Hopefully, you don’t still support the outdated (and completely false) rumor that only restaurant patrons care about online reviews. Though it takes time and care to effectively manage reviews, doing so will help your business thrive. Consider the following:
Online Reviews Affect Purchases
Consumers consistently report that online reviews influence their willingness to buy the product. Although the weight reviews carry might vary depending on the service or product, every bit counts. For example, 70 percent of users who purchase tech gadgets rely on reviews, but only 40 percent of restaurant patrons consider them. Either way, online reviews can significantly affect buying behavior.
Consumers Use Several Review Sites
While Amazon reviews dominate this arena, people also use Google, Facebook, and other smaller but relevant sites. For business owners, this means making sure you get reviewed on as many sites as possible should be prioritized.
Reading Reviews vs. Writing Them
Studies have shown that although most users willingly read reviews, few take the time to write them. In fact, half of all respondents reported reading reviews all or most of the time. Only 10 percent said the never do. As for writing reviews, only 6 percent of respondents said they always write a review post purchase. This disproportionate ratio means you’ll need to get creative about encouraging customers to review your business. A few helpful strategies include:
- Adding obvious links to your website where users can go to write reviews
- Including language on receipts or invoices to the effect of, “Find us on Google”
- Using relevant images (Amazon decals, for example) to show customers where they can find you
The Dirty Game of Paying for Reviews
If you’ve ever considered paying for positive reviews, don’t. Although it might be tempting to do anything that helps grow your business, the fallout if caught could devastate your reputation. And with today’s advanced algorithms that hope to weed out erroneous reviews, the chances of discovery are higher than you might think.
In short, with so many ways incentivizing positive reviews can backfire, why chance it? Besides, you already know how important online reviews are to a business. If you focus your energy on getting real customers to be open about your service–which is no easy task–you’ll fare better in the long run. You’ll also build trust and transparency with your customer base, letting them have a voice and share in the success of your brand.
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