The Power of Online Reviews
Updated: Feb 11
Changing Buying Behaviours:
Buying behaviours have radically changed in the last 20 years as barriers to buy and sell products online have shrunk allowing business to sell directly to customers without them having to get out of bed.
This shift in buying behaviour has completely changed the consumer buying journey as well. Not only are people buying more online, the way they research before purchasing both online & in-store has shifted as well.
Consumers have more access to professional & previous customer reviews & this data helps make more educated decisions before picking up the phone to make a reservation at a restaurant or choosing an accountant for their business.
Rise of Reviews:
Consumers are leaving reviews about their previous experiences dealing with a business on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor etc. & these reviews are having a direct impact on how new customers are choosing where to spend their money.
A study in 2018 reported 86% of consumers read customer reviews on local businesses before visiting in-store. What’s more staggering is that between the ages of 18-34, that number shoots up to 95%!
The trend is clear, reviews are extremely important especially when it comes to attracting a younger audience.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Reviews:
According to the same report mentioned above, consumers read an average of 10 reviews before feeling confident to trust a business. If you’re googling your business and find you don’t have many reviews, don’t worry, you have an opportunity to stand out and gain an advantage against your competition who isn’t focusing on growing their company's reviews and authority.
4 Ways to Get more Reviews:
But how do you get them? It can be difficult but here are some simple things you can do right now to get more!
1. Ask! – If you ask your customers at the right time, they may be willing to leave you a review such as asking at the time of purchase. You can also leave links on your website directing customers to review sites, request them on receipts/invoices, ask in email newsletters to previous customers etc.
2. Creating an incentive – Offering those who review a discount will give them a great reason to leave a review especially those who buy your products or use your services regularly. This can be in the form of a giveaway, discount code for ecommerce, free shipping, 10% off their next purchase, free coffee, etc.
3. Responding to reviews – Seeing your business interact directly with those leaving reviews may incite others to leave their own review. Responding to reviews also leaves each reviewer feeling like their voice was heard encouraging a sense of community toward and centred around your brand.
4. In-store Kiosks: Having an iPad set up in store will allow you to actively receive reviews while providing a premium customer experience.
Reviews Provide Authority:
A Google search for “Halifax coffee shop” resulted in 3 options; which would you choose?
· Weird Harbour Espresso:
Bar 4.8 Stars - 178 Reviews
· The Nook on Gottingen:
4.6 Stars - 341 Reviews
· Uncommon Grounds:
4.4 Stars – 325 Reviews
People tend to choose their location on two factors; average star rating & number of reviews. In this study, they found that as of 2018 that 57% needed a 4/5 stars to consider going and at least 11 reviews. A perfect marriage of these two would have you choosing The Nook on Gottingen because it has the most reviews and the second highest star rating. Whatever you chose, whatever you place more weight on when you see that, what is certain is you examined both the star rating and the amount of reviews because that's all you had to go on.
Reviews lead to Brand Authority:
Customers are using reviews as a way to help cull their options when selecting a business. Whether that be a restaurant, salon, car dealer or what have you, reviews are becoming more and more a tool for potential consumers to get to know & trust the quality of your organization.