If you’re wondering just how much influence customer reviews have over purchase decisions, then take note:
Research published by Fan & Fuel notes that consumers not only want to see reviews on your products and services but they also look for the nitty-gritty details in your customer reviews. Consumers are interested in learning about the experiences and problems customers have had, how you’ve responded to complaints, consensus on whether or not the product or service lived up to your claims and so on.
In fact, according to their data, 97% of participants said customer reviews factor into their buying decisions. 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase when there are no customer reviews, and 94% read reviews when they are available.
Needless to say, reviews are very important. But how exactly do they influence purchasing decisions? Here are 3 ways:
1. 88% of customers put as much weight on online reviews as they would on personal recommendations.
Word-of-mouth has consistently been a critical consideration when it comes to a business’ credibility. However, with the widespread accessibility of the internet today, online reviews now carry as much credibility as a personal recommendation from someone you know. The important thing to remember here is that consumers will trust a review that is both high-quality and authentic. If it seems spammy or paid for, it’s likely to have the opposite effect and turn customers off.
2. On average, reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales.
Customers are more likely to purchase from a website that has customer reviews than a website that doesn’t. Displaying reviews on your website gives potential customers more confidence in their purchasing decisions and reduces doubts, leading to a higher conversion rate. It can also help strengthen your brand’s credibility and reliability. All of this results in more sales which comes from an increase in conversion rate, visitor return rate and average order size.
3. 86% of people hesitate to do business with a company if it has negative online reviews.
Unfavorable reviews negatively impact your business. A bad review reflects poorly on your product or service’s quality and reliability. However, there’s a very important caveat to consider: the complete lack of negative reviews on a product or service page will diminish its credibility as well. All positive reviews make it seem like the entire page is inauthentic, whereas one or two minor negative reviews actually highlight that you’re a real business. After all, nobody is perfect—and that goes for businesses as well.
Consider the less desirable reviews as an opportunity to let your customer service skills shine. Being able to resolve the issues presented in negative customer reviews can end up having a positive effect on potential customers in the end because it shows you care about your customers. However, leaving them unanswered will only hurt your reputation and your relationship with your customers.
The empowered consumer
Quite simply, reviews are an important deciding factor for a lot of customers buying online. Reviews help build trust between the customer and the business. A large number of customer testimonials combined with great reviews help build immediate trust that will ultimately convert casual online visitors to actual paying customers.
For tips on how to handle negative customer reviews, check out How to Respond to Customers on Social Media.