How Online Reviews Influence Sales.
Before the internet, face-to-face business required the customers to interact with the shopkeeper. But as the online market has become the primary way to buy. It has created a system for buyers to acknowledge purchases and services. Even sharing opinions and thoughts of products and services that put them off.
According to a survey, there are over 95% of shoppers read online reviews before buying online. The number indicates how much influence reviews can have on sales decisions. Thus, reviews are not a source of feedback information but also a sign of consumer engagement. The number of criticism says more about the quality of the product than the positivity. A product that draws more attention with some negative reviews can be better than a product with few 100% positive reviews. Moreover, online assessment depends on many more factors besides the number of reviews. This includes the rating stars, the review content, as well as the source of the review.
What’s an online review?
Online reviews contain three different parts:
- Rating stars.
- Written criticism.
The written criticism is the reason for the Rating Stars. Thus, commonly, the more positive the criticism, the higher the rating stars.
Why are online reviews crucial?
Customers often buy on emotion, and their emotions rely on other people’s reactions. Indeed, any review, whether positive or negative, will affect the business one way or another. So, a business can never thrive without the client’s opinion. Many people may be afraid of missing out on good deals. For example, a long waiting line outside of a store indicates a lucrative opportunity or the arrival of new products. This process stimulates outsider’s curiosity which then attracts even more people. As everything moves online, the waiting line is now turned into online reviews and ratings. Yes, last-minute deals may entice customers to buy, but they will still end up checking the reviews.
The right amount of positive comments can create a fear of missing out feeling on the first look of your potential clients.
Do Negative Reviews Deter Customers?
Buyers are not only afraid of losing money on the bad stuff but also afraid of being deceived. This fear grows even bigger on online purchases. Online reviews often present a painted picture, and there are minimal ways to verify the authenticity of reviews. Thus, buyers are afraid of being deceived and have developed an immune system—for example, systems that alarm them upon suspicious perfectness and the absence of negative reviews. Let’s be clear here. Nothing is perfect, so don’t try to be. Rather aim for honest, thorough, and reflective reports.
Reviews that are bad and ones that show a bad buy will create some hesitation with potential customers, and thus a loss of sales.
What does the number of reviews represent?
The number of reviews reflects the hotness of your product and or service and the scale of your brand’s image. It also reflects how good your service is in collecting reviews from customers. If you are buying products with decent quality expectancy, you should definitely watch for the number of positive reviews. A service with stellar reviews will only solidify what the expectations will be.
A high-quality review includes the rating stars and a comprehensive explanation for the given rating stars. Good reviews are extremely valuable and much more time-consuming, making this type of review rare when it comes to feedback. Common buyers won’t bother spending too much time writing reviews on every product they buy—especially those who are active in online shopping and promotion seekers. But there are websites like UpCity and Clutch that take the time to authenticate and provide detailed reviews. Due to the nature and detail of the reviews on these sites, it always makes sense to provide an incentive to customers—for example, a discount or some free good as a form of appreciation.
Example of a High-quality review:
Subject: Refund of a good pull-up bar
Had ordered this Pull-up Bar doorway last Sunday, and it arrived on the following Tuesday as expected. It has a decent metallic look and soft holders, which fit comfortably to my hands. However, I didn’t expect it to come with screws that require drilling holes onto the wall. I’m living with my hosts, so they don’t allow me to drill any hole on their wall. That’s why I ended up returning it despite the satisfactory quality. I hope that you can include the screwing information in the product images.
A low-quality review includes only the rating star and very little explanation, sometimes irrelevant. Bad reviews are the most popular since time investment for review writing is never a priority for customers. Sometimes, you want to give quick rating stars and move on. This habit is not entirely bad because you can’t and should never expect a 100% conversion rate from purchasing to writing reviews. On the other hand, these rating stars are the fundamental foundation for boosting your product’s popularity.
Example of a low-quality preview:
Subject: Automatic vacuum sealer
How to get reviews from customers
Customers are not on default to leave reviews. Therefore, it’s your job to follow up and remind them. A brief email right after the merchandise has been delivered that kindly reminds the customer to leave a review is best. The longer you wait after the purchaser received the package, the less likely customers will reply to you and write a review about your product. You also want to avoid tailing your customer or annoy them with too many messages because no one likes being bothered by the seller rambling about review writing. One single brief email following up should be enough.
Example of the following up email:
Dear valuable customer,
We’d love to hear how our products are serving you. Give a us quick review of your opinion in the link down below. Please don’t hesitate to report any problem that you encountered with our product. We are here to maximize your experience and protect your customer’s rights.
Handling negative reviews correctly
What people say about your product forms your brand image. The more people reply, the better. Yet, it’s not so bad to receive negative comments. It’s crucial the way you respond to the situation and fix the problem. It’s even better to have customers change their minds and come back with positive reviews after bad ones. It indicated your ability to handle criticism and resolving customer’s problems.
In most cases, the negative review arises from your issue
The faster you respond to a problem, the faster the problem is resolved, and the happier your customer. In fact, people are more engaged in giving reviews for brands that listen to customer’s opinions. The reason is that they can sense whether their opinions are treasured and valued appropriately to come for more.
Example of a negative review:
I had to purchase a propane fuel cylinder separately from your flame thrower since you don’t include it in the buying option. It turned out incompatible with each other so I went to return both. However, the propane fuel cylinder is a flammable object so it cannot be returned. I ended up in a very awkward situation with a useless propane fuel cylinder because of your insufficient offers.
Dear valuable customer,
It’s clearly our fault for not including a compatible propane fuel cylinder along with the flame thrower as a bundle. We are deeply sorry for your uncomfortable situation. We will make sure the fuel be included from now on. Besides, we attempted to ease your indignation with decent compensation. A $20 discount has been added to your account along with our thanks for giving us a fair and thorough review. We’d love to hear from you again soon in the near future.
The more reviews, the more visible your product will be
Suppose you’re selling products on a competitive market such as Amazon. There are likely countless numbers of relevant results as yours. So, as a customer, you are often unwilling to view every single option on the market. As a result, the pages showing on top received the most interactions based on the algorithm. That is where you want your product to be. To stand out from the crowd, you need to collect buyer reviews more and focus on the quality of the review. In other words, aim for high-quality reviews.
Being transparent about customer review
Try to be as transparent as possible about customer reviews. Hiding or manipulating reviews will only hinder your business success and the bottom line. Moreover, negative reviews will always come back as the previous ones go unsolved. So there’s no way you can obscure the truth forever on the open internet.
Online reviews and the sales funnel
Unlike physical shops, where the number of merchandise is limited, online shopping is open to purchasing options. Businesses can sell their product in any market and any geographical place. Yet, opportunity always delivers challenges. The more options the customer has, the smaller the probability they are going to choose from you. That’s the idea of the sales funnel. You want to broaden your influence and grasp more attention to convert that into actual sales.
There are 5 stages of the sales funnel that represent different levels of influence toward the purchase decision. The materials that make up the funnel are customer reviews. Imagine a potential client as a drop of water falling, and you use your safe funnel to try to catch it. The thicker the funnel, the harder for the drop to fall through, while the wider the width of your funnel, the larger the number of drops you can achieve.
Take away on Reviews.
A customer will only get to check the reviews if they have reached the point of narrowing down and ready to buy. Solid and quality reviews will help that decision swing to a buy. At the same time, negative reviews will result in a loss of a potential customer.
Reviews, whether it is a video testimonial, a photo, audio, or text, will only help influence sales.