97% Say Customer Reviews Influence Their Purchase Decision
In an age where the customer is king, consumers are empowered with more access to information, more channels on which to purchase, and the flexibility to shop and research at a time and location of their choosing. To keep pace with more informed and connected consumers, businesses must adapt their strategies to provide personalized interactions and one-to-one content and messaging at every phase along the customer journey. Arming consumers with the right information ensures they move independently along the shopping journey, creating trust and increased loyalty.
Knowledge is Power
With the increase in digital channels on which to disseminate and consume information, consumers are turning online to gather information at every point along their path to purchase. Research by Deloitte shows that 81% of people read reviews and check ratings and more than one in three consumers contribute to online forum or comment on blogs.
When making a purchase decision, family/friends, customer reviews and independent product/service experts are the most trusted sources of information about products and services.
Recent research by Fan & Fuel conducted in December 2016 reveals that, “Consumers want to see customer reviews for your products and services AND they look for the nitty-gritty details in customers’ written reviews—experiences and problems they’ve had, how you’ve responded to complaints, consensus on whether or not the product/service lives up to your claims and so on. Online customer reviews tell a story that consumers trust.”
Other findings from the study include:
- 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews
- 97% say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions
- 32% say written reviews are the one element that makes them believe a site’s reviews are relevant/useful
- 73% say written reviews make more of an impression on them than star/number ratings
- 94% typically read written reviews
- 35% say one negative review can make them decide not to buy
No Reviews? Consumers Are Less Likely to Buy
If you don’t have reviews, your potential customers are less likely to buy. In fact, 35% are less likely to buy, 32% will hold off on making a buying decision until they do more research, and an additional 23% will have difficulty in making a buying decision.
What are Consumers Looking for in Reviews?
Consumers are looking for not just the reviews themselves, but specific information in reviews. 37% stated that details on reviewers’ experiences help them decide if the product/service is right for them, and 31% look for any problems reviewers have experienced.
How Often do Consumers Use Online Reviews?
Most (97%) of consumers say reviews influence their buying decisions. 58% of consumers use them frequently, 23% occasionally, and 16% always use customer reviews when making a purchase decision.
How to Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
The irony in reviews is that in some cases having no reviews can be worse than having bad reviews, especially for more modern consumers. According to PowerReviews, 70% of mobile shoppers are more likely to purchase a product if the retailer’s mobile site or app offers reviews. Offering incentives such as loyalty points, discounts on future purchases, and complimentary items are commonplace in garnering reviews.
It’s also important to make leaving a review as easy as possible. Make sure your review links are clearly posted on your website, and that whatever type of form or input method you’re using is optimized for mobile devices. Follow up emails are another good way to encourage reviews, as the more time that passes after a transaction the chances of a consumer leaving a review decreases.
What to Do About Negative Reviews
While they can be frustrating, negative reviews in a sense are not all bad. For one thing they can highlight deficiencies in your products or services that you never would have noticed before. They can also build your brand’s authenticity by showing consumers that they can trust your positive reviews, because you allow your customers to voice both sides of their experiences. They can also manage consumer expectations. For example a review about a dress that complains “size was smaller than expected” can educate a future customer to purchase a larger size than they would have originally.
Regardless if a negative review is constructive criticism or outrage, it’s imperative to respond – and quickly. The suggested timeline of how quickly a review should receive response varies by the platform it’s initiated on, but across the board most experts suggest responding in less than 24 hours. If a complaint is lodged on a social platform such a Twitter, which is known for its rapid fire nature, it should ideally be addressed in under an hour.
In order to craft a positive consumer experience paying attention to reviews is essential. And don’t forget that not all reviews are posted on your website. It’s critical to pay attention to the social conversations that are taking place about your products and brand- they can give you valuable insight on what to change (or keep doing) in order to keep your customers satisfied.