The impact of online reviews on your business [Infographic]
More online reviews means good things for your business?
Reviews are a powerful thing.
It has become indispensable for maintaining a good and sturdy reputation for consumer-focused brands.
Positive comments such as “Money for value”, “Good design”, “Highly recommended” do, to a large extent, influence other customers’ purchasing decisions. L2’s study revealed the positive correlation between positive review and sales, as more reviews your brand has, the higher it gets to be ranked on search engines. It is especially the case when it comes to consumer products and personal care brands, like P&G whose average number of product review is exceedingly higher than its competitors, as exemplified by the same report.
So the impact cannot be ignored.
But how influential exactly are they?
‘One fifth of UK consumers are happy to leave reviews online after purchase with websites containing user reviews 3.2 times more likely to convert sales compared to those without’, according to the Drum.
Reevoo’s detailed analysis of the commercial impact of having both positive and negative reviews also revealed that ‘70 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from friends over professionally written content, and 50 per cent trust reviews more than any other source.’
More interestingly, whether a customer is more likely to leave a positive or negative comment depends on the time and day of the week. So customers generally tend to give positive feedback during the weekdays, while negative ones during the weekends. (I always thought it would be vice-versa!)
The data help brands to figure out and optimise the timing to send out personalised messages to request a review to those who have purchased online.
Yes, fake reviews will undermine your reputation
Of course, it doesn’t make it okay for companies to swamp their site with fake comments reviews. A site oversaturated with all five stars and hyper-positive languages (or way too much enthusiasm) is simply too good to be true in the eyes of consumers. Review websites like TripAdvisor have been under the criticism for allowing fake reviews to be published frequently.
And there is only one path to follow for those companies who pay to get overly exaggerated comments: loss in consumer confidence, which also equates to a loss in sales.
Embedding in your long-term marketing strategy
In a long term, a brand’s website with substantial reviews will help protect their reputation in the wake of unfair customer comments.
When it comes to managing reviews, consistency is key, says BrandWatch. And that means that it needs to be integrated in the brand’s overall marketing plan. Both positive and negative posts should be dealt with consistently and equally.
Yes, an increasing number of people is turning to social media and peer-to-peer reviews on whether to buy brand A or brand B. They look at the product information from their friends or families, which otherwise were provided by the brand’s marketing department.
But consumers’ purchase decisions are still largely influenced by ‘a combination of three things: Their prior preferences, beliefs, and experiences (which we refer to as P), information from marketers(M), and input from other people and from information services (O)’.
Different brands have different combination of the three elements: Brand A may have greater dependence on P, whereas Brand A relies heavily on P. As a zero-sum game, no brand have 100% reliance on every source.
‘If the impact of O on a purchase decision about a food processor goes up, the influence of M or P, or both, goes down.’ – HBR.
Just to show that O is not the dominant source shaping every brand’s branding and marketing attempt, the same article looks at habitual purchases like milk, for which customer’s purchase decisions predominantly rely on P. On the other hand, we often turn to packaging, branding and pricing when choosing body soap.
How much do you know about your customers?
So which source does your customer market mostly rely on? Finally, the final example by Harvard Business School shows that independent restaurants are more likely to win over franchises on Yelp reviews.
At the same time, well-established companies whose sales are mostly affected by M or P are less susceptible to the changing opinions of customers. Examples include premium, high end brands like Chanel where high quality and emotional satisfaction are always promised.
What do you think?
Appnova is a digital agency specialising in web design, UX, eCommerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.
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(Image credit: Paško Tomić via Flickr)
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