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We all know ratings and reviews are important. While they’ve only been around for about two decades, it’s hard to imagine shopping without them. According to consumer research we conducted of 30,000+ global shoppers, the majority (88%) of shoppers use reviews to discover and evaluate products.

From food and beverage and apparel, to health and beauty and hardware, to everything in between, reviews play a crucial role in the buying process

At Bazaarvoice, ratings and reviews are the center of our business. And with a network of over 12,500 brand and retailer sites to support, we undertake a lot of research to understand the value of reviews for businesses and their customers.

Here’s some of our takeaways that prove the power of ratings and reviews, based on some of our latest research.

Ratings and reviews impact everything from sales to SEO

Shoppers are leaving more reviews now than ever. Across our network last year, the number of reviews submitted increased nearly 11% year-over-year. We found that when shoppers engaged with reviews on best-in-class sites (the top 25% of our clients), there was a 144% lift in conversion rate.

But not only are shoppers converting more readily on pages with reviews, they’re also spending more money. The lift in revenue per visitor among shoppers engaging with reviews was 162% last year. 

Ratings and reviews creates a great avenue for us to get current content on our site and bring attention to our product. That helps us to rank higher in search results and get found better.

UX analyst, CPG

Increasing your sales and profits aren’t the only thing that reviews can improve in your business. Brands and retailers we’ve talked to say that reviews have an impact far beyond the product page. According to those we surveyed for our 2019 Shopper Experience Index, over half (52%) said they help increase brand loyalty, 53% cited a positive impact on in-store sales, and 63% said that they improve search engine optimization (SEO).

Global brand Petco, for example, launched a sampling campaign to collect more reviews and increase SEO impact. The campaign led to a 405% increase in review volume, which meant a:

  • 67% increase in number of pages ranked organically
  • 140% increase in impressions from organic search
  • 80% increase in clicks from organic search
  • 48% increase in revenue per visit for sampled products

Ratings and reviews help shoppers make confident purchases

Rating and reviews are the number one online feature shoppers rely on when making informed product decisions faster, more so than product page descriptions, chat bots, and the website’s search tool.

Source: Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index 2022

But consumers aren’t just using them online. According to research commissioned by Bazaarvoice from Deloitte and Touche LLP, a vast majority (82%) of shoppers research products online before going in-store, and over a third read a product’s reviews on their mobile phones while looking at the same product in-store.  

Our research found that shoppers often turn to ratings and reviews when they’re in the final stages of their decision making process to help them choose your product. In fact, 70% of shoppers often or always look at available reviews, and 60% of shoppers often or always look at customer photos.

This not only helps them feel more confident in their decision but can also change how much they’re willing to spend. We also found that half of shoppers have been influenced by reviews to buy a more expensive product than planned.

You may be surprised to learn that it isn’t just positive reviews that consumers find helpful. Over half (60%) say negative reviews are just as important in their decision to buy. The majority (62%) say it’s because they contain more pros and cons than positive reviews.

But when browsing your reviews, shoppers are most likely to be influenced by a high number of reviews (46%), followed by star rating (42%) when making a buying decision. Shoppers who usually don’t read reviews say they would like to see more reviews from people like them and more customer photos.

Having reviews displayed on your site is a great first step to winning over your customers, but don’t forget step two — responding to reviews. About a third of shoppers expect businesses to publicly respond to their reviews, regardless of whether their review is positive or negative. Almost half (48%) say brands responding to reviews improves their odds of buying the product. 

Reviews improve your brand’s trustworthiness

Brand trust is one of the most valuable assets a business can have in today’s retail landscape. Almost all (82%) of shoppers won’t buy from a brand they don’t trust, and 62% of shoppers choose products based on a brand’s reputation. One way to build consumer trust is by handing over the mic to their fellow peers to help advocate for your brand. Over three quarters (78%) of shoppers trust reviews, even more than family and friend recommendations.

It’s not as simple as just displaying reviews, you have to ensure that they are authentic. If shoppers suspect a product to have fake reviews:

  • 36% wouldn’t buy the product
  • 28% wouldn’t trust the brand
  • 27% wouldn’t trust the site’s other reviews
  • 25% wouldn’t purchase from the website
  • 18% said all of the above

The number one factor that makes consumers suspicious that a product has fake reviews is seeing multiple reviews with similar wording (55%). That is followed by review content not matching the product (49%), bad grammar/misspellings (36%), and an overwhelming amount of five star/positive reviews (35%).

As consumers have become more skeptical of marketing and advertising practices as a whole, they’re constantly evaluating product reviews to look for red flags.

Reviews contain insights about products, processes, and purchasers

Ratings and reviews are an invaluable source of feedback. Consumer reviews can help surface issues with products, shed light on new use cases, and inform product innovations. Shoppers want to see businesses use their reviews, both positive (25%) and negative (38%), to make product improvements.

We have countless stories from our clients about ways they have improved their products and processes based on the feedback they’ve received from customer reviews. In fact, 72% of our clients use UGC to improve customer service, 66% use UGC to improve products, and 50% use UGC to improve marketing tactics and messaging.

Don’t underestimate how important ratings and reviews are

While some might think it’s difficult to quantify the importance of ratings and reviews, the above statistics prove their power.

There’s a variety of ways that they are useful, both for businesses and their customers. And not only are ratings and reviews absolutely necessary to today’s consumers during the purchasing process, companies are missing out on sales, profits, and priceless information without them.

A recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study of Bazaarvoice revealed that Bazaarvoice clients see a 38% profit increase from authentic ratings and reviews.

 

Learn more about how important ratings and reviews are here. Or find out how to choose the right ratings and reviews provider for your business below.

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