When considering reviews, it’s easy to assume that they only impact your business’s online presence. However, reviews have an effect offline as well! Both the online and offline worlds are remarkably connected due to the ease of access everyone has to cyberspace. According to Pew Research Center, 96 percent of Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 use the Internet while 77 percent of adults own smartphones.
Smartphones sit inside nearly every pocket, connecting everyone with reviews and opinions, affecting both the online and offline experience. Here are ways reviews impact your business online and offline.
Reviews Can Increase (or Decrease) Website Hits
Research suggests that 93 percent of consumers are careful to read local reviews before making a decision to use a business. That means the majority of people dutifully searches for a business’s reviews before making any kind of purchase decision. People scrolling through different types of businesses might check the reviews before ever going to the business’s website.
Good reviews might prompt them to check out the website while negative reviews will encourage them to stay clear. Research suggests that one negative review puts off 22 percent of customers, while three negative reviews are capable of driving away 59 percent of customers.
Reviews Can Increase (or Decrease) Online Sales
Not all businesses have a store online, but those that do can greatly benefit from positive online reviews. Surveys show that 94 percent of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating whereas only 14 percent of consumers say they would use a business with one or two-star ratings. The better your reviews, the higher the likelihood that customers will purchase from your website.
Reviews Can Increase (or Decrease) Customer Trust
Evidence shows that positive reviews help 73 percent of consumers trust a business more. Customers who don’t know much about your business might rely on the opinion of others to help them determine if a brand is worth trusting. A long list of negative reviews will persuade them into thinking a business is untrustworthy. Consequently, they’ll avoid the brand and develop a negative perception of it. Positive reviews, on the other hand, will encourage them to trust a brand. By reading positive reviews, customers will believe that if someone else had a great experience, they will as well.
Reviews Can Increase (or Decrease) Word of Mouth Referrals
You might think that online reviews are only for online conversations. That simply isn’t the case. While 85 percent of consumers admit to trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, personal recommendations still hold a lot of weight. If online reviews and personal recommendations are interchangeable, then someone who reads a positive review will feel perfectly comfortable spreading the word about the brand in question.
Customers trust other customers' experiences. If they read a long list of bad reviews and become convinced that a brand isn’t worth supporting, they’ll feel perfectly comfortable telling their friends not to support it. The same goes the other way. After seeing plenty of positive reviews, they’ll feel much more comfortable recommending a business to a friend.
Customers care about reviews, so much so that reviews impact both the online and offline world. Not only do they affect how many clicks to a website or ad or how many sales occur in a month, but they also impact the way customers think, feel and talk about a business.