In Strangers We Trust: The Power of Online Customer Reviews

Reviews are arguably the most powerful tool that can make or break products and companies in this day and technological age. How often do you as a consumer ignore the 1 star warning of a potential product and continue to purchase anyway? The days of the high street are nearing an end, as are the days of trawling through many different shops to find the best price and product. now it’s all done online. But with this comes a risk in that we take the word of complete strangers about a product, we can’t physically see or touch it until it has been delivered.


Value Of Reviews


E-commerce today is extremely reliable on great customer reviews and comments, and happy customers will lead to new potential customers. This has always been true to an extent, even before the internet people wanted goods others had bought and were pleased with. However in an online presence, the seller has no real input until the customer has opened the port of communication. A staggering 88% of consumers state that they wholeheartedly trust online reviews, and would not bother trying a product with a negative review. This shows how valuable the online review has become. It is almost as if by reading these reviews, we are metaphorically finding the products’ great utilities and its flaws all by ourselves.


Impact Of Reviews


Now of course, by the time a consumer is reading the reviews of a product, they have already decided they need a product for a certain task, have selected some goods that are likely to fulfil this task, and are at the final hurdle of deciding which product to go for. This makes it pivotal for businesses to ensure that their products are receiving extremely high reviews and praise, otherwise the customer will instantly look at the other options available with possibly kinder reviews. Many consumers also state that even a business with good reviews, not necessarily excellent reviews, are much more appealing these days than those that don’t utilise a review system. In essence customer reviews have become increasingly influential in e-commerce, and are needed to win points over your rivals.


Customer Expectations


In reality, all customers are now expecting to see some kind of online review system in place whenever they visit a website to purchase any good or service. According to Yodle Insights, as much as 40% of consumers expect to see reviews when looking for products or services. By not implementing an online review system for your business in this day and age, you are potentially losing customers since many will not even consider purchasing an item without at least one or two reviews from previous buyers. Many companies have even began to offer sweepstakes for prizes for all that submit a review for recent purchases, as they know the power of an online reputation. On the other side of the coin, as consumers we would be foolish not to take heed of online reviews. They are there for free for us to read and examine, and can potentially save us from making a terrible purchasing mistake.


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