93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Find out how to use online reviews to connect with your customers, improve your brand image and encourage positive buying recommendations.
Your customers are talking online
Like it or not, in the confusing and busy world of online shopping, people want reassurance before committing to a purchase. Your potential customers are turning to online review sites to learn all they can about your service or product. Sites like Yelp, Google Maps and TripAdvisor allow customers to give advice, or to read past customer experiences directly from the source.
How powerful is this route to market is on customer buying decisions? The answer is very. 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.
Why do customers leave online reviews?
Online reviews give power to the customers to tell their side of the buying story. This provides social proof to other potential customers.
Social proof is the level of credibility that the public provides to a service or product. The more people that use, or enjoy a product, the more likely others are to follow. Positive public endorsement of a brand by a celebrity can provide high social proof, which can directly impact sales. Likewise, a negative review can drive customers away.
There’s also evidence to suggest that online reviews are the primary way to choose where to shop locally. Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media when researching products or services in their local area.
The value of positive reviews
Positive reviews remain a key way for companies to sell their product, with customers willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. But there are other benefits too:
- Increased consumer trust - As you’ll know, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose following a bad experience. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.
- Having a direct line to customers - Hearing feedback from customers will give you insights to help you improve the customer experience. You’ll soon be able to draw up a picture of the entire customer journey, and find out areas you perform well and others that need improving. With most review sites, you can also respond back to the customer and start a dialogue to find out more, and close the loop to ensure their issues are resolved.
- Appearing higher in search engine rankings - Online customer reviews gain more weighting (6.47%) in organic local searches. What customers say in their reviews also mattered - ‘Negative Sentiment in Google Reviews’ is a negative ranking factor.
The cost of negative reviews
On the contrary, negative online reviews have a devastating effect on your brand.
- 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with and only 13% of consumers will consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating.
- 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
- Four out of five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews.
In fact, businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%.
If you have a star-rating for your company, negative change to this can have serious consequences. A loss of a half-star rating means a restaurant is 19% less likely to have full seats during peak dining times (UC Berkeley). Likewise, a one-star decrease in a Yelp rating could lead to a 5-9% decrease in revenue (Harvard Business School).
Which review platforms do customers use?
General review sites
Social review sites
Industry-specific review sites
- Food and drink: TripAdvisor
- Travel and hospitality: Air BnB, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com
- Property: Home Away
- Cleaning: UK Cleaning Company
- IT/Computers repair: Computer Repair Companies, Computer Repair Maintenance UK, Which?
- Weddings: Guides for Brides, The Wedding Planner
- Trade: MyBuilder
Be aware of the danger of fake reviews
Fake online reviews are dangerous as they don’t help you or the customer get what you’re after.
Malicious fake reviews impact the credibility of your brand by reporting bad service where there is none. To real potential customers, this can be enough to turn them off a sale.
If customers can spot one fake review, it calls into question the trustworthiness of all the other genuine reviews.
You can spot fake reviews by a few tell-tale signs.
- If the reviewer does not provide profile information, or has inconsistent reviewing methods (lots of reviews or none at all), you could be dealing with a computerized spam persona.
- This is more likely if they have included links to third-party websites or products, in an attempt to draw away customers to competitors or unprotected sites.
- The review messages will be repeated as new reviews for other companies. The messages may be non-specific, created in a different language or misleading.
You can report these reviewers to the platform administrators, so they can remove the review as soon as possible.
5 ways to use online reviews to your advantage
What can you do to help promote positive reviews and work with your customers?
1. Ask for online reviews from your customers
If you’re not already working to improve your online reviews, you can start now by educating your customers on the importance of leaving reviews - and encouraging them to do so, optimizing your listings on each platform, and providing excellent customer service.
Instead of waiting for customers to volunteer a review, you can ask customers if they would like to leave one on a site of your choosing - one study found that 68% of customers will leave a review if they’re asked.
This could happen automatically at the point of purchase, through a personalized email campaign or a satisfaction survey. This way, you can direct the reviews to an online review platform that suits you and allows for direct communication to customers.
Don’t solicit good reviews in exchange for money on ethical grounds. If you’re found out, it can damage your credibility and consumer trust.
2. Respond to online reviews from your customers
Periodically check review sites to check if there have been any reviews recently, and make sure you respond back to each one. If a customer is taking the time to write a review - positive or negative - you can't ignore it.
Be careful about how you respond to the customer. Check that your message and tone is on-brand. It’s true that 89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews, so they will be watching how you react.
Thank the customer for their view, and where there are negative comments, offer to take this case off-line to investigate further. This shows you’re proactive about giving good customer service and that you take their views - and experience - seriously.
