Consumers today have more power than ever before. With the click of a button, they can find out everything they need to know about a product or service before making a purchase. And one of the most important resources they use is online reviews.
According to consumer research, 84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews more than word of mouth information for any online retailer as much as personal recommendations. That’s a huge increase from just a few years ago when only 49 percent said they trusted online customer reviews. While negative word of mouth harms businesses but online reviews statistics reveal that retailer evaluation depends more on pure internet reviews.
So why are online positive and negative reviews so important? And what do consumers think about them? We took a closer look at the latest data to find out.
What Are Online Reviews And Why Do Consumers Use Them?
Online consumer reviews are written opinions about a product or service that are posted on the internet. They can be helpful for consumers who are looking to purchase because they provide an unbiased opinion about the quality of the product or service.
According to the same consumer research we mentioned earlier, 70 percent of consumers say they read online reviews before making a purchase. And 58 percent say they’re more likely to buy from a business that has positive reviews.
So it’s clear that online reviews are important to consumers. But why do they trust an online review so much? Customers read online reviews and take any negative review in direct relation to the customer satisfaction provided by the seller.
There are a few reasons:
Online Reviews Are Written By Real People:
When you read an online review, you know that it’s coming from a real person who has actually used the product or service. This is in contrast to advertising, which is often created by businesses to make their products look as good as possible.
Online Reviews Are Unbiased:
Because negative consumer reviews are written by regular consumers, they’re not biased like some advertising can be. Consumers can trust that the reviewer is giving their honest opinion about the product or service.
Online Reviews Are Timely:
Online reviews are typically posted soon after the consumer has used the product or service. This means that they’re relevant and up-to-date, which is important when making a purchase decision.
Online Reviews Provide Social Proof:
When you see that other people have had a positive experience with a product or service, it makes you more likely to try it yourself. This is known as social proof, and it’s a powerful psychological phenomenon.
Online Reviews Build Trust:
Because online reviews are written by real people, they help to build trust between the consumer and the business. This is especially important for small businesses, which may not have the same brand recognition as larger businesses.
Online Reviews Are Easy To Find:
Thanks to search engines and social media, it’s easy for consumers to find online reviews. And when they’re looking for a product or service, they’re likely to come across multiple reviews before making a purchase.
They Offer A Glimpse Into The Customer Experience:
Online reviews offer a valuable insight into the customer experience. And this can be helpful for businesses, because it allows them to see where they’re doing well and where they need to improve.
They’re Easy To Find And Read:
As we mentioned before, online reviews are easy to find thanks to search engines and social media. And they’re usually short and to the point, which makes them quick and easy to read.
They’re Available 24/7:
Online reviews are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that consumers can read them at any time, even if the business is closed.
What Do Consumers Think About Online Reviews?
Now that we know why consumers use online reviews, let’s take a look at what they think about them. Here are some key findings from the latest data:
1. Most Consumers Trust Online Reviews
As we mentioned earlier, 84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That number has been steadily increasing over the past few years, which shows that more and more people are relying on online reviews when making purchase decisions.
2. Online reviews are influencing purchase decisions
Not only do consumers trust online reviews, but they’re also using them to make purchase decisions. 58 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a business that has positive reviews [Source]. And nearly one-third of consumers say they’ve been influenced by negative reviews.
3. Consumers are reading online reviews before making a purchase
Nearly three-quarters of consumers (70 percent) say they read online reviews before making a purchase. And 41 percent of consumers say they read online reviews regularly. That means if you don’t have any reviews, you could be missing out on potential customers.
4. Online Reviews Are Important For Local Businesses
Local businesses are especially reliant on online reviews. According to the latest data, 86 percent of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses before making a purchase. And nearly half of consumers say they won’t consider a business if it doesn’t have any reviews.
5. Consumers Are Concerned About Fake Reviews
Even though most consumers trust online reviews, they’re also aware that some businesses try to game the system by writing fake reviews. 65 percent of consumers say they’re concerned about fake reviews, and 41 percent have said they’ve been duped by one in the past.
As you can see, online reviews are an important part of the purchase decision process for consumers. And if you want to attract new customers and grow your business, you need to make sure you have a strong presence on review sites.
If you don’t have any reviews yet, start by reaching out to your happy customers and asking them to leave a review. You can also offer incentives, like discounts or free products, to encourage people to write a review. And once you start getting reviews, be sure to respond to both positive and negative online reviews. This will show potential customers that you value feedback and are willing to make changes based on it.