The online review site landscape has changed a lot in the last few years. There are now thousands of niche sites, as well as general sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, that allow users to rate businesses and services. Many of these sites are focused on a specific type of business (e.g., restaurants, hotels, bars, etc.).
The rise of online review sites has led many businesses to adopt new strategies when it comes to dealing with negative reviews. Whether you operate a local business or sell your products online, negative reviews can hurt your reputation—and your sales. According to an eMarketer report from 2016, 71% of all internet users read online reviews regularly.
This means that potential customers are going to find out about your business one way or another. Whether good or bad, the things people say about you have the power to influence whether they buy from you or not. Read More to find out some ways that online reviews can impact your sales.
History of Online Reviews
Reviews have been around for many years, but they used to be published in books, newspapers, magazines, and on TV. Now that everything is online, reviews have become the most influential marketing tool available.
The first review site was Epinions, which started around the year 2000. TripAdvisor, which was one of the first review sites, became popular around 2005. Early review sites were all generalist sites, but as the internet grew, so did niche review sites. For example, in 2007, Amazon launched its product review feature.
E-Commerce businesses were able to add product reviews from previous customers. This led to the idea of online review widgets, which allowed site owners to add review functionality to their websites. As more businesses started to use online reviews, more niche review sites were created.
Online Reviews In 2022
By 2022, there will be more than 100 billion online reviews, and the majority of these will be positive. Though it’s impossible to know for sure, there are many reasons to think that online reviews will only grow in importance over the next decade.
First and foremost, as internet use continues to increase, so will the number of reviews. Second, the proliferation of social media and other digital services will continue—meaning that people will have even more methods available to leave reviews.
Finally, customers are expected to become even more demanding as time goes on, making online reviews an essential part of their purchasing decision process.
How Important Are Sales To Your Business?
The sooner you realize that a large portion of your sales depends on your online reputation—the sooner you can start improving it. According to data from PowerReviews, online reviews have a significant impact on the purchasing decision of more than 90% of consumers.
This means that there’s a good chance that negative reviews will hurt your sales. It’s possible that your customers are writing negative reviews about your business on their own. If so, you need to take action as soon as possible.
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 63% of consumers are less likely to buy from a business with negative online reviews.
How Online Reviews Can Impact Your Sales?
1. Consumers Trust Online Reviews More Than Advertisements
Even though advertising has existed for decades, the internet has made it easier for consumers to access information about products and services. Because of this, advertising doesn’t hold quite the same sway over customers as it once did.
Customers are increasingly seeing advertisements as an attempt by businesses to promote themselves. Indeed, many customers actively distrust advertisements. According to the same eMarketer report, 64% of internet users believe that online advertising is misleading.
By contrast, online reviews are seen as an authentic and trustworthy source of information about a product or service. According to the same eMarketer report, customers are twice as likely to trust online reviews as they are to trust advertisements.
2. An Increase In Brand Awareness
One of the best ways to get new customers is to have more people try your product or service. This is known as marketing your brand. When people try your product and like it, they are more likely to come back and recommend it to their friends.
But getting people to try your product is extremely difficult, especially in a crowded marketplace. When potential customers are looking for information about your business, they often turn to review sites. A high rating on these sites can persuade people to try your products or services.
A single positive review on a major review site can dramatically increase your brand awareness. Customers see this review and see your products in a positive light, which leads them to try them out. This is a much more effective way to market your brand than traditional forms of marketing.
3. A Single Positive Review Can Impact Future Sales
The best way to understand how a single positive review from one customer can impact your future sales is to think about it in terms of profit. According to the Harvard Business Review, every $1 in profit earned from a product or service leads to $2 in profit for the company as a whole.
This means that a $100 purchase can lead to $200 in profit for a company. A single positive review on one of the major review sites can have a dramatic impact on your overall sales. This is because a single $100 purchase can lead to $200 in profit.
The customer who left a positive review may turn around and buy more products from you. The other customers who read the review may decide to buy something from you as well.
4. Online Reviews Are Still The Best Marketing Tool
One of the most important aspects of any business is marketing. No matter what product or service you offer, you need consumers to know you exist. With so many companies vying for attention, marketing has become increasingly competitive.
Many companies are turning to online reviews as a way to stand out from the crowd. According to a survey from the Harvard Business Review, about two-thirds of businesses say they use online reviews as part of their marketing strategy.
A high rating on a leading review site can draw customers to your products or services. It can also help to positively differentiate you from your competitors.
5. Consumers Are Using Reviews To Confirm Their Purchase Decision
People are making more purchases online. It is estimated that up to 80% of all internet users have purchased something online. This has led to an increase in demand for product reviews.
This is particularly true for larger purchases, such as appliances, furniture, and other items that are more expensive. Customers are reading the product reviews to help them decide whether to buy the product in the first place.
If they see that many other customers have left positive reviews, then they are more likely to purchase the product themselves.
6. A Decrease In Bounce Rate And An Increase In Sales
One of the best ways to measure the success of your online store is by looking at the bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who come to your website but don’t stay.
In other words, they don’t engage with the content on your site and then leave without taking any action. The higher your bounce rate, the less effective your website is. If your bounce rate is high, then you have a lot of work to do to make your site more engaging.
When you add reviews to your site, you can expect your bounce rate to decrease. This is because customers who read reviews are more engaged with your website and are less likely to leave.
Negative Reviews Can Be Good For Business
While negative reviews are generally seen as a bad thing, they can help your business in the long run. If the reviewer is being completely unreasonable, the best course of action is to ignore the review.
If, however, the review makes a valid point, you should consider fixing the problem and trying to get the customer happy. This can not only lead to better sales and increase your customer satisfaction, but it can also improve your online review score.
Customers and potential customers frequently look at online reviews as part of the buying decision-making process. Having positive reviews and an average or above-average rating on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp can help you get more customers.
3 Steps To Turn Bad Reviews Into Good
No matter how hard you try, you aren’t going to be able to prevent every bad review from appearing online. You also aren’t going to be able to get every negative review removed from a site. You do, however, have some control over how you respond to negative reviews. With the right approach, you can turn a negative review into good. Here are three steps you can follow to do this:
Respond As Soon As Possible
The longer you wait to respond, the worse the situation will get. Customers who read negative reviews are looking for a response from the company. If they don’t get one, they may assume that the company doesn’t care about their opinion.
Customers can tell when you are trying too hard to make something look good. If the review is valid, there is no reason to try to refute it. Instead, thank the customer for their opinion and use it as an opportunity to improve your product or service.
Sometimes, even the best products are given negative reviews. This can happen for several reasons, including a customer misuse of the product and an incorrect expectation of the product’s performance.
In these cases, you can apologize for the negative review and explain why it is not indicative of the product’s performance.
Reviews can have a huge impact on your business. As a business owner, it’s important to realize that online reviews have a significant impact on your sales. You should take steps to encourage your customers to leave reviews and respond to any negative ones that you receive.
It’s also important to encourage your customers to leave reviews, whether they are positive or negative. This can help you better understand your customers’ experiences with your business so that you can improve and grow.
Review websites like Reliable Reviews, TripAdvisor, and Yelp are great places to start. When you present your customers with the opportunity to leave a review, you can use it to measure their happiness and improve your marketing strategy.
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