Why Businesses Should Care About Positive Online Reviews
Over the past decade or so, the surge of social media and other online platforms has made buying and selling products easier than ever before. The revolution of technology has allowed local businesses to reach national customers and national businesses to reach global customers they would never be able to find offline. However, simply having an online presence does not guarantee success in reaching new customers. A major key to online business success is getting positive reviews from customers. This article will explore a few of the reasons why positive online reviews are so important for business success in online markets.
The first reason positive online reviews are important is because they are the Internet equivalent of word of mouth advertising. When deciding which product to buy or which store to purchase from, a potential customer’s decision is often influenced by the reviews they read. A brand or product with mostly positive reviews is going to appeal to consumers a lot more than a product with negative or mixed reviews. Jonathan Osler also warns that even if reviews are mostly positive, one or two negative customer experiences might be all it takes for someone to decide against making a purchase.
Positive online reviews are also important when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Along with several other factors, having positive online reviews helps search engines like Google and Yahoo determine where to rank companies and products within displayed search results. This means websites or stores with higher ratings and more reviews are more likely to appear at the top of the search results page, while companies with fewer positive reviews might not even appear on the first page. Jonathan Osler recognizes being at or near the top of the first page of search results is important, because consumers are more likely to click on links and shop at stores near the top of the list.
Another way positive online reviews helps businesses is by making them appear reliable and reputable. When customers come across an online store that has only a couple reviews, this might be seen as a red flag even if those reviews are positive. On the other hand, a company with hundreds of reviews that are mostly positive indicates positive and legitimate customer experiences. In determining reputability, potential customers may put stock in the overall star rating rather than reading individual reviews. For example, a customer might choose one product over another, because it has an average rating of four stars even if the product with a higher rating has fewer reviews.
Consumers may also be positively influenced by a company’s willingness to read and respond to customer reviews. When managers or employees respond to customer reviews, it makes them feel like the company actually cares about and values their opinions. This not only allows businesses to build long lasting relationships with returning customers, but it also may lead to an increase in positive reviews and the ability to reach a wide range of new customers and markets.