Have you ever bought something because of reading the positive online reviews some of the customers wrote about it? Well, I have. I go to one of the coffee shops in town, Kaldis to be precise, after reading the reviews customers wrote on their Facebook page. Another restaurant that I now like is the The Pot, based in Naivasha. After reading about how good their food and customer service was, I decided to go there and true to the reviews, I was not disappointed.
We all do it – routinely sort through search results by customer star ratings and scroll through buyer feedback before making a final shopping decision.
It’s no secret the way consumers make decisions has dramatically changed from over the last decade. We stand in stores, use our smartphones to compare prices and product reviews. Family and friends instantly weigh in via social media. When we are ready to buy, an ever-growing list of online retailers deliver products directly to our homes, sometimes even on the same day.
With the advent of social media and constant updates, image sharing and online peer recommendations, it’s unsurprising that 61 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, according to recent surveys. After all, reviews provide a first stop for any potential customer to understand a product from a consumer point of view, delivering honest and impartial insight from peers.
Personally, there is one supermarket here in Nairobi that I can’t go to after reading the several negative reviews about their bad customer service and how they’ve stolen from some customers. You see, when there are so many negative reviews about your product or service, there must be something wrong.
Consumers have the power to vote with both their feet and wallets and hence online ratings have reviews have the following impact on them
Increased Consumer Confidence
Did you know that 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews? Ratings and Reviews undoubtedly provide- easily accessible and digestible information to consumers and help them make informed and objective decisions while on the path to purchase.
Enhanced Consumer Loyalty
Ratings and Reviews give consumers an instantaneous and meaningful platform to share their feedback about products and companies across the world. Power Reviews. Consumers like to feel that they are being heard and are special, by giving consumers recognition and an opportunity to voice their opinions, they ultimately pay it forward. Engagement based loyalty creates an authentic relationship for consumers.
Who do we trust?
When it comes to trust, many consumers prefer to turn to independent sources rather than go directly to businesses. This presents a real risk for businesses as they have less control over the information being circulated and used by consumers to make decisions.
Empowered consumers are also a significant driver of growth as their behavior intensifies competition and drives innovation. The ability of like-minded people to compare experiences and promote their collective voice allows the most active consumers to demonstrate the power of the crowd. Some companies are even using crowd-based power to help them develop their products and services.
But what are the benefits for businesses?
For starters, Ratings and Reviews increase sales and drive traffic. Other advantages include:
⦁ Brand Credibility
Each review establishes your brand’s credibility and increases consumer confidence during their purchasing path, in turn increasing your conversion rates. More than 86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions clearly, reviews are an essential part of the purchase process. If the brand or retailer isn’t providing them, the consumer will seek them out from a third party.
⦁ Keeping Your Consumers Close
Consumers typically need several reviews to make purchases comfortably. ⦁ Ratings and Reviews power a virtuous cycle where more reviews drive more transactions which in turn drive more reviews.
Online Reviews have become one of the most powerful ways for businesses to engage consumers at the point of purchase. For businesses and consumers, a star can make all the difference!