In the digital era, customer reviews have transformed from word-of-mouth to extensive, in-depth online reviews where consumers are by no means shy to share their opinions.

The growth of social media has birthed a whole new space for consumers to review products, almost like a community. Think about it, if you get terrible service or are unhappy with a product, the first place you will go to complain about is social media.

And it seems as if consumers are just as interested in reading reviews as they are in writing them, especially when considering that 68% of Internet users will go straight to a business’s social media profile to read reviews.

As for consumers, they seek out reviews because they help them gather more information about a product before they make a purchase.

This helps them to build trust in prospective brands, and to filter out those that have negative write-ups, and thus, what they presume to be a bad reputation. It all boils down to the importance of trust when it comes to consumers’ buying decisions.

How do customer reviews impact your business?

Customer reviews truly can make or break a business. Simply put, good reviews lead to more business and sales because your brand reputation is strong, while negative ones can lead to your brand taking a serious hit. Think about if a restaurant had multiple one-star ratings online: consumers would be reluctant to eat there.

Positive reviews are something you would always want to achieve as a brand because the more write-ups your product or service receives, the more likely it is that your brand will build up a good reputation and start gaining attention from new consumers.

This is proven as online reviews influence nearly nine out of 10 consumers when making a buying decision.

Aside from helping you to build a positive brand image, reviews can impact business in many other ways. Namely, this feedback from customers allows your brand to learn from their audience, and make improvements or tweaks to their product to cater to the consumer.

Taking these ratings and using them to improve your product or service will keep your audience engaged as it proves to them that your brand is willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

Taking your consumer’s feedback into account makes your audience feel heard. This could help you to improve customer retention and it gives you the opportunity to capitalise on the marketing power that vocal, satisfied customers bring.

Lastly, customer write-ups can help your brand to gain visibility and up its SEO rankings. This is because positive reviews indicate to Google that your business or product is credible and of high quality.

How do you get customer reviews?

High volumes of reviews won’t just appear overnight; they take some work on your business's behalf to gather.

You can get your customers to write reviews using the following methods:

Ask your customers

This may seem obvious, but asking a customer who has had a positive experience with your brand to write a review is the first step in building up your repertoire. It is also key that you train your employees on the best practices to garner reviews and why they are valuable for business. 

Consider offering incentives

A great way to get customers to leave a review is by offering them incentives, like a coupon or a discount. Ensure that you are transparent and that you’re not trying to buy reviews — you’re just trying to encourage them to give feedback by incentivising them.

Send emails post sale

After you finalise a transaction with a client, ask them to review the process. This can easily be done with surveys or with an email asking them to give feedback on your platforms. 

Once you establish how to get these write-ups and ratings, you can leverage them. You can do this by promoting any positive reviews on your business’s website and using any not-so-positive feedback to grow.

As a consumer, do you read reviews before making a purchase? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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*Image courtesy of Vecteezy