It’s no secret that most people today use their mobile devices to search for the products and services they want. Recommendations from their social media contacts are important, but even more influential are the reviews that accompany product descriptions on Amazon, Yelp!, eBay and other popular sites.
How important are reviews in the online decision making process? One recent poll found that a whopping 85% of people said they were influenced one way or another by an online review before making a purchase.
What Customers Are Seeing
The poll, which was conducted by the website Influence Central, also found that 85% of women said that online reviews were “extremely important” or “very important” when it came time to make a buy or no-buy decision. In contrast, only 1% of people said online reviews were not important at all.
The poll also found that 90% of people believe online reviews are more important than information about the product coming from the seller.
Another 87% said they use reviews regularly when search for both online and brick and mortar businesses. Other findings of the poll included:
– 88% of people said they considered polls very important when buying products from a company they have never done business with before, and 67% said reviews were important when buying a brand they’ve bought before
– 97% of respondents said they can accurately spot a fake review, and 90% said they can tell most or all of the time if the reviewer is exaggerating, with another 86% saying they can detect bias in an online review.
– 89% of people said they don’t trust online reviews that are anonymous, but 77% said they have more trust in a review that includes the author’s name and photo.
What This Means for You
What this means is that if you aren’t paying attention to what online reviewers are saying about your products and services, you could be losing sales, especially if you are doing nothing to manage your reviews.
The poll’s statistics indicate that it’s usually not a good idea to try to pad your products with fake reviews you wrote yourself or to pay people to write positive reviews about your products or company. Organic reviews that express genuine opinions will carry the most meaning for your customers. So your goal should be to collect as many organic positive reviews from real life customers as possible.
How to Get Positive Reviews
The easiest way to get positive reviews from your satisfied customers is to ask for them. To encourage people to share their good opinions about your products or company, it’s a good idea to include an invitation with every interaction, both online and in person, such as, “If you enjoyed your experience, please share it with your friends and family on social media.”
You also can include plugins on your web pages that make it easy for page visitors to give you positive social media signals such as Facebook “Likes” and Google+ pluses. Or you can include a little box for people to write testimonials or their opinions about your company, the products you sell, or the brands you offer.
This actually is one of the best ways to manage reviews because you get to choose which ones you want to share. There’s nothing that says you are required to publish negative reviews, but they do offer you an opportunity to go back to that customer and try to win them back.
Today more than ever, people are paying attention to what other people are saying about your business online. If you aren’t, you may be missing out on one of your best marketing opportunities.