What’s the big deal with consumer reviews anyway?

|February 13, 2017

So what is the big deal with reviews anyway? Are they really that important? How much do shoppers really rely on them? Will they really have much of an impact on my business? All great questions, and the answer to all of them are unequivocally “yes”.

 

You only need to look at your own personal habits to anecdotally see the value of consumer reviews. From the products you buy, the vacations you take, to the restaurants you choose for date night, reviews serve as a trusted resource and guide. This is also true for shoppers looking at your products. But how do you quantify this value?

 

Consumer-generated ratings and reviews help brands get discovered both through traditional search engines like Google, or during searches on a retailer site. Reviews help establish and maintain a brand’s reputation, which directly correlates to increasing consideration and product sales. Collecting review content from real customers also gives brands a great opportunity to not only learn about their own products, but also about the people that buy them.

 

The importance of reviews on search

Far from a revelation, ranking high in search is important for any business, particularly smaller business with limited advertising budgets. According to Business Insider, 39% of worldwide e-commerce traffic in January of 2016 came from search engines, with 35% from organic and only from 4% paid search. Reviews are a great source of fresh content that search engines like Google love and index. The customers that leave reviews for your products are using similar language to what your target audience will use during search. This makes review content highly relevant and keyword-rich, which helps shoppers easily discover your brand and products. This is also true on the retailer site level as well. Many shoppers filter searches based on highest-rated products, or products with the most reviews to cut through the clutter of product choices. For instance, Fuzion Scooters is able to reach potential scooter customers that aren’t searching specifically for their scooters by having its reviews and star ratings surface on the category and search pages of Walmart.com. This way, shoppers can see that Fuzion Scooters have high ratings and a lot of reviews – providing incentive to click through to the product pages. You can learn more about how Fuzion Scooters successfully uses ratings and reviews to be found and increase sales here. With reviews, your brand and products are more easily discovered by shoppers, both during initial searches, but also in the consideration phase on retailer sites.

 

Establishing and maintaining brand reputation

For many brands, reputation management is the cornerstone of maintaining their business. But many small and medium businesses simply need to establish a reputation in the first place. If you have no reputation to speak of, how can you hope to earn a consumer’s trust, and ultimately their business?

 

Reviews are a great resource for building and maintaining credibility, as they are sourced from real people and thus, highly trusted. Search Engine Land reports that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Other tactics such as setting up partnerships with existing brands, or securing endorsements with influencers or celebrities that embody your brand can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s the beauty of reviews, you can begin to collect and display content from real people that immediately begin to build your brand’s reputation.

 

Reviews’ impact on sales

With reviews helping brands get discovered during search and building credibility through the authentic voice of the consumer, it should be no surprise that this translates into sales. Econsultancy cites that 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when reviews are present. On average, this produces a 10% conversion lift and return visitor rate of 5%. When applied across the retailers that carry your products online, the impact can be astounding. And this only increases as your review volume increases. Bazaarvoice research has shown a direct correlation between review volume and sales impact, both online and in-store. You can learn more about how reviews boost product sales and consideration here.

 

Learn more about your products and customers

Product reviews not only help drive engagement and revenue, but they also serve as a window into your customers’ feelings and perceptions. Ratings and reviews are like a 24/7 focus group that delivers real insights about your products and the people who buy them. These insights can be used to improve existing products or expand a product line to address uncovered consumer needs. The insights gleaned from reviews can also quickly be adapted to enhance marketing copy that speaks better to your target audience. Many times, it is not necessarily a product change that presents the most opportunity, but rather a simple pivot in production description or selling point.

 

I get it reviews work. What now?

Luckily, consumers aren’t shy, they want to share their opinions. They just need the opportunity. A survey by Bright Local found that 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review when simply asked. But what is the best way to ask that makes efficient use of your time and budget? Solutions such as Bazaarvoice Review Marketing make it fast and easy to start collecting and sharing reviews across some of the largest retailers like Walmart and Target in just a matter of days. To learn more about getting customer ratings and reviews to work for you, visit ReviewMarketing.com and start a free trial today.