The Importance of Online Reviews for Customer Engagement

 

To review or not to review? This dilemma has been on the minds of thousands of business owners in the past years. However, today’s always-online users don’t leave them much choice. If, on the one hand, word of mouth is still an option, online reviews is the real game changer for businesses wishing to attract and engage more customers. In 2014, BrightLocal examined how online reviews influence the attitudes of consumers toward local businesses and e-commerce sites. In fact, another survey from the same year showed that 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business, while only 12% do not read reviews. These numbers are increasing every year, showing that online reviews are probably going to be the most reliable source for customers to refer to before purchasing a product online.

Even though e-commerce is the most exposed industry when it comes to online reviews, these days reviews have become viral in many other fields. Here are three main industries that have embraced online reviews in the last years, thus allowing a remarkable increment in the number of consumers.

Travel

It all started with the stars rating system: on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 star being the lowest and 5 stars being the highest ranking you could give. Some hotels and resorts give their visitors an opportunity to rate their experience on their sites once their trip is over, using the 1-to-5 stars rating system.

The last years have seen a quick development in the ways in which consumers use technology and a notable increase in hospitality’s reviews as well. Today, the number of online tools used for reviews has dramatically increased and fostered travel agents and hotels, which use rating systems on a daily basis in order to build their business’ reliability and reputation.


The number of travel reviews sites has lately increased as well. From the well-known Expedia and TripAdvisor to smaller sites, customers are literally spoilt for choice and have become accustomed to receiving a high level of customer service wherever they go.

 

Food

Reviews are especially crucial when it comes to the food industry, mainly because a bad review can even lead to unpleasant consequences including a restaurant’s closure. That’s where sites like Yelp come into play, supplying users with thousands of daily reviews that help businesses grow and gain greater exposure as well as a positive reputation.

In an era where everyone can easily be a critic, and where consumers interest in healthier and more cosmopolitan foods is growing, restaurants face their biggest challenge yet to give consumers exactly what they’re looking for.

Some sites, including Zomato and Beirut, help you make reservations to the best reviewed restaurants out there. Users can search by “type of restaurant” or “location” and go over many different reviews from customers that have previously been at the restaurant and rated it. Other sites, like Nara Logics, can actually find you specific restaurants anywhere you want, based on your own personal preferences, based on the data you’ve entered into the site.

At the end of the day, the secret to owning or running a successful restaurant comes down to being able to take bad reviews into consideration and turn them into a positive review.

 

Online Shopping

Reviews take on a different meaning when it comes to e-commerce sites since users can only rate and review a specific product bought on that specific site. It is strongly recommended for e-commerce sites to keep a ‘review section’ for each product on sale. This can help the site in two ways. On the one hand, online reviews drive sales because customers feel more confident to buy a certain product that (hopefully) received many positive reviews. On the other hand, reviews increase customers’ engagement on the site because they keep coming back both to rate the purchased product and to look for opinions on the ones they intend to buy. Product reviews are also very important to any kind of business that wants to keep control of its online reputation.

Sites like Best Reviews provide users with detailed reviews on any product and then lead them to e-commerce sites where they can buy the product they want. In the same way Nara Logics uses data in order to help a user find what they’re looking for, this site is also able to identify a user’s personal preferences and direct him or her to the sites with the best suggestions for products they should buy.

Online reviewing has changed the ways in which marketing is done online. Reviews have enabled businesses to have active engagement with customers and to know exactly what products they’re interested in buying even before they know themselves. This might sound kind of creepy, but it actually is pretty beneficial for the customer since it can not only save them time, but money as well.

 

People have always been interested and influenced by other opinions, and they’ll always be. If you are either a travel agent, a restaurant owner or managing an e-commerce site, you should definitely try to embrace this new reviewing philosophy and use it to your advantage. After all, businesses have always been eager to know their customer’s opinion about their service or products. Today they don’t only have an opportunity to know what their clients are interested, satisfied or upset about, but they also have the ability to act consequently in a faster way than ever before. Today the ‘to review or not to review’ dilemma is not a real dilemma anymore.

About author:

Roberta Rottigni is a tech blogger passionate about Startups and Entrepreneurship. Italian-born, Israeli adopted she loves writing, cuddling with her sweet chihuahua and traveling, all while making sure she has a good book in her bag. Feel free to get in touch to learn more on Twitter

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