Do Consumers Use Online Reviews?

Today, it’s never been easier for individual consumers to voice their opinions about businesses. That means it’s never been easier for people to read those reviews, too.

And before almost every consumer makes a purchase, that’s what they do — read reviews.

Whether they’re talking on Facebook or leaving reviews on Yelp, you can bet your current and past customers are leaving reviews for your potential customers somewhere. And depending on where that is, you may even be in a position to respond to them, too.


Because consumers leave a lot of reviews, and a lot of people read them before they buy something.

Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about online reputation management plans from WebFX, or keep reading to learn more about why monitoring and responding to customer reviews is so important.

The stats you should know

In order to get an idea of just how important customer reviews are, we’ll check out a few key stats.

  •  80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, 88% of consumers read up to 10 reviews before buying something, and 100% of consumers would use a business if it had a 5-star rating on Google. (Bright Local)
  •  Consumers are twice as likely to buy something after reading reviews, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see good and bad scores, and bad reviews can actually improve conversions by 67%. (Econsultancy)
  •  Local or independent restaurants are most affected by reviews, chain businesses are unaffected by reviews, and each rating star on Yelp translates to a 5% to 9% change in revenue. (Harvard Business Review)

Basically, it’s safe to say that consumers use online reviews.

How these reviews affect your business

From our data above, it’s clear that reviews don’t affect every business the same way.

The businesses that are most vulnerable to reviews appear to be local, independent restaurants. The businesses that are least vulnerable to reviews appear to be large chain stores.

However, different reviews also appear to have different effects.

Positive reviews will obviously help your company, but only to a point. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when there’s a mix of good and bad, which means two out of every three people suspect companies may write positive reviews about themselves to earn more business.

Bad reviews can hurt your company, but maybe not as much as you’d think. In fact, bad reviews that accompany good ones can actually increase your conversion rate by 67%, likely because they show users that the other reviews are genuine.

But regardless of the stats you’re using, the bottom line remains the same — your customers write online reviews, and your potential customers read them.

Encouraging online reviews

Although they are largely out of your control, you should take steps to use online reviews to your advantage. You have a number of different options at your disposal if you want to do this, and a several of them are quick fixes that can have great results.

First, you can display the Yelp logo with a link to your profile on your site to encourage people to leave a review. Avoid placing it on high-conversion pages since that may encourage visitors to leave your site before making a purchase, but it’s a helpful reminder on thank-you pages, confirmation pages, and even homepages.

Then, claim your business on other review sites and local listings. This allows you to update information that may not be accurate, and also reply to criticism or compliments. And it’s important to remember that both criticism and compliments require replies — they show your happy customers that you appreciate their business.

You could also add the Yelp logo to your emails and ask for reviews with a brief call to action. The best emails to do this are confirmation or thank-you emails that follow a conversion, allowing you to get a satisfied customer’s review right off the bat.

Last, you can have your customer service reps ask for reviews when they’re done speaking with customers. Whether they’re fixing a customer’s problem or helping them find information, everyone appreciates a helping hand, especially when it’s quick, accurate, and easy.

Never pay for reviews

If you want to encourage online reviews, you might think that the best way to do it is with money. After all, everyone could use a couple extra bucks now and then.

But financial incentives are a terrible idea for encouraging reviews. In fact, a lot of review sites — including Yelp — will publicly reveal that they caught you paying for reviews. They’ll post a notice on your company’s page, and they might even offer to show consumers the evidence so they can decide for themselves.

This might sound intimidating, but Yelp and other consumer awareness sites have to go to great lengths to make sure the reviews on their site are legitimate. Otherwise, they’d lose their users’ trust, and then they’d be out of business.

So if you want to ask people to create reviews about your business, you definitely can — but paying for them simply won’t work in your favor.

WebFX works with consumer reviews every day

WebFX is a full-service Internet marketing company, and that means our team of marketing specialists works with customer reviews every day. We help our clients get reviews that grow their businesses and respond to any unhappy feedback, so they can continue getting new customers day after day. And we can do the same for you!

Contact us today to start using consumer reviews to grow your business!