Research shows that online reviews have become a deciding factor in the purchase process of potential buyers. The majority of prospective customers rely on these ratings while making the final decision regarding the purchase of a product or service. 

With an increase in e-commerce and mobile shopping, businesses are now accessible to a wider audience than ever before. However, this also makes it challenging for brands to stand out and build trust among customers. 

To succeed in today’s world, businesses need to leverage every available resource that can help drive traffic and sales. As it turns out, online reviews play an important role in this process. Read on to find out more!

The Rise of Online Reviews

Reviews have been a part of e-commerce since the inception of online shopping in the 1990s. However, the first major influx of reviews came as a result of the dot-com bubble bursting in the year 2000. Before the bubble burst, e-commerce was starting to grow at a very fast rate. 

After the bubble burst, the industry was forced to re-evaluate itself, which is when online reviews became a staple part of the e-commerce industry. The growth of e-commerce and customer trust has led to a significant increase in reviews in recent years, with many businesses encouraging their customers to write reviews on popular platforms such as Amazon.

What Does Research Say?

A survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers found that more than half used customer reviews while shopping in-store, while two-thirds used them while shopping online. Reviews are most likely to affect consumer purchasing decisions in the categories of health and beauty products, travel, and automotive. 

Online reviews are also the main way that consumers determine which businesses to use. Another study found that more than half of consumers researched a business’s reputation before purchasing from it. 

The top reasons for doing so are to check the quality of the products or service, to determine if the business is legitimate, and to see if other customers were happy with their experience.

More Online Review Statistics for 2022

  • 88% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. This is an increase from 2016 when the number was 84%. 
  • 67% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This also shows an increase compared to 2016 when the number was 58%. 
  • 64% of consumers often research online before visiting a store. This reports an increase of 4% compared to 2016.
  • 45% of consumers say they read online reviews as often as they read reviews in magazines or newspapers.

Why Do Trust and Reviews Matter?

Reviews have become a critical part of the online shopping experience for consumers. It is because reviews simplify the otherwise complicated decision-making process by providing a summary of other people’s experiences with a product or service. 

It’s important to note that these reviews aren’t just about the quality of the product or the service being reviewed, it’s also about the level of trust that the reviewer feels towards the business. Reviews are essentially a two-way conversation between a customer and the business. 

While the business might be tempted to delete a review or two, it’s best to take a step back and see the review as an opportunity to engage with your customers and show what makes your brand special. Here are more ways that online reviews can help your business as they influence purchase decisions.

It Can Increase Sales

One of the most obvious and immediate impacts of having a robust review system is an increase in sales. Just like in real-world commerce, sales in the online world are often closely tied to the relative strength of your brand. And while many e-commerce sites allow you to add products to your store, they don’t always have a robust review system in place. 

If you want to boost your sales as much as possible, you’ll want to make sure you have a review system in place where customers can leave feedback about their experience. This way, you can encourage repeat business, and even drive traffic from additional customers who are looking for products from brands with a lot of positive reviews.

It Influences Customer Decisions

In addition to increasing sales, positive reviews can also influence customer decisions. In other words, customers who read positive reviews are more likely to buy from you. 

And customers who read negative reviews may be less likely to make a purchase. This influence is especially true when customers are new to your brand. That’s because they have no previous experience to fall back on. 

As a result, they are more likely to be swayed by the information that they have at their disposal.

It’s a Free Marketing Tool

Online reviews are a free marketing tool that can help you drive more sales and increase your brand awareness. Having a robust review system in place that allows customers to leave feedback on your products and services is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. Compared to many traditional marketing strategies, online reviews are extremely cost-effective. 

Most businesses don’t have a ton of extra cash to throw around. And as a result, many are often looking for ways to cut costs. However, with a review system in place, you can start to drive more traffic and increase sales without having to spend a dime. 

This is because customers often leave reviews to provide feedback about their experience. If you do it right, you can prompt customers to leave highly positive reviews. And these positive reviews can have a significant impact on your business.

It Helps in Brand Building

If you want to build a strong brand that customers recognize and trust, you need to build positive reviews. That’s because positive reviews play a crucial role in brand building. 

And while marketing campaigns or promotional strategies can help boost your brand in the short term, reviews have the potential to have a long-lasting impact. Positive reviews can have a lasting impact on your brand. 

By building positive reviews, you can help establish your brand as the go-to solution for a wide range of problems. And by doing so, you’ll set yourself up for long-term growth and success.

It Lets You know What to Improve

Reviews also help you improve your business. As you start to collect reviews, you’ll likely notice that some are more positive than others. These positive reviews can help you identify the areas that you need to improve on.

 When you see that a review is particularly negative, you can take steps to figure out what caused the customer to be dissatisfied. And then you can use that information to improve your service or product so that you can prevent other customers from having the same experience. 

You can also learn a lot from positive reviews. By reading them, you can discover what your customers like most about your brand and product. And then you can use that information to drive more sales and increase your overall revenue.

How To Increase Online Reviews?

Be Accessible

Reviews are a critical part of the sales process. That’s why you should be accessible to both potential and existing customers who want to leave their ratings and comments. 

You can start by having a review option on your website and make sure that it is easy to find and accessible. You can also create a dedicated email address where visitors can send their feedback.

Make it as Easy as Possible

At the same time, however, don’t force your customers to leave a review if they don’t want to. If they are happy with your product or service, they will leave a review naturally as they are likely to visit the review sites. 

On the other hand, if they are not happy with your product or service, they will leave a negative review. So, don’t worry about negative reviews. It’s a natural part of doing business and can be helpful for other customers who are deciding whether to do business with you. 

It can also help you identify problem areas so that you can improve your products and services.

Appreciate Reviews

If a customer leaves a review, it’s important to thank them for their time and effort. You also need to acknowledge their feedback and make sure that your team follows up on any issues raised in the review. If you respond to negative reviews, it will show others that you are willing to improve. You can also add a link to your response on the review platform so that others can see it.

Offer Discounts/Premiums in Exchange

If there is a pattern of negative reviews, you can try to address it by offering a discount or a premium in exchange for leaving a positive review. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to bribe your customers into leaving a review. But if you have a genuine concern about your product or service, you can use this method to get your side out there.

Final Words

Reviews matter and they will continue to be an important part of the online shopping experience. The good news is that there are plenty of ways that businesses can encourage customers to leave reviews and create a robust online presence. 

More importantly, most of these things can be controlled by the business. This means that it’s up to each brand to leverage the power of reviews and encourage their customers to leave positive feedback.

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