We're living in an advanced world, where people are becoming more accustomed and accepted in cloud-based technology, and are willing to send payment details digitally in order to make a purchase. As a result, a record amount of online orders have been issued, and businesses and marketers are putting more focus on digital channels to entice customers in the early phrases of their research.
According to research conducted by Investp in 2013, more than 80 percent of the online population has used the internet to purchase something, with sales rapidly growing yearly by more than 19 percent. Surprisingly, the research shown that the EU accounted for 34 percent of e-commerce sales, following closely behind was the USA 29 percent, and Asia 24 percent.
As technology advances, buyers are increasingly using the world-wide web to research into their products before purchasing. While many buyers search for reviews from leading industry bloggers and/or features in magazines.
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Customers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations
A recent study conducted by Search Engine Land focused on consumer usage and attitudes towards online reviews showed that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study hope to understand how online reviews directly impact the purchase of local (or unrecognized) businesses.
88 percent of those surveyed said reviews help them to determine the quality of the service before purchase; 85 percent of which read up to 10 reviews. Additionally, 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews allows them to trust that business more, and only 10 percent chose to take no notice of online reviews.
The trust which drives this 88 percent of consumers is split 50/50. For one half, trust can only be granted if there are multiple reviews to read. The other half, this trust is dependent on the reviews being authentic. In this case, quality is equally important as quantity.
Such results show that reputation management cannot be ignored and reviews are important to all businesses. Negative reviews will directly affect customer acquisition, and in turn, company revenue.
Online Reviews Generate Brand Trust And Increase Conversion Rates
Reviews are made by real people, in the real world, who have physically experienced the service away from their computer screen. Customer reviews can help answer questions that other sources cannot, such as the service reliability, quality, value and life endurance.
Customer reviews from peers is the most trusted source of information online; must more valuable than professional endorsement and anything the brand may say. Customer reviews are now an established part of the online journey. It's commonplace to see e-commerce websites boasting customer reviews to the extent that a website with no reviews seems strange.
If customers cannot find reviews on your website they'll head elsewhere to find them, such as Google. Customer reviews increase conversions. They eliminate doubts potential customers may have about a product, or can help with the product selection. Quite simply, customer reviews help customers to buy with more confidence.
Putting faith in your reviews does mean you loose control of what is being said about your brand, as buyers can leave both positive and negative reviews. You must overcome reluctance and your bravery will pay off.
- Fake Reviews. The subject of fake reviews is in the consciousness of the average consumer. When a business practices fake reviews extensively, the trust of potential customers is forfeited.
- Bad Reviews. Bad reviews allow for businesses to keep on top of their game by continuously improving their noticed flaws. Always try to publicly resolve complaints as this will demonstrate a good customer service skills which can help to re-build relationships. Further, negative reviews help to build credibility in the opinions they read.
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Online Reviews Improve The Customer Experience And Help To Improve Rankings
Customer reviews are a necessity to use across all marketing channels. They help to improve the customer experience and can improve the content of your website:
- Fresh And Exclusive Content. Search engines like unique content which is regularly updated, and customer reviews are a great way to attract more content. Most e-commerce websites have the same standard manufacturer description and product specifications, so user-generated content will help differentiate the product page, and therefore increases the chances of ranking well in the search results.
- Improved Rankings For 'Product' + Review. If a user searches on a search engine for a particular product plus the word 'review' (or another related word such as 'ratings'), and you have reviews of that product on your website, you will stand a better chance of picking up on this traffic.
- Keyword-Optimized Webpages. The additional content generated by customer reviews will contain additional keywords and phrases. These words and phrases may be used by searches, meaning your webpages are further optimised to reach searchers naturally.
- Increased Click-Through On Snippets. If a review content is correctly formatted, the rich snippets will help to increase click-throughs from search engine results pages. According to Distilled, these rich snippets can produce a 10-20% increase click-through rate. Reviews help with search engine rankings, but ultimately increase the chance of a click through resulting in a conversion.