Consumers Give a Lot of Weight to Online Reviews
What is the first thing you look for when it is time to buy a new product or service? If you are looking online, odds are that reading reviews is right at the top of your list. In fact, it may become the driving force behind your entire purchasing decision. While we have always known that reviews were important and make an impact, new studies have shown that people trust them far more than many realize. In fact, if they had the option to ask a friend or read a review by someone they had never even met in real life, they would often give that review the same weight as input from a friend.
This information comes from a study that found that 84% of those who were asked admitted that they trusted reviews they read on the Internet “as much as friends.” Many businesses have often considered word-of-mouth to be the gold standard for advertising. If you could make a product so good that people would tell their friends to buy it, that would get more conversions and create more sales than commercials, billboards, pop-up ads, print ads or any other means of getting the product in front of those individuals. While that is still true, the reality is that most people will have a similar reaction to an online review.
The Good and the Bad
This can certainly be a positive and it can work in your favor. A highly reviewed product can essentially sell itself. Those doing research tend to read “one to six reviews” and then make a decision. They may spend more time considering what reviewers say about the product than reading your actual ad copy or the product details.
Why is this? One reason is trust. They know that you want to promote your own product and put it in the best possible light. However, they assume that reviewers do not have any stake in the game. They feel like they can trust those reviews. What incentive does a reviewer have to say anything positive or negative? If they leave a glowing review, they’re not being paid. They actually liked the product so much that they spent their time letting others know. That can be far more convincing than any other type of information.
Of course, the flip side is that a negative review can also have an impact, but it works in the other direction entirely. Even if it’s not accurate — maybe the problem was a result of user error — you know that potential buyers are going to take that review seriously. They’re going to trust it to the same degree. That can sink a product in a hurry. People won’t trust the information that you provide, knowing you have something to gain, and they’ll trust the review instead. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong anymore. That’s how they see it.
Considering Your Reputation
What does your online reputation look like? This study clearly shows that reviews have a massive impact on consumer actions. Reputation management has never been more important. Make sure you know exactly what steps to take to set yourself up for success. We can help. Call today.