Online Reviews: Here’s What Matters Most To Your Potential Customers
Most shoppers rely on reviews to help guide buying decisions. Make sure your recommendability across the web is in good order.
Online reviews are difference makers in whether a prospective buyer becomes a paying customer or chooses to move on to an alternative solution. That’s because, over the years, shoppers have been conditioned to question anything a company tells them through marketing campaigns or advertising. Instead, they prefer to hear from someone else who has experience with that particular business and its products or services.
Undoubtedly, it takes some work to gather high-quality reviews from your customers, but those reviews have shown to have a very real impact on new customer acquisition, sales revenue, and business growth. Here are five major factors related to reviews that shape your brand’s credibility.
93% of consumers surveyed between 35 and 54 years old say they always read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. (BrightLocal)
There is clearly a healthy demand for review consumption by your potential customers. For starters, that’s a lot of people who always check out online reviews. What’s more, this age demographic is largely the segment vetting and ultimately choosing a particular B2B service provider.
Expanding a bit further, a third of those surveyed reported looking online for local businesses every day, which means there are potentially a lot of folks evaluating your business at any given moment. And, as most B2B services are critical for the companies seeking a partnership—and relatively expensive—there’s even more onus placed on the buyer to get it right. In fact, reviews play a greater role in conversion when the cost of a product or service is higher. According to Spiegel Research Center, when reviews were displayed for a lower-priced product, the conversion rate increased 190%. However, for a higher-priced product, the conversion rate increased 380%.
Today’s average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading online reviews before landing on their choice. In an era of instant gratification, this is an extraordinary amount of time. The point is, your potential customers need to see reviews on your site, and perhaps more importantly, in other areas around the web—such as on UpCity—before they’ll sign on the dotted line.
The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews. (Spiegel Research Center)
This makes sense across the board. From a high-level perspective, having some is better than having none. It’s an interesting statistic, though, in that it doesn’t take many reviews to have a very significant impact on conversions.
However, more is always better, as long as they’re quality reviews from real human beings (more on that later). In their 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey, BrightLocal found that consumers wanted to see at least 40 reviews before they’d believe an overall star rating. Another study from Womply Research revealed that businesses that had more than 82 total reviews earn 54% more in annual revenue than average.
Businesses without any new reviews from the past 90 days average 20% less in total revenue than the average business. (Womply Research)
The seemingly ubiquitous Subway sandwich shop knows it’s important for their customers to “eat fresh,” and that’s exactly what your potential customers want from your business’s reviews. That Italian sub was probably pretty tasty two years ago, but what are they like now?
Spending time gathering reviews on Google, UpCity, your social media channels, etc., can return tremendous value, but it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. You can’t rest on your review laurels and think the glowing testimonials from 2016 are going to carry water any longer. Gathering reviews is a continuous pursuit that requires a dedicated effort of providing quality service and asking for honest, thoughtful reviews from all of your customers.
Along the same lines as the statistic that leads this section, businesses with 25 or more fresh reviews—those posted in the last three months—earn 108% more than average. It might seem daunting to get that many reviews that quickly, but it’s not impossible. UpCity offers White Glove Review Recruitment to our Certified Partners to help with some of the heavy lifting, including:
- A personal three-touch email campaign directly from the UpCity Team
- Access to our in-house analyst who will manage the entire campaign process
- Special incentives for your reviewers
Consumers are most inclined to buy when a business’s star rating is between 4.0 and 4.7. (Spiegel Research Center)
Believe it or not, a perfect 5-star rating is anything but perfect in the eyes of your potential customer. Our society is nothing if not extremely opinionated, and one size certainly does not fit all. That’s why it seems fishy when everything is rainbows and sunshine in your review section.
A little bit of negative feedback can actually be a good thing for your business. Of course, it helps you get a sense of what isn’t working and adjust as necessary, but in the context of driving buying decisions, it gives your potential customers relatable insight they can use to gauge if a specific criticism is something meaningful to their business or not. Think of it like this: You are looking to order a blue toy car online. One review says the paint isn’t exactly blue, it’s more of a greenish color. How much does that matter to you? A lot? A little? Not at all? No matter where you land on the spectrum, it’s good information to have and valued by those reading the reviews.
Then again, you don’t want your reviews to be all negative. Most businesses have between a 3.0 and 4.5 average star rating. Dip below that 3, however, and things can get tough. 82% of respondents in a 2019 Synup study said they won’t spend money on any business under a 3.0.
Side note: If you do find you have a negative review, definitely take the time to respond professionally and politely. Even if the customer has it wrong, find out what you can do to make things better for them. Showing that you listen to your customers can have a very positive effect on continued trust-building.
Quality & Trust
The likelihood of a purchase increases by 15% when consumers see reviews written by a verified buyer vs. an anonymous review. (Spiegel Research Center)
This is what it all boils down to. There has to be some level of trust before anyone is going to spend money on your products or services. An extremely effective way of doing that is by letting your current customers do the talking for you. Frankly, prospects are more apt to believe them than they are your own marketing and advertising.
But verified buyer vs. anonymous is one thing; fake reviews, reviews gathered through coercion or incentives, or postings from bots are quite another. Simply stated, don’t pad your stats. Fake reviews have become a serious problem because savvy consumers—especially those in younger segments—can spot them, and it leads to distaste and distrust in your brand, which can be extremely difficult to get out from under.
That’s why it’s important for your business to partner with an organization such as UpCity. We have monitored nearly 350,000 real customer reviews of our partners across UpCity, Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Furthermore, our proprietary algorithm utilizes nine digital signals to measure the credibility and trustworthiness of each of our Certified Partners. We use this algorithm to build the UpCity Recommendability Rating, an assessment of how recommendable a service provider is in comparison with other service providers. It’s designed to give business owners peace of mind knowing they are partnering with someone they can trust.
Reviews are increasingly important to businesses seeking services, especially as more and more is being done without face-to-face, kicking-the-tires interaction. As a foundational building block of how your business is perceived online, it’s critical to continue to put time and effort into making sure your reviews are plentiful, frequent, and of good quality. Contact us today for more information on how UpCity can help.