There’s no doubt that online reviews influence consumers. But in what ways do they do so? And just how big is this influence? We’ve put together a list of 15 facts that demonstrate the impact of online reviews and social sharing on consumers. If you’re a smart business owner, you’ll use this knowledge to your advantage.
1. 80% of consumers research products online every week.
That’s right. A whopping 8 in 10 consumers conduct online research about products they are interested in purchasing. So, when a potential customer goes online to look up your business, hopefully they find something good. If you have not yet dived into managing your online reputation, now’s the time more than ever. (Source: oracle.com)
2. 90% of people only look at the 1st page of Google results.
Well, this one may not come as a huge surprise. I mean, do you look past the first page of Google results? This is another reason why it’s important to gain control of what is being said about your business on the Web. Most of us have some bad stuff floating around on the Internet. Yet a little SEO work will help out a lot in pushing down the negativity on those search results and shining a light on the positivity. (Source: diyblogger.net)
3. 70% of people trust the opinions of other consumers posted online.
Even though fake reviews are a huge problem on all the major review sites, most consumers still trust them. Before eating out at a restaurant or calling a plumber or booking a hotel, now more than ever, people are turning to online reviews to make decisions about which businesses are going to get their money. By simply asking your customers for reviews, you can start collecting real, good testimonials that can persuade consumers into choosing you over the other guys. (Source: nielsen.com)
4. Nearly 700 complaints with the FTC have been filed against Yelp.
Although many consumers find online reviews helpful, they can be harmful to local businesses. As it turns out, quite a few businesses have run into problems with the review site, Yelp. Whether it’s due to fake reviews, pesky advertising offers from sales representatives, or positive reviews being removed from their pages, Yelp has caused quite the stir for small businesses. If you’re currently featured on Yelp and have run into these problems, don’t remain silent. Take action! Let your complaints be heard. (Source: muckrock.com)
3. Prominently displayed negative reviews on a review site are enough to make people pass on what you’re offering.
Yep. This one’s kind of a bummer. However, as long as you keep collecting positive reviews from satisfied customers, those negative reviews won’t be displayed so prominently and will have a lesser chance of deterring potential customers. Even more, you can respond to these negative reviews and make things right with your customers. This shows that you care about customer service. So, utilize the bad reviews as a learning experience, a chance to make improvements and prevent negative reviews from popping up in the future. And don’t worry! More good news is coming up in #6 about those bad reviews. (Source: econsultancy.com)
6. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.
Consumers might get a little suspicious if your reviews are all 5 stars. So, if there are a few bad ones in there, consumers are actually more likely to trust all of them, including the positive ones. This may seem to conflict with #5, but as long as the good outweighs the bad overall, your online image will be fine. (Source: econsultancy.com)
7. Consumers will tell an average of 42 people about a good customer experience and 53 people about a bad customer experience.
Apparently, human beings like to revel in negativity. We’re more inclined to talk about the bad customer service experiences than the good ones. This means that you can’t abandon the rules of traditionally good customer service in the digital age. Keep making your customers happy and you’ve got nothing to worry about. (Source: American Express)
8. 35% of consumers will use review sites when they’ve had a bad experience, compared to 23% who will use them when they’ve had a good experience.
So, the same goes for online reviewers when it comes to our inclination toward sharing negative experiences. As stated in #8, make sure you’re treating your customers well, providing them with good experiences that they will want to share on the Web. Also, when you know you’ve done a good job, give them a tiny push and ask them for an online review. (Source: zendesk.com)
9. 20% of Yelp reviews are fake.
Remember those 700 FTC complaints? Well, they may be justified, as this study found that up to 20% of reviews on Yelp are fake. That’s one in five reviews! Again, if you suspect that fake, negative reviews are being posted on your page, take action. (Source: businessinsider.com)
10. By 2014, 10% of social media reviews will be paid for.
These days, businesses are resorting to paying for reviews due to their huge influence. Don’t be tempted, though! Consumers really appreciate transparency these days and won’t be too pleased to find out you’ve been dishonest with them. Also, it’s illegal and you could end up paying some hefty fines for the crime (Source: socialbarrel.com).
11. The average consumer consults 11 online reviews before making a purchasing decision.
Even if you’ve got a couple bad reviews, it’s alright! Consumers don’t stop reading reviews only after the first few. If you’ve got honest reviews from loyal customers, curious consumers will likely keep you in mind as an option. (Source: socialbarrel.com)
12. A high product rating will increase the likelihood of completing a purchase for 55% of consumers.
This one seems obvious, but it just goes to show that if a consumer is on the fence about your product or service, good reviews and ratings can bring them over to your side. (Source: socialbarrel.com)
13. Consumer reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions.
No matter how much work you put into perfecting that product description, consumers are going to trust the opinions of others consumers 12 times more. Your customers can be your best salespeople. Give them good experiences with your services or products, ask them to write about those good experiences, and you’ll be able to win more consumers over. (Source: socialbarrel.com)
14. 57.1% of the 53.9% of consumers that use social media in-store are reading online reviews.
Almost 60% of consumers use social media while in a store and half of those people are reading reviews. Imagine this scenario: A customer is in a store, about to reach for your product on the shelf, but hesitates and decides to look your business up on a mobile device first. If you haven’t taken the time to manage your online reputation, your product may just stay on the shelf. (Source: socialbarrel.com)
Reviews can increase your revenue. It’s that simple. Just one more star in your business’ rating can give you a 5-9% jump. If that’s not incentive to start monitoring your online reviews more closely, then I don’t know what is. (Source: marketwatch.com)
Remember, don’t be intimidated by all of this data. By continuing to provide great customer service, asking your customers to review you, and monitoring those reviews, you can easily take advantage of the impact reviews have on today’s consumers.
Image courtesy of Reputation.com