The Importance of Online Customer Reviews

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I often joke about the difference between “real friends” and “Facebook friends.” However, in truth, people shopping in eCommerce seem to value the input of online friends, and strangers for that matter, as much as they do close friends. In digital land, everyone is a friend. This reality points to the importance of online customer reviews when running an eCommerce business.

The following is an overview of recent data demonstrating the importance of online customer reviews, along with insights on how to maximize their value in your eCommerce business!

Data on the Importance of Online Customer Reviews

The following infographic highlights four critical pieces of data showing the value consumers place on peer input. In general, it is clear that people prefer to hear from other consumers rather than brands when making purchase decisions. Consumers trust customer reviews 12 times more than they do what manufacturers tell them in product descriptions.

Data Showing Importance of Online Customer Reviews

Source: RealEstateAgentU.com

The biggest reveal from this data compilation is that people place almost as much faith in what strangers tell them online as they do in what people they know tell them about products. Ninety percent trust the input of those close to them and 89 percent believe in online recommendations from people they don’t know.

How to Manage Online Customer Reviews

The other data point in the infographic reinforces the importance of online customer reviews by showing that 87 percent of buyers are affected by positive feedback from peers on a product. Given all of the clear evidence that reviews drive purchases, you need to do everything in your power to manage reviews of your business and products.

You can’t control everything people say about you online, but the following are a few key strategies to manage online reviews to the best of your abilities:

Create Happy Customers

You should only expect positive reviews when you do everything possible to create happy customers. Satisfaction results when you give people more than they anticipate across all facets of the buying experience, including website navigation, product quality and service. Part of the process includes fixing any problems before the customer is angry enough to spread the negative word.

Request Reviews

It would be nice if every happy customer proactively shared reviews on your website, Google, Yelp and other channels, but that is a rare occurrence. Instead, ask your satisfied customers to post reviews by giving them a link to follow.

Respond to Negative Feedback

An online presence means negative feedback is going to happen at seem point. Don’t fight it. Instead, show empathy and invite the customer to discuss the concern more privately so you can work toward a resolution. Online shoppers see this as a sign of quality commitment.

Conclusions

The evidence supporting the importance of online customer reviews is overwhelming. People feel safer when they can gain insight from other buyers before making a purchase. Therefore, do everything you can to share customer reviews and generate positive ones by taking the steps prescribed.

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About the Author: Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller is a veteran college marketing professor with an MBA. He has also been a freelance business and marketing content writer and website creator since 2008.

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