Consumer reviews can make or break brands and retailers

  • Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017) 
  • 94% of customers read online reviews (Fan and Fuel, 2016)
  • 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad (BrightLocal, 2017)
  • 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews (Testimonial Engine)

How important are customer reviews to shoppers? Very important, as it turns out. The fact is, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

ReviewTrackers does a survey each year to see why, and how consumers are using online reviews. The main trends from 2018’s survey:

1. Google is the review site of choice. 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.

2. Consumers expect brands to respond to reviews—and are disappointed. 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. But 63 percent say that a business has never responded to their review. 

3. Negative reviews drive away customers. 94 percent say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.

4. Customers don’t really trust businesses with lower than 4-star ratings. 80 percent of consumers say the star ratings they trust the most are 4.0, 4.5, and 5 stars.

5. Reviews are increasingly at play in financial services and insurance. Last year, only 13 percent of consumers said they were likely to leave a review after a positive experience at a bank. This year, that number jumped up to 19 percent. A similar trend is happening in insurance: last year, only 14 percent said they were likely to leave a review after a positive experience with an insurance agent. This year, that number rose to 18 percent.

Statistics show that the majority of all online shoppers use reviews to determine what products to buy and which services to purchase. In 2017, customers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business; an increase from six in the previous year. And with more than 90% of all customers using online reviews as part of their research at the local and national level, the easier question would be: Who isn’t reading them?

Consumer reviews can make or break brands and retailers