Here are some statistics to shake your brain; in 2017, roughly 87% of UK consumers shopped online and by 2040 it’s predicted that 95% of all our country’s purchases will be facilitated by eCommerce!
Yes, we’re a nation of sofa shoppers who prefer to scroll through Amazon and eBay over visiting crowded shopping centres. This shift has made our lives considerably easier; we can visit several retailers in quick succession, or even simultaneously, source the best deals and find unique items not on the high street.
However, it’s not all unicorns, cuddles and cashless transactions; there are some serious drawbacks of switching to digital. Just take a look at the following…
While these examples are hilarious, they’re indicative of the larger problem with online shopping; you can never be sure of a product’s authenticity. It’s a conundrum for both consumers and companies but there’s one sure way around it – include customer reviews on your website.
Parting with our hard-earned cash is a painful affair, especially when it’s for something we typically attach a lot of emotional value too, like a holiday or experience. To minimise disappointment, we’ll go out of our way to source as many details about a potential purchase before committing. However, these details MUST be unbiased.
There’s a general distrust of pushy advertising methods and company marketing materials; after all, brands have a vested interest in presenting their products and services in the best light. This is why reviews hold so much power – they’re honest (sometimes painfully so).
Reviews also help consumers counter choice fatigue. Take Netflix as an example; how many times have you scrolled through the platform looking for a film, only to give up after half an hour of browsing? Or cancelled dinner plans because you and your friends couldn’t choose a place to eat?
Well, reviews are the difference between someone spending their money and time on your business or walking away empty-handed. Users can quickly see how venues compare against one another on location, price and service, eliminating painful umming and ahhing.
Not convinced yet? Let’s look at the facts…
According to one source, 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a venue and 88% of people put reviews on par with personal recommendations! How does this translate to bookings? Well, customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent ratings.
All the evidence suggests reviews are imperative to your business’s success, so why are some companies frightened of them?
Obviously, nobody likes bad feedback (especially when it’s public). It can make or break a business and it’s a risk some aren’t willing to take. However, having no reviews is just as damaging to your reputation as having lots of one or two stars. It suggests you don’t want to engage with your customers and gives the impression you have something to hide.
What’s more, people don’t care about five-star reviews as much as you think. In fact, one insightful study discovered over 30% of users assume reviews are fake if they’re too positive.
People actively search out average ratings because they’re seen as genuine – consumers want to see your shortcomings. This isn’t a bad thing, if anything it helps to manage customer expectations.
Plus, if you never get feedback, how will you improve? Reviews are basically a free way to assess how well your business is performing! It’s a chance to locate weak points and make the way you operate even better.
What review sites should you use?
The simple answer? As many as applicable. As well as improving consumer trust, external discussions about your company have a positive impact on SEO. The more you get your name out there, the higher your website will rank on search engines.
TripAdvisor is essential for businesses that operate in the travel, entertainment or hospitality industries. Since it’s birth in 2000, over 350 million reviews, opinions, and photos have been posted.
Yelp specialises in restaurant and consumer type business reviews. It has more than 142 million people visit its website and mobile app each month. One study showed 93 per cent of Yelp users go on to purchase from a business they’ve researched on the site.
Google My Business and reviews on Google are one of the most significant ranking factors for local SEO. Setting up an account allows people to carry out local searches and find top-rated venues in a specific area.
Trustpilot is used to review any type of B2C business. According to them, installing a TrustBox on your website could improve sales conversions by up to 60 per cent.
Social media is often the first place customer’s go to learn more about a company. Around two-thirds of consumers value the opinion of friends, family and total strangers over a company’s own marketing material and 68% of users will head to a company’s social pages to read reviews before purchasing a product or service.
OpenTable has two functions; it allows diners to make restaurant reservations as well as leave reviews. According to its website, it seats more than 25 million diners per month via online reservations across more than 46,000 restaurants.
Which? and Reevoo: Which? is a product review platform that endeavours to raise the manufacturing standards of big companies. It’s one of the largest independent consumer bodies in the UK, boasting more than 1.5 million members. Similar to Which? Reevoo focuses on product ratings, particularly within the technology and home furnishing sectors.
Foursquare helps people discover the best places to eat, drink, shop, or visit anywhere in the world. A venue’s popularity is based on the number of mobile check-ins they receive as well as numerical ratings.
G2 Crowd is a platform for business software reviews. They pride themselves on transparency; instead of relying on vendor-supplied references when purchasing software, users can make decisions based on unbiased content. According to G2 Crowd, they generate more than 400,000 independent and authenticated user reviews each month.
TrustATrader was established in 2005 and allows consumers to rate the work of tradespeople or construction businesses. They fact check all tradesmen to ensure they have a minimum of two year’s experience in their field and are members of the relevant trade association.
It’s worth keeping up-to-date with what people are saying about your business on forums, like Reddit, Mumsnet and Quora. Through user conversations, companies can identify trends in consumer thinking.
Rubber Cheese case study
We can help your business get to grips with reviews – just like we did for Malt Whisky Distilleries. You can view their website at www.maltwhiskydistilleries.com.
Our lead developer, Liam, says:
“Installing Trip Advisor reviews is relatively simple as they provide us with access to a widgets page (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Widgets). From here you can search for any business that’s listed on Trip Advisor, it will then take you to a page listing widgets specifically for that business. We then just grab the embed code for the required widget and install on the website. Easy peasy!”