews, people share their experience with a product or service in a few paragraphs. Both ratings and reviews impact purchasing decisions. Consumers use online reviews to help inform their purchasing decisions by seeing what others think about a product or service.
Online reviews are usually considered when people are researching a product or service before buying. Customers visit review sites to see what others are saying about a product or service and then make their purchasing decision based on this information.
How Online Reviews Affect Purchasing Decisions
Customers Treat Reviews As Personal Recommendations
Online reviews allow customers to give their opinion on a product or service. Additionally, they can also list relevant details such as the pros and cons of each product or service. This means online reviews allow customers to give personal recommendations to other shoppers.
When customers read online reviews from other people, they often treat them as personal recommendations. This means they’ll be more likely to follow the advice that’s given about the product or service, including purchasing it.
You can take advantage of this by encouraging your customers to leave reviews after they’ve purchased a product. This can increase the number of reviews that are published on your site while also encouraging future customers to trust your brand.
Negative Online Reviews Diminish Credibility
When customers read a negative review of your product or service, they’ll likely trust it less. This can cause them to feel less confident about your brand and even consider purchasing a different product or service.
Negative reviews are essential to improving customer satisfaction, but they can also hurt your business if they’re not managed properly. You can’t delete negative reviews from your site, but you can work to ensure they don’t hurt your business.
This means resolving negative reviews as soon as possible to ensure that customers don’t see only negative feedback on your site.
Positive Reviews Boost Sales
If customers see positive reviews on your site, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you. Nearly 84% of consumers say that reading online reviews makes them trust a business more. You can boost the number of positive reviews on your site by encouraging customers to leave them after they’ve purchased a product.
You can also work with your team to create a structured review process that ensures positive reviews are published on your site. This can help boost sales by increasing customer trust in your brand and encouraging shoppers to purchase your products more frequently.
Customers Compare Reviews Of Competing Businesses
Customers will often compare the reviews of competing businesses before they make a purchasing decision. This means they’ll be more likely to buy from a site that has positive reviews compared to one that has negative reviews. You can use this to your advantage by encouraging customers to leave positive reviews on your site.
This can help boost your sales by increasing customer confidence in your brand. Customers who see positive reviews on your site are more likely to purchase from you because they’ll be more confident in your products and services. You can also encourage customers to leave negative reviews for your competitors to help boost your sales even more.
Responding To Online Reviews
As we’ve seen, online reviews affect purchasing decisions. That being said, you want to respond to positive and negative reviews on review sites. Why? Because responding to reviews shows customers that you care about their experience and you want to improve their experience with your business.
This is essential because 71% of consumers expect a business owner or representative to respond to their reviews. How do you respond to online reviews? BrightLocal recommends replying to all online reviews and addressing both positive and negative feedback constructively.
Beyond this, you can use a tool like Reputation Management to track reviews and respond to them easily. This can help you keep track of your online reputation and respond to reviews in a timely fashion.
3 Steps To Leverage The Influence Of Online Reviews
Now that we’ve discussed how online reviews affect purchasing decisions and marketing strategies, let’s go over ways you can leverage their influence to grow your business.
Step 1: Maintain A Structured Review Process
Online reviews have become an essential part of the customer journey when browsing for a product or service online. Research shows that 83% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 94% of shoppers read online reviews before buying a product. These stats make it essential for businesses to understand how online review sites impact purchasing decisions as well as their marketing strategy. When customers leave a review on your site, it means they’re willing to take the time to share their honest thoughts about your product or service.
This means they have a strong feeling about your business and are willing to put their name behind it. To maintain a consistent review process, you’ll want to create a review policy that outlines the rules customers must follow to leave a review.
Step 2: Respond To Every Review
Negative reviews can be damaging to your business, but responding to them can help reduce their impact. Customers are more likely to believe your side of the story when you respond to their negative reviews than if you ignore it.
You can quickly respond to every review on your site by using a review management system. These platforms allow you to respond to every review with a private message that appears under the review.
When responding to negative reviews, it’s important to remain professional. Don’t attack the customer or get defensive. Instead, simply explain the situation from your point of view and offer an apology if necessary. Responding to negative reviews can help reduce the negative impact they have on your site. It can also help you learn from mistakes and improve your business as a result.
Step 3: Use Reviews To Inform Your Marketing Strategy
Review data can be extremely valuable for your marketing strategy. You can use review data to inform your social media posts, blog content, and even your marketing strategy when pitching new business leads.
Keep in mind that only about 50% of customers leave an online review for products and services, so you’ll have to be strategic about how you use this data. For example, you can use review data to inform your content strategy. You can use customer feedback to create relevant blog posts that appeal to specific segments of shoppers.
You can also use review data to inform your marketing pitches when pitching new business leads, such as cold calling or email outreach.
Developing Your Marketing Strategy Based On Reviews
When you take a look at the nuts and bolts of online reviews, you can see how they affect purchasing decisions. With ratings and reviews, customers will mention the good (the product’s benefits), the bad (the product’s drawbacks), and the ugly (the product’s weaknesses).
This means that you can use reviews to inform your marketing strategy. You can read reviews to determine what your customers will like and dislike about your products or services. By reading reviews, you can find out what features and benefits your products or services provided.
You can also determine what your products’ weaknesses are. What do you do with this information? You use it to improve your marketing strategy and identify points of improvement. This is particularly true if you have negative reviews. You can use negative reviews to identify areas of improvement and create a marketing strategy that meets customer needs.
Online reviews affect purchasing decisions and marketing strategies. You can use online reviews to inform your marketing strategy and identify areas for improvement. You can also maintain a structured review process and respond to customer feedback to improve customer satisfaction.
Beyond this, online reviews help build trust with potential customers. These customers will see that others have used your products or services and recommend them. This means that online reviews can help you grow your business.
You can use online reviews to inform your marketing strategy and create products and services that meet customers’ needs. This will allow you to build a marketing strategy that will help you grow your business.
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