As more and more businesses focus on growing their online presence, many are turning to social media and Google searches as a way to increase brand awareness. However, marketing strategies such as these aren’t going to be enough in the future.
That’s because more and more consumers are becoming savvy when it comes to recognizing marketing ploys. Instead of trusting every brand, they see online or in advertisements, most shoppers are taking the time to read online reviews before making a purchase.
As a result, the role that online reviews will play in 2022 will be much different than it is today. Now that you have an idea of how things stand now, keep reading to learn about what the future holds for online reviews in 2022.
Definition Of Online Reviews
Before we dive into the rest of this article, let’s first define what exactly online reviews are. Simply put, online reviews are written evaluations of a person’s experience with a certain product or service. People who write these reviews are typically either customer who’ve recently made a purchase or past customers.
Not to be confused with comments or feedback on social media, online reviews focus on the pros and cons of a certain product or service. As such, these reviews are typically posted on a company’s website (either manually or by a review management system). In the past, online reviews were primarily seen as a way for customers to share their thoughts about a product or service.
However, thanks to advancements in AI, we’re now able to see how these reviews affect the purchasing decisions of consumers. In fact, according to one study, 88% of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. For this reason, more and more businesses are turning to online reviews as a way to boost sales, increase their online presence, and increase their brand reputation.
A Brief History Of Online Reviews
Before we take a look at the future of online reviews, let’s take a quick look back at the history of online reviews. In 1995, the first online review was posted on Amazon. By the year 2000, there were already 100 million reviews posted online. The first review website—Yelp—was founded in 2004.
The first review app—Trustpilot—was founded in 2006. In the early 2000s, many brands were skeptical of online reviews. Some thought that the authenticity of reviews could not be trusted. Others didn’t want to deal with the negative feedback that came with online reviews.
However, online reviews are now a staple for many businesses. Consumers turn to online reviews for almost all purchases.
Types Of Online Reviews
There are many different types of online reviews. The most popular types of online reviews are product reviews, customer testimonials, and product comments.
These are written reviews that focus on a specific product. Product reviews often include ratings, details about the customer’s experience, and comparisons to other products. Many online shoppers read product reviews before purchasing to determine if a product is worth purchasing.
These are reviews that focus on the quality of service. Customer testimonials usually focus on the results that customers received from the business, such as how quickly a job was completed or how well a project was completed.
These are short reviews that focus on specific features of a product. Product comments are often found alongside other information about the product.
There are also a few other types of online reviews that you may come across. These include comparison reviews, unedited reviews, unverified reviews, and promotional reviews.
Online Reviews For Business
Online reviews have the potential to have a huge impact on your business. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an online storefront, you need to do everything you can to encourage customers to leave online reviews. Unfortunately, not all customers will leave a review after making a purchase.
Only about 9% of customers leave reviews after making a purchase. There are many different reasons why customers might not leave reviews. Some customers may be too busy to leave reviews after making a purchase. Other customers may not think that reviews are worth their time, given the fact that they aren’t compensated for their reviews.
Fortunately, you can encourage customers to leave online reviews by creating a customer-friendly experience. One of the best ways to do this is to offer exceptional customer service. If you’re able to provide a positive customer experience, you’re more likely to receive positive reviews.
The Importance Of Online Reviews In 2022
Now that we have a basic idea of how online reviews have evolved over the past few years, let’s take a look at why online reviews are so important in 2022. As mentioned earlier, more and more consumers are reading online reviews before making a purchase.
A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 74% of consumers read online reviews when searching for a local business. Another survey found that 93% of consumers believe online customer reviews are an important factor when making a purchasing decision.
It’s easy to see how important online reviews are when you consider that they’re the main source of information for most customers. This makes it critical for brands to understand how to influence customers through online reviews.
Recent Developments Of Online Reviews
Over the past few years, there have been a couple of developments in the online review space. These developments may hint at what we can expect in the future. First, Amazon has begun to incorporate blockchain technology into its review system. Blockchain is the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The reason Amazon made this change is that blockchain records every interaction in a decentralized way. This creates a permanent and unchangeable record of the interaction. As a result of this change, Amazon reviews will now be more trustworthy.
Reviewers will now have to prove that they purchased the product before they can leave a review. With blockchain technology, Amazon reviews will likely become even more important in the future.
Other expected developments include:
Brands Will Respond By Incorporating Ai And Ml
Businesses are already using artificial intelligence and machine learning to engage customers and improve their operations. Given the importance of online reviews, it’s likely that brands will start using the same technology to engage customers through online reviews.
As mentioned earlier, many brands are already responding to customer reviews. 73% of businesses respond to online reviews, and 87% of consumers would like to see a response from the company. Amazon has started using artificial intelligence and machine learning to respond to online reviews.
They use this technology to automatically respond to customer reviews. They also use AI to flag reviews that may be fraudulent. Amazon’s use of AI in customer engagement is likely to spur other brands to adopt the same technology. And there’s a chance that brands will start using AI to flag negative reviews.
Consumers Will Expect More Transparency
Brands already have a lot of power over the online review process. They can influence which reviews get published and how they get published. However, brands have complete control over their online presence.
As a result, customers are increasingly demanding more transparency from brands. Most customers aren’t solely relying on online reviews to make their purchasing decisions. Instead, they’re taking into account online reviews, social media posts, and website content.
As customers become more sophisticated, brands will have to provide more transparency about their products and operations. This could include posting pictures of products in the warehouse or revealing the ingredients in each recipe.
Online Reviews Will Become More Credible
There are already many examples of brands trying to influence the outcome of online reviews. Even though Amazon is making an effort to stop this type of behavior, brands are still attempting to influence their online reviews.
As more brands employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to respond to reviews, the review system isn’t likely to change. However, there is a chance that brands will be held to a higher standard.
As customers become more aware of AI and ML, they’re likely to expect brands to be more transparent about their efforts. They’re also likely to expect brands to respond appropriately to negative online reviews.
Online reviews have become an essential part of the shopping experience. And as more people rely on reviews to make buying decisions, the role that online reviews will play in 2022 will be much different than it is today.
With more consumers reading online reviews, businesses will have to respond to online reviews regularly. This will create a system where online reviews are an essential part of the shopping experience.
Brands will have to use the same strategy for everything from social media posts to product descriptions. This will make it easier for customers to make informed buying decisions.
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