Online reviews ‘make or break’ for business

Online customer reviews have a huge impact on how well businesses perform, new research has suggested.

Research from WebsiteBuilder.org has revealed that 68% of millennials trust online reviews, compared with 34% who say they trust television advertising.

Reviews also produce an average uplift of 18% in sales, and those that view user-generated content have a 133% higher conversion rate.

Consumers also revealed that they are 12 times more likely to trust a customer review rather than descriptions that come from a manufacturer.

Nine out of 10 consumers read fewer than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business, and 50 or more reviews per product can lead to a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.

People that read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to buy than those who read reviews on desktops. This may be influenced by the fact that 57.1% of the 53.9% of consumers that use social media in-store are reading reviews online.

More than half (55%) use Facebook as a place to learn about brands, and businesses that maintain active Twitter and Facebook pages are more likely to have positive review ratings of three or four stars.

In fact, every star a business receives increases business revenue by an average of 5% to 9%.

Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews and 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

According to Google, business listings that had at least three star reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks.

When it comes to negative reviews, 22% of consumers said they wouldn’t buy from a business after reading just one negative review. After three negative reviews that number jumps to 59%.

Four or more negative reviews could take away 70% of potential customers and on average, a single negative review will cost a business 30 customers.

The majority (86%) said they would hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.

However, negative reviews can actually create a buzz around a brand and increase e-commerce sales as it increases product awareness.

When retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites a third of customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive one. Nearly a fifth also went on to become loyal customers and make other purchases when a negative review was responded to.

However, despite the impact online reviews can have on sales a common misconception is that all reviews are real. Up to 30% of online reviews for certain products may actually be fake and only 27% of people said they trust reviews only if they believe they are authentic.