3. Be transparent about your online reviews
Show you’re a transparent, customer-focused company that cares about what their customers say by sharing your online reviews.
If you want more online reviews, make it easy for customers to do so by giving them direct access to these review sites. This way you can learn from their feedback.
From a consumer’s viewpoint, a company that offers online review opportunities is a company that is confident in providing high-quality products and great customer service.
4. Share online reviews in your communications
Use the positive reviews you have in your company communications. Try the following:
- Promote reviews that mention a product by name, so you can link this to the product’s homepage. When new customers see the review, they can click on the link to learn more, and this will help to endorse the product naturally. A company can say a product is good, but it means more coming from fellow customers.
- Use the reviews in your recruitment material. Harvard Business Review found that a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire.
- Share customer success stories internally where you have closed the loop and turned a bad experience into a good one. This will help to humanize the brand and show employees the value of taking action on poor experiences.
- You can also help resolve the need for reassurance by increasing the visible reviews for customers at the point of purchase. For example, where the cost of a product is great, like in IT software sales, people will use more reviews to feel comfortable before investing in the purchase (64% of software buyers want to read at least 6 reviews before purchasing)
5. Have a physical shop presence if possible
Consider this: According to Google/Nielson, 93% of people who use mobile to research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service. Does your brand have a physical shop presence?
If you’re unable to get shop space, you can use your online shop or sales process to mimic the person-to-person experience. You can ask for a review once an order has been placed.
Alternatively, get third-party endorsement to sell your product in the real world. 49% of consumers depend on influencer reviews and recommendations, so find someone that reflects your brand and can connect with your target audience.
About 5%–10% of consumers write reviews, influencing around $400 billion of the total e-commerce sales revenue. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends. 82% of shoppers specifically seek negative reviews.What percentage of customers read online reviews? ›
Surveys show that 95% of consumers read online reviews before they shop and 58% say they would pay more for the products of a brand with good reviews.How do I see Google review statistics? ›
To see your overall review stats, go to Your contributions on Google Maps for Android or iOS. Then, tap REVIEWS. At the top of the screen, you'll see how many people have liked and viewed all of your reviews. You can also see likes and views on each individual review.How many online reviews is good? ›
Even just one review is great, but the more the merrier. Businesses who have 200 or more reviews have twice as much revenue compared to others. Average local business has 39 Google reviews. Hotels have an average of 309 reviews.How many people actually leave a review? ›
Around 81% of consumers say they've left a business review around four times a year or less. Only around 20% of customers say they've never left a business review. However, the vast majority of consumers are more likely to read reviews than leave them.How effective are customer reviews? ›
Online reviews are important because they help showcase your company's reputation, they increase sales and improve search rankings for your website. And get this—did you know that reviews influence 90% of potential customers better than a sales pitch?How many customers read reviews before buying? ›
12. As many as 89% of global customers read reviews before making a purchase. Customers like to make an effort and read a few online ratings and reviews before deciding whether or not they will spend their money on the item they're eyeing.What percentage of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? ›
79 percent of shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Google is the most popular online review platform. 59 percent of consumers use it to read reviews.How much do online reviews affect sales? ›
Based on data from the high-end gift retailer, we found that as products begin displaying reviews, conversion rates escalate rapidly. The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.What percentage of people check reviews? ›
Nearly every consumer now reads online reviews. 98% say they read online reviews at least “occasionally” while 77% say they read them “frequently” or “always.” The number of people who “never” read online reviews has decreased significantly, falling from 13% in 2020 to 2% in 2021.
All scores are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 as the highest rating.What is a good Google review score? ›
A study by the Spiegel Research Center determined that ratings of 4.2 - 4.5 are the most trusted. This is a great goal to aim for, and realistic as well. Mistakes happen in every business in every industry. It's a waste of time to stress over a single negative review or an unattainable perfect rating.What is a good number of reviews? ›
Review Quantity – According to an article by MarketWatch, 20-50 is enough reviews to prove a product has been tried by enough people. If you don't have many reviews now, this is a good starting goal because it will show potential customers that others have tried you.Do the number of reviews matter? ›
First things first: review quantity does indeed matter to shoppers. Our research found that 99% of consumers pay attention to the number of reviews available for a product, at least to some extent. So, how many reviews do shoppers want? In an ideal world, 43% indicate a given product should have more than 100 reviews.Why does the number of reviews matter? ›
Search engines generally notice when customers are talking about your business a lot. That's why the number of reviews is an indication of your business's credibility and reputation.What is missing in online reviews? ›
Find why a review is missing
In most cases, missing reviews were removed for policy violations like spam or inappropriate content. We do not reinstate reviews that were removed for policy violations. These removal measures help make sure that reviews on Google properties are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy.
