Customer reviews online have become more and more important in recent years. According to a recent report 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. In the eCommerce world, reviews can increase sales and influence decision making. In the world of hospitality, security and service, reviews can have a big impact into whether or not customers use your sites.
The WoT community has been rating and reviewing sites for years and have given millions of sites their ‘security rating’ thus, improving services and businesses worldwide. Here we’re going to take a closer look into the importance of customer reviews online and how much they matter.
Why is it important that online reviews be trustworthy?
88% of consumers around the world trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The same study also found that 72% of consumers said that positive reviews improve the trustworthiness of a local business.
This growing importance may be due to people becoming more distrustful of any form of traditional advertising. A report written by Michael Hulme of Lancaster University found that 95% of participants stated that they did not trust advertising. Less than a tenth (8%) trust what companies say about themselves and more than half (58%) agreed with the statement “companies are only interested in selling products and services to me, not necessarily the product or service that is right for me.
The Huffington Post also found that as people become less likely to trust businesses and their advertising, they are more inclined to trust complete strangers. This means that whether or not they know the reviewer, 69% of local consumers trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations and 84% of US shoppers use reviews to help them make a purchasing decision.
The reason it’s so important that online reviews be trustworthy is that in today’s competitive business landscape, establishing a strong online presence and reputation is important in attracting new customers. HubSpot reported that 90% of customers consult with online reviews before making a decision online, and with this number on the increase online reviews have become one of the most important assets in helping to generate new business.
Why are ratings and reviews important?
Ratings and reviews are important online in order to understand and better serve your consumer. Online reviews can tell consumers a lot about a business and how they can improve their services. Additionally, online reviews can also improve your website ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and more. In short, the more that is written about your business online, the more important a search engine consider you to be!
Website ratings and reviews also create customer loyalty. Consumers who take the time to leave an online review for a business are far more likely to feel a certain loyalty to your business and keep coming back year after year. Through the act of leaving an online review and establishing a relationship with the business, it allows your consumers to feel like they have a voice and are able to provide feedback in a positive and meaningful way. Similarly to the WoT community who make the internet safer every single day by rating and reviewing websites.
Often, online review pages can become active social communities where consumers leave reviews and keep coming back to see if others have made comments on their reviews or to simply see what other consumers have to say about your product or service in general. This creates a community of consumer engagement that allows consumers to develop a relationship with both the business and the other consumers who share the same values.
The benefits of reviews
Online reviews have managed to create a new form of marketing for businesses that bridges the gap between word of mouth and viral feedback that can quite literally, change a business. The benefits of reviews for businesses is quite amazing as it is everything from increasing brand awareness to an overall increase in consumers, users and profits in the long run.
The benefits of reviews can also been seen in how consumers have started doing the marketing for many businesses. A handful of positive online business reviews are worth a great deal and can offer businesses benefits that standard marketing campaigns can’t. Online reviews for example, keep working long after the review has been posted, providing a consistently positive image to a potential consumer and creating continual brand awarenesses. Unlike an advertising campaign that comes as quickly as it goes and is often forgotten about.
Not forgetting how there is also a ‘domino effect’ with reviews where reviews breed more reviews. When a business, product or service has already received reviews online it seems to encourage other visitors to leave their own feedback. Just the appearance of a number of reviews appears to be enough to give new visitors the confidence to add their own views on that particular product or service. It is a new form of online ‘crowd behaviour’ that psychologists are still working on figuring out.
Do reviews matter?
Absolutely. As we’ve now discovered reviews really do matter and make a positive difference to businesses. You’ve likely all been in a situation where a business, be it a restaurant or store has asked you to leave a review in return for a discount, well, now you understand why. If you’re a business owner, you should consider doing the same for your business. While you don’t always have to entice consumers with a discount or other incentive, you can ask them to join the WoT community and help make the internet safer and more trustworthy. Regardless, encouraging reviews online is a great thing to do wherever possible and could easily take your business to the next level of success.