We now have a generation of smart shoppers that only buy goods or services after checking the online reviews. Regardless of how the manufacturer endorses their products, the smart shopper does not fall for gimmicks. Either they check crowd-sourced online review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor or organic reviews from customers before making any kind of decision.

Smart shoppers have ready access to computers, tablets, and smartphones, so they don’t often make a purchase without first being convinced by positive reviews. Negative reviews, on the other hand, can do pretty significant damage to a product’s sales because a large percentage of online shoppers will avoid visiting websites and refuse to buy products that have negative reviews. Simply put, a business with an online presence cannot survive if it gets negative reviews repeatedly from its customers.

Online Reviews

(Pixabay / athree23)

The following are some ways that positive reviews can influence your business:

Improve SEO and Visibility

Even just being on popular business review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor can boost a business’ ranking in the search engines. The search engines, particularly Google, favor businesses with an online presence in the review sites. When people on reputable review sites take the time to leave feedback about your business, your SEO rankings tend to be higher. And higher rankings mean more customer views.

Provide Social Proof

Your business gets the social proof it needs when there are plenty of customers giving positive reviews. Potential customers are better convinced to buy your product when they read other customers’ positive endorsements.

One way to increase the number of positive reviews for your product is by getting in touch with recent customers and offering them incentives toward future purchases upon completion of an online review.

Influence Buyer Decision-Making

Gone are the days when consumers would simply read product details and make their purchase decisions. Online reviews are just as important of a feature for most consumers.  And they don’t just want written feedback; they also want to see an excellent star rating in tandem with user comments.

Increase Revenue

Online reviews have been proven to impact a business’ bottom line. Brands that are heavily endorsed by positive reviews tend to have better sales than the competition. Improving a brand’s star rating within the review sites has been shown to prompt a corresponding increase in sales.

Build a Communication Link

The review section of your website becomes a communication link between you and your customers. You are expected to reply to your customer’s reviews, whether positive or negative, and the review platform makes it easy for you to do this. Your customers will feel part of your company if you treat them as such in your reply. This will strengthen the business-customer relationship and pave the way for the development of customer loyalty to your brand.

Note that the impact of a negative review can be significantly mitigated if you take the time to address that review. The affected customer, plus many online shoppers to follow, can see your heartfelt apology for gaffes in product quality or customer service and your efforts to make things right.

Online reviews can make or break your business. Smart sellers learn quickly to use them to their advantage.

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