According to the annual BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey, more than 79 percent of customers trust online reviews. Dozens of other studies have reached the same conclusion.
There are an increasing number of ways to review products and services online. More buyers are sharing their personal experiences to help others make the right choices. For small-business owners, this is a great opportunity to gain exposure and build trust. For customers, it’s the best way to become informed and discover new products.
The power of customer reviews
Most customers these days use the Internet to find information about products and brands. They put an increasing amount of trust in ratings and online reviews uploaded by other buyers.
Conducted last year, the survey exhibits the growing influence that online reviews have on customer behavior. Approximately 37 percent of buyers search for local businesses online at least once a month. Most of them seek information about restaurants and cafes, stores, hotels, doctors, sports clubs, bars, and beauty salons.
The same survey found that more than 85 percent of shoppers read online reviews of local businesses. About 67 percent read six reviews or fewer before making a purchase. More than 22 percent read at least 10 reviews.
The survey also showed that 65 percent of customers are more likely to buy from companies that have positive reviews. Most buyers look for businesses that are reliable and offer good value for money.
Does your business need customer reviews?
Statistics show that seven out of 10 buyers will read online reviews before paying for a product or service. Online reviews are beneficial for both customers and businesses.
Whether you have a clothing store, an e-commerce site, or a web design company, you need customer reviews. Businesses can leverage this information in catalogs, emails, and newsletters. It’s one of the best ways to establish your brand and increase sales.
There’s no good or bad, but what you make of it
Both positive and negative reviews are beneficial. Positive reviews can help you grow your business and give customers a reason to choose you over the competition. This shows shoppers that they can trust your products and services.
Trust is the most valuable online commodity. For example, if you own a local law firm, you can ask your clients to leave reviews on your site. Potential customers who find your website will be able to read what others say about you. This can lead to higher profits and increased exposure in your community.
What about negative reviews? Most businesses are afraid of bad reviews and comments. But a recent study indicates that negative reviews can increase conversion by 67 percent.
How? A smart business owner will respond to a bad review and use it to improving customer service and experiences. About 95 percent of customers say they will still buy a product or service with a bad review.
If you run a small online store or a business website, you can use online reviews to increase traffic. Submit your business information to local directories and websites that allow buyers to post reviews. These services are free and can generate massive exposure for your brand.