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How Reviews are Driving Consumer Choices

Do the stars really matter?

By Abigail Thorpe

Think back to the last time you were looking for a new restaurant or considered purchasing an item online. Did you stop at the first restaurant you came across, or “add to bag” the first item that fit your search? Odds are no, you probably searched for the average rating of the business or product, and then went a step beyond to read reviews. And you’re not alone.

Ninety-five percent of shoppers now read reviews before purchasing, and 93 percent of local consumers are looking to reviews before considering visiting a local business. What does this mean for your business? Not only do you need to have updated, accurate business information online, you need to have reviews—and good ones.

In the modern online age of shopping for products or services, your online business presence is the difference between a sale and possibly losing a customer forever. Seventy-two percent of consumers won’t take action until they’ve read an online review, so if your business doesn’t have them, you could potentially be losing out on almost three quarters of potential customers. In fact, displaying a good rating and reviews can increase conversion rates by 270 percent.

Reviews are conditional, however. You need positive reviews—but not ones that are unbelievably good—and you need to have at least five or more reviews to look legitimate and drive potential sales. Consumers want to see a four star rating or above and positive reviews, but those reviews can look fake if they’re all overwhelmingly positive or five stars—consumers want to read reviews that are real and honest.

Next to one-on-one recommendations and original research, product and service reviews are the most important marketing tool to attract potential customers. If your business needs a helping hand when it comes to your digital presence, Rocket Fish Digital can help—it’s our expertise, after all!

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