Customers increasingly rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. According to a study by search engine professionals, Moz, a whopping 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. Other studies indicate even more importance. Invesp claims that 88% of consumers view online reviews as being just as important as personal recommendations.
With most consumers turning online before making purchases, it’s important to manage what they’re seeing. Consumers are searching for both positive and negative reviews. This means that it’s important to suppress negative reviews while boosting positive reviews, so you can make the best possible first impression on potential customers. This guide highlights the impact of online reviews and offers suggestions for managing online customer impressions.
Before moving forward, consumers consider both positive and negative reviews. While a negative review might stop a consumer in her tracks, others won’t move forward with a purchase until they see 1 or more positive reviews. It’s reported that 72% of customers will take action after reading a positive review, and 92% of customers will visit a local store if it has at least a 4 star review.
Customers are also influenced by negative reviews. 86% of customers will hesitate to make a purchase if they see negative reviews online. It doesn’t take many. Just one poor review on Yelp leads to an average loss of 30 customers for local businesses, according to a 2009 study by Convergys Corp. Newer studies report businesses will lose 22% of customers after just one negative review, but you’ll lose up to 70% of your customers if 4 or more negative reviews pop up on a Google search.
What if you don’t have any reviews? Although not as damaging as having negative reviews, it’s not ideal. A report by BrightLocal found that most consumers need to see 2 – 6 positive reviews before trusting a business. Even having just one positive online review can boost sales by 10%. See the graph below:
Even if consumers aren’t directly visiting review sites, such as Yelp, reviews are influencing other, less direct factors, like search. A 2015 report by Moz, Local Search Ranking Factors found online reviews influenced Google’s ranking of business sites. Even having just 8 or more reviews can boost your search ranking, pushing your page to the top. The importance of online reviews in search increases dramatically for local businesses. Reviews, and the positivity of those reviews, makes up 2 out of 3 of the biggest factors in local search.
Topping search can have a huge impact on business, alone. Considering that AdWeek reports well over half of consumers start their initial product search online, it pays to get on their radar early. If customers are leaving reviews on Google, or if you use a review aggregator, your star rating will show up under your site in search. This allows users to instantly see a rating and click through to see full customer reviews. Listings with reviews get more clicks, approximately 17% more than those without. Once consumers click through, reviews continue to influence decisions.
Reviews are a strong social indicator. Buyers want to know that others have trusted your company.
When shopping for physical products, most consumers start their hunt using a search engine. That number is 61%, according to AdWeek. What they encounter on that first page will determine their next move. Even if consumers plan to purchase in store, they’ll likely start their search online.
Much like B2C, customer reviews are strong drivers of B2B decisions. Fusion Marketing Partners reports that reviews, testimonials and case studies have increased both free and paid leads and have decreased the cost of paid leads for a majority of their clients. They also note that conversions for free trials and offers significantly increase when the lead has been exposed to customer reviews.
Reviews have a major impact on local businesses. Bright Local reported that 92% of customers report reading reviews online (either regularly or occasionally) before visiting a local business. Most frequently, users read reviews for restaurants. Doctors and dentists come in second. The star rating is the single most important factor when making a decision about a local company.
DeleteThis! is an online reputation management company specializing in removing (not just suppressing) unwanted content. We work with popular platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook, to quickly and permanently take down damaging content.