The Importance of Online Reviews in the Consumer Decision-Making Process

The Relevance of Online Reviews

Online reviews for products and services dominate today’s internet. It is relatively difficult to find a well-known product or service that doesn’t have reviews. In fact, browsing through reviews has become a pre-purchase routine for most consumers. Through a recent study by BrightLocal, researchers found that only 10% of today’s consumers don’t pay attention to online reviews. That means that 90% of your potential customer base thinks your reviews are important to their purchase decision.

The Impact of Reviews

So, what impact do reviews really have on the consumers that read them? Do they really impact their decisions to buy your product or service? Short answer: Yes!

Most consumers that read online reviews put as much value in online reviews as if they were personal recommendations. This means that these reviews instill trust in the company and its product/service, and help consumers feel more confident that they are making a good investment.

We all have some sort of fear of the unknown. This extends to the business world. Reviews simply help remove the uncertainty that comes with investing in a company you don’t know. They allow people to experience the product through someone else’s eyes before they open their wallets. It acts as a free test drive that another person has completed, and the results are available for everyone.

The Value of Reviews For Different Products and Services

The expense of the product or service also adds to the effectiveness and importance of reviews. The more investment that is required, the more risk there is for the consumer, so more weight is put on the reviews. For example, a person will most likely spend more time researching reviews for a local pediatrician in their new hometown than for the new blouse they ordered online.

With this in mind, it is safe to say that a company seeking more relevance in the community and long term success should strive to grow and maintain a strong online reviews presence. Since reviews can drive purchases, you could be missing out on sales if you don’t encourage online reviews. And, don’t forget you also need to create a process to monitor and interact with your reviewers. (For tips on responding to reviews, click here.)

Opportunities with Negative Reviews

It is nearly impossible to please every customer, so you will most likely receive at least one negative review over time. Luckily, a browsing potential customer will most likely disregard it if is clouded with an abundance of positive reviews. Additionally, negative reviews leave a window of opportunity to demonstrate a company’s excellent customer service. Swift responses and actions taken to correct the issue will show a potential customer that you truly care about the feedback you receive. (Find our tips on how to handle a negative review here.)

Bonus Marketing

Online reviews are necessary for any successful company in today’s market. It allows your product or service to truly speak for itself using previous consumers’ thoughts as bonus marketing. Reviews also allow a company to personally connect with its consumers and address any questions or concerns that they may have.

For additional questions about online reviews, set up a marketing consultation today!

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