Reviews are a driving force that inspires online shoppers to click “add to cart.” That’s why startups and small businesses cannot afford to overlook the power and value of positive customer reviews.

A December 2021 report by reviewtrackers compiles online review statistics and trends and highlights the value online shoppers place on reviews. The study also notes that both positive and negative reviews affect the way consumers view a particular product, brand or service.

One key finding from the study showed that consumers do not trust businesses with ratings lower than four stars. In fact, in many instances, buyers use filters that block businesses from their searches if they have less than a four-star rating. 

Online shoppers value reviews more than you may realize. Find out why online review strategies can make or break your business. #customers Click To Tweet

The message here is clear: reviews matter and good reviews drive business.

Reviews Help Your Brand Stand Out

If you want to distinguish your product or services from the competition, good reviews can tip the scale. Because so many consumers search for brands based on reviews, businesses today cannot afford to ignore the impact of positive reviews.

Consumer reviews do more than just help your product line stand out: they add fresh content to your website, which helps bring your pages up higher in the search engines, making your brand easier to find. 

Good or Bad, Answer Your Reviews

Consumers notice when businesses ignore their comments. Whether you are receiving rave product reviews or being spammed by negative comments, startups should do their best to respond to them. Ignoring negative comments will not make them disappear and may further upset the poster. If the online conversation gets too contentious, take it offline to settle the matter.

Online shoppers pay attention to how business owners respond to criticism. A company that tries to make amends or hear out its customers is more likely to have return shoppers than one that ignores complaints as if they do not exist. Business owners should look at negative reviews as a learning opportunity and try to figure out ways to make the next customer experience better. 

Savvy business owners also respond to positive online reviews because it is a chance to build rapport with customers. Acknowledging favorable comments with a quick “thank you” is a sure-fire way to get repeat business.

Pandemic Boosted Review Interaction

According to reviewtrackers, review interaction is up 50 percent from pre-pandemic levels. That means more shoppers are spending more time online reading reviews to help them decide what to purchase. This is more reason businesses must pay attention to their product reviews and respond to the comments.

“It’s one of the many signs demonstrating consumers’ heightened sensitivity about where to go, what to purchase, and which businesses to support in the wake of the pandemic,” reviewtrackers points out.

Here are four additional takeaways from the reviewtrackers’ study that can help your customer review strategy:

1. Most reviews are short: They typically run the length of an expanded Tweet.

2. Companies are slow to respond 53 percent of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. Only 1/3 respond in three days or less.

3. Faster is perceived as better: Companies that respond to reviews faster are viewed more positively.

4. The most important review factors: 1) Star rating, 2) Legitimacy 3) Recency 4) Sentiment, 5) Quantity.

For many startups, managing interactions with customer reviews takes time that small companies just don’t have. Reach out to Red Banyan’s PR experts to help your team monitor and create a strategy for responding to both positive and negative customer reviews.

Need help with reviews? Not sure how to respond? Red Banyan’s team of public relations specialists can provide the guidance you need to take your company to the next level. Contact Red Banyan for advice today!