In 1990, the best way to know more about a product was to order it, use it, and then share that experience. This was both time consuming and costly. 20 years later, easy access to the web has radically changed the way we shop. We rely on the benefits of product reviews now. No online purchase begins without going through several online user reviews. In 2016, 9 in 10 shoppers read at least one review before visiting a business, according to Bright Local. So, what does this mean? This means that a positive brand image gives you key advantages over your competitors.

Benefits of Product Reviews: Key statistics you should know

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Online user reviews influence consumer decisions. Period.

Testimonial Engine found that a whopping 72% of customers are willing to wait until they’ve read reviews before making a purchase. Spiegel Research Centre reports that reviewed products are 270% more likely to be bought than those without reviews. A survey by Clavis Insights found that reviews boost conversations by 50%. This means that your existing customers become brand ambassadors. We all know how effective word of mouth marketing is! Think of customer reviews as compound interest. When you invest in online review marketing, the positive effects keep accumulating. They raise awareness about your brand and products. In a nutshell, online user reviews: Are critical in helping customers make an informed buying decision; Increase the likelihood of converting tentative buyers into paying customers; and Drive your online or in-store sales.

Why Are Customer Reviews Important?

1. Social Proof Drives Sales

You are more likely to see a movie if your neighbours and colleagues recommend it. Some of us actually rely on movie critics to rate a movie first. Business reviews work in a similar way. You are more likely to buy from an eCommerce store if your sister had a positive experience. You will visit a new restaurant only if your friend can't stop raving about it. Positive social proof can be considered as the biggest among all benefits of product reviews.

2. Online User Reviews Elevate Your Brand’s Visibility

A successful brand is also a visible one. Most customers search Google, Facebook, or business review directories like RateUsOnline for recommendations. While all these websites have their own way of indexing and surfacing content, they all value original content. Online user reviews direct the algorithm to prioritise your brand – because it is favoured by customers. Another good thing about online review marketing is that if you’re ranked higher, buyers and algorithms look up your website as an industry authority. This leads to more exposure as well as a positive brand image. If you are familiar with technical Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you can use positive customer reviews to boost your click-through-rate (CTR). Reviews can be displayed alongside product information on Google’s search results. These information-rich snippets improve the CTR, thereby increasing your brand’s visibility. eCommerce algorithms also favour businesses having positive online reviews. In 2018, Amazon rolled out Amazon’s Choice – a label that is awarded to popular products visible in search results. While the criteria for all products vary, but in general, weightage is given to products with 4-star ratings, low return rates, popularity in search results, and Prime delivery eligibility. Summing up, positive online reviews:
  • Bolster your brand’s visibility on both Amazon and Google;
  • Increase your CTRs from google to your product pages;
  • Make your products more competitive on eCommerce sites.
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3. Online User Reviews Facilitate Product Development

Online reviews don’t just influence buying decisions of customers and the visibility of your products. They also offer valuable insight to aid new product development. For instance, if you are a budding entrepreneur, you can quickly identify the demand for your products and the level of customer engagement. How? With a simple graph having an average score of reviews with respect to similar products in your industry. Businesses can also use this information for competitive analysis. For example, if you want to launch a new product, user reviews can point out flaws in existing competitor products. This way, the product you launch will be free of these shortcomings and position your brand one step ahead of the competition. Review data:
  • Allows you to identify upcoming trends that resonate well with buyers;
  • Provides valuable insight into competitor data, product positioning, and reception by consumers.

4. Online User Reviews Drive in More Reviews

A business already reviewed by previous customers encourages new visitors to leave their feedback. This increases transparency encourages user participation and creates a wholesome brand image for your business. When you give customers the freedom to share their honest opinions, they will provide valuable feedback. Instead of limiting their experience to “This is a good restaurant”, or “I don’t like this cream”, they will explain why. This is where online review marketing comes in handy. Based on the right inputs and constructive feedback, you can improve your service or products further. Best case scenario, you convert a dissatisfied customer into a happy one with improved offerings.

5. Online User Reviews Bring Credibility to your Brand

You can generate significant trust and credibility through a steady stream of positive reviews. Many buyers distrust businesses with ratings below four stars. Companies with higher average ratings see more views converting to store walk-ins and sales. The way your customers talk about you is as important as the business that you do. Having a positive footprint leads to more traffic and ultimately, higher sales. The benefits of product reviews are many, and the longer you want to begin encouraging them, the more your business stands to lose. Collect online user reviews to either feel good about your business or to better your business. In both cases, your brand will emerge stronger, more appealing, and will make your customers feel valued. The way you market you brand is important, but how people perceive is equally important. Online review marketing can double your branding and marketing efforts, bring in more traffic, and help you close more deals!