By now, reviews are a part of daily life for most consumers. They consult this content when shopping for new products, considering which businesses to visit, choosing a mobile app to download, and even when considering a new job – not to mention myriad other situations.
In fact, our recent survey on the role of user-generated content (UGC) found that 74% of consumers indicate reviews are an important factor when making purchase decisions.
What’s more, the survey found that reviews are even more impactful on purchase behavior than other factors including word of mouth. In other words, consumers place more weight on reviews from those they don’t know than recommendations from those they do know!
Many brands understand that consumers want reviews – and so they provide them. Of course, meeting customer expectations is reason enough to collect and display reviews. After all, consumers have more choices than ever before, and they won’t hesitate to switch to a different brand if yours isn’t giving them what they want (in this case, reviews).
The extra bonus for brands and retailers is that collecting and displaying reviews is actually proven to impact one of the most important metrics: conversion rates.
How do reviews (and what you do with those reviews) impact conversion? Read on to find out.
The Risk of Having No Reviews
Before we discuss how the presence of reviews can positively impact conversion, let’s take a step back and explore how a lack of reviews can negatively impact conversion.
We know a large portion of consumers are actively seeking out reviews. What happens when they come up short? Not surprisingly, they’re less likely to follow through with a given purchase. A PowerReviews survey found that a staggering 80% of consumers indicate they’re less likely to buy a product if there are no reviews.
Clearly, brands must make it a priority to collect reviews – or lose customers.
The Presence of Reviews Increases Conversion
It’s clear consumers won’t hesitate to forgo a purchase if they can’t find reviews. But what happens if they do find reviews for products they’re considering?
They’re more likely to follow through with a purchase. According to a recent analysis from PowerReviews, there’s a 76.7% lift in conversion when consumers are exposed to at least one review, compared to those exposed to none.
Previous PowerReviews analysis also found that there’s an even higher conversion lift when consumers interact with reviews in certain ways. For example, those who filter to see only reviews with a certain star rating convert at a rate that’s 111.8% higher than average. And those who use the review search box convert at a rate that’s 202.9% than the average site visitor.
Why do reviews have such a profound impact on conversion? Well, when a consumer is shopping online, they’re taking a risk. They don’t have the opportunity to try out a product in-store before deciding to buy it. Sure, they can read product descriptions and check out brand-supplied photos as a first step toward finding the products that’ll best fit their needs.
But when they read reviews, they have the opportunity to find out firsthand which products have (and haven’t) worked well for others like them. Insights from other shoppers boost their confidence – and the chances that they’ll follow through with a purchase.
The More Reviews, the Larger the Conversion Impact
“Review volume remains incredibly important to consumers. There is no optimal number when it comes to review volumes: it depends on the site, product and category. However, considering web visitors exposed to 5,000+ reviews convert at a rate that’s 296.2% higher than those exposed to no reviews, it really is a case of the more the merrier.”
– Andrew Smith VP of Marketing at PowerReviews
Reviews can have a pretty remarkable impact on conversion. But is a single review enough to boost conversion?
Sure, even a single review will positively impact conversion. But the brands that see the biggest impact are those that collect an especially high volume of reviews.
As we mentioned earlier, PowerReviews found there’s a 76.7% lift in conversion when visitors to a brand site are exposed to at least one review. That’s impressive enough. But the report goes on to say that the more reviews a person is exposed to, the greater the lift in conversion.
Shoppers who are exposed to an extremely high quantity of reviews – more than 5,000 – convert at a rate that’s nearly 3X that of those exposed to no reviews!
If you’re just getting started with reviews, don’t be discouraged. After all, it’s clear even a few reviews can have a powerful impact on conversion. However, if you’ve been collecting reviews for a while, rest assured that consistently collecting a high volume of reviews is well worth the effort.
Responding to Reviews Can Boost Shopper Confidence – and Conversion
Hearing about the great experiences of others can give shoppers the confidence they need to convert. So it makes sense that the presence of reviews positively impacts conversion.
But what about when a shopper comes across a negative review? Is this content bound to sink your conversion rate?
mNegative reviews certainly have the power to impact purchase decisions. Our own research found that 78% of consumers have changed their mind about buying a product after reading a negative review.
However, reading a negative review or two doesn’t guarantee a shopper will pass up a product. And it’s backed by data. A PowerReviews analysis found that shoppers who filter to only see one-star reviews still end up converting at a rate that’s 108.8% higher than average.
Why? Because negative reviews are actually a really helpful, important tool for shoppers. Consumers know that realistically, a single product can’t be the right fit for every single person. Negative reviews help shoppers understand the very worst outcome of purchasing a product. If the worst-case scenario isn’t important or relevant to the shopper, they’re still likely to buy it.
In addition, there’s something brands can do to lessen the negative impact of a bad review even more: respond to it. Our own research found that 73% of consumers say they’d reconsider a product with a negative review if there was a sufficient response from the brand or manufacturer.
It’s essential to have a process in place to respond to negative reviews – quickly. Doing so is a great way to resolve issues and win back the trust of unhappy customers. What’s more, future shoppers will see that you take negative reviews seriously and care about your customers. And your thoughtful response might just be enough to make them overlook a few bad reviews and follow through with a purchase.
Start Boosting Conversion Rates by Collecting Reviews – and Responding to Them
Reviews have become an important resource for consumers, regardless of what they’re shopping for. And the presence (or absence) of this content has the power to impact one of the most important metrics you measure: conversion.
Make 2022 the year you maximize conversion rates by collecting plenty of ratings and reviews. Not sure how? Have a look at our partners at PowerReviews.
Once you do, respond to this feedback as quickly as possible. Find out how PowerReviews and 1440’s Reputation Studio integration empowers brands to manage and respond to reviews written across all channels – all within a single platform.