Online reviews often make or break a product and major retailers and search engines show them in an attempt to help customers make the best choice, but research indicates many of them may be fake. An analysis which student 720 million reviews on Amazon, deemed 42-percent of them as fake or unreliable.Is it illegal to leave fake good reviews? ›
Is It Illegal to Write a Fake Review? Fake reviews are a violation of the terms of service of all business review sites. This means that any attempt to manipulate your brand reputation — or harm that of your competitors — through fake reviews can result in legal action against you.What makes a review successful? ›
Your review should be clear, constructive and consistent. Clarity is important because authors will not be able to respond to your concerns if they don't fully understand what they are. Reviews are most helpful if they don't just criticise, but also make constructive suggestions for how concerns may be resolved.How do reviews influence consumers? ›
Customers are more likely to purchase from a website that has customer reviews than a website that doesn't. Displaying reviews on your website gives potential customers more confidence in their purchasing decisions and reduces doubts, leading to a higher conversion rate.
- Post a link to a survey on social sites and blogs. ...
- A Facebook post autoresponder. ...
- A direct message ask for feedback. ...
- Social media contests. ...
- Instagram stories. ...
- Social monitoring.
- Step 1: Choose your feedback channels. There's a ton of different feedback channels out there. ...
- Step 2: Collate your feedback in one place. Export your feedback and collect all the raw data in one place (e.g. an Excel sheet). ...
- Step 3: Categorize your feedback.
Generally, positive comments tend to prompt consumers to generate emotional trust, increase confidence and trust in the product and have a strong persuasive effect. On the contrary, negative comments can reduce the generation of emotional trust and hinder consumers' buying intentions (Archak et al., 2010).How many reviews is good for a product? ›
Products are 270% more likely to sell with as few as five reviews—however, one study found that shoppers want to see at least 40 reviews to justify an average star rating. So, while you don't need a review from every single customer, the more you can secure, the better.What percentage of people review apps? ›
Seventy-nine percent of consumers check ratings and reviews before downloading an app, fifty-three percent check ratings and reviews before updating an app, and 55 percent check ratings and reviews before making an in-app transaction.What percent of people won't purchase from a business which has negative online reviews? ›
Consumers won't buy from brands that censor reviews.
Research by Trustpilot shows that as much as 62% of consumers say they won't support brands that engage in review censorship.
Negative reviews can seriously impact your business. Every time a negative review pops up on Google searches, you have the potential to lose customers. 86% of customers hesitate to purchase from companies with negative reviews. This will ultimately cost you web traffic and, of course, revenue.Which are three impacts of online reviews on business reputation? ›
Reviews produce an average of 18% increase in sales. 9% of consumers will call a business after reading positive reviews. 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to 10 reviews. 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation.Do reviews increase conversion? ›
Shoppers visiting web pages with 1-10 customer reviews are 52.2% more likely to buy than those who visit pages without any customer reviews. 50+ reviews for a product can contribute to a 4.6% spike in the particular product's conversion rate.Do people believe online reviews? ›
Although 91 percent of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, nine percent of people are pretty skeptical about online reviews and only trust a few reviews.
A 4.5-Star Rating is Just Right. According to online reviews statistics, 70% of people use rating filters when searching for businesses. The most common filter applied is to see only companies with 4-star ratings and higher.Is a 4-star Google review good? ›
4-star ratings are good, but 5-star ratings are better. If you're looking for the best possible rating, you should aim for 5 stars. However, 4-star ratings are still considered to be good.How many 5 star reviews do I need to negate a 1 star review? ›
Assuming that only one of every 10 happy customers leaves a positive five-star review, and knowing that it takes four five-star reviews to make up for each one-star review, you can figure it takes 40 positive customer experiences to make up for a single bad review.How many reviews does it take to get 5 stars on Google? ›
Google calculates a 5 star rating as the average of all reviews rounded to 0.1 stars. So 20 reviews averaging 4.15 stars would show a 4.2 star rating. How do you increase your Google review star rating?Is a 3 star Google review good? ›
A customer who leaves three stars in their feedback seems to be satisfied. However, there are also reasons why they didn't give four or five stars, and you can be glad it wasn't a one- or two-star review.What is the value of a 5 star Google review? ›
Users respect reviews
Users are generally pretty trusting of online reviews. And they can usually spot phonies pretty quickly as well – because there are people that pay for fake reviews. But in general, a bunch of really good 5 star reviews on a business listing is enough to get the user to pick up the phone and call.
