For the past 4 years, BrightLocal have been running surveys to help digital marketers understand the importance of online reviews, and the change in their audiences approach to them. The key findings speak volumes, with 88% of those surveyed saying that they read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. With only 12% of people not reading reviews at all and nearly 40% reading them on a regular basis, the statistics are starting to stack up in favour of having reviews readily available.
With nearly 9 out of 10 consumers reading online reviews in order to rate a businesses products and services, it is more important than ever to utilise this free resource and create an online bank of customer feedback. The graphs below show how consumer behaviour has changed over the past four years.
This information makes it clear how important online reviews are, and how we need to keep up with the trend line as it changes.
We often say that we should value quality over quantity, however 67% of consumers say they read up to six reviews before they make a purchase, with 85% of consumers reading up to 10 reviews. Therefore it is important to set up a call to action on your website and social media that encourages customers to leave reviews. You could offer an incentive to the first 20 people to leave a review of money off their next purchase. That was you gain a good supply of reviews, as well as a handful of returning customers.
The final, and some could say most important point, is that 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This contrasts greatly to the 2011 results, where over 30% of participants said that they did not trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Overall, it is important to ensure that you have positive, real reviews that back up your business and services. By investing time into this, you should begin to see more interaction on your site, and in the long term, more conversions.