The 5-star rating system allows respondents to rank their feedback on a 5-point scale from 1 to 5. The more stars that are selected, the more positively your customer is responding to your question.Do 1 star reviews matter? ›
Several one-star ratings are tanking your overall average, hindering your brand image, and damaging your rankings. With Google's changing algorithm, having negative reviews can only cause more problems.What percentage of reviews should you respond to? ›
Increasing your response rate is something you can do immediately to improve your online reputation score. Strive to respond to 100% of negative reviews and at least 20% response of positive reviews. Over time, set goals for maintaining these rates consistently and improving upon them.How many Google reviews make a difference? ›
Consumers research and read reviews before making purchase decisions. In fact, they read a minimum of 10 reviews before feeling confident in making a decision. The more Google customer reviews you have, the more likely a purchase is to be made. Google rewards businesses that have frequent and positive reviews.
An overwhelming majority of previous works find longer reviews to be more helpful than short reviews. In this paper, we propose that longer reviews should not be assumed to be uniformly more helpful; instead, we argue that the effect depends on the line of argumentation in the review text.How many Google reviews is enough? ›
For new businesses, a minimum of five reviews that are mostly positive can be enough to help your business engage more customers. Fewer than five, or no reviews at all, is not going to be as effective - if at all.How many online reviews do you need? ›
Reading just one review isn't going to generate trust, but it will give consumers the chance to judge your business. Notably, if a local business has 10 recent reviews, most consumers won't look any further for confirmation. So, your first benchmark should be generating 10 reviews on the most popular review websites.Why are reviews so powerful? ›
Positive reviews reassure potential customers that they can trust your brand, your products, or your services. The data backs this up. Up to 84% of consumers noted that reviews were important in their purchasing decisions.What percentage of people leave a review on Amazon? ›
The average review rate on Amazon is 1-2%. That means out of every 100 sales, you should expect 1-2 reviews. You should be able to aim for a 5% review rate, or one review every 20 sales. This is actually easier than you think, since most Amazon sellers do not have a strategy for getting reviews.How often do people leave reviews? ›
Most Americans Do Not Leave Reviews. Despite their impact on purchase decisions, most Americans do not leave product reviews on a regular basis. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, a full 38% “never” leave reviews on products and services.How much more likely are people to leave a negative review? ›
Customers who have a bad experience are twice to three times more likely to write an angry review than customers who had a great experience are to post a happy review. One negative review online (when not countered by positive reviews) can cost up to 30 new customers.What percentage of Amazon users leave reviews? ›
There are around 250 million reviews on Amazon. 82% of adults in America check reviews. Barely 17% of users fully trust reviews. Only just 3% to 10% of people actually write reviews.What is the average review rate on Amazon? ›
The average review rate for Amazon products is around 1-2%.
Meaning, every 100 sales you make, you should expect 1 or 2 reviews.
12. As many as 89% of global customers read reviews before making a purchase. Customers like to make an effort and read a few online ratings and reviews before deciding whether or not they will spend their money on the item they're eyeing.
The more competitive your category, the more reviews your product will need to compete against similar products. On the other hand, if your product is very niche, you may only need five to 25 reviews to be retail-ready. Amazon recommends at least 25 reviews for a listing before you start scaling advertising.Why do people trust online reviews? ›
So, customers trust these reviews because they allow them to gain even more knowledge about a business and its products or services, especially when that business isn't very transparent. 2. The second reason customers trust online reviews is that they rely on the opinions of others to influence what they should do.How frequently should reviews be done Why? ›
As a general rule, most companies conduct performance reviews every 3-6 months. This keeps employees' focused and motivated, and ensures feedback is relevant and timely. It is also beneficial as issues can be raised early and changes are made accordingly.How reviews affect consumer behavior? ›
Generally, positive comments tend to prompt consumers to generate emotional trust, increase confidence and trust in the product and have a strong persuasive effect. On the contrary, negative comments can reduce the generation of emotional trust and hinder consumers' buying intentions (Archak et al., 2010).How many people trust a business more after reading positive online reviews? ›
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Nearly 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company more if it has positive reviews. 60% of consumers say that negative reviews made them not want to use a business. 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before using a business.How many Amazon reviewers are there? ›
Out of 1.2 Million reviews, there are 510,434 distinct reviewers. Over 80% of the reviewers of Amazon electronics left only 1 review.Does Amazon check every review? ›
The quick answer is that every analysis does two simultaneous things: we analyze every single review posted and we review each reviewer and every review that reviewer has ever posted on that account. We take all that data and run it through our proprietary engine which grades everything and looks for patterns.Does Amazon delete negative reviews? ›
Yes! Amazon will delete customer reviews if they don't comply with their terms of service. However, the likelihood of Amazon deleting reviews is low. You need to write an email to the support team at email@example.com or report a review on the product details page.