impact of low ratings and poor reviews on consumer behaviour

Kevin Lopez | 14/09/15

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Your brand is primarily driven by your reputation; and if your reputation suffers, you lose business.

One of the first things that searchers see when looking for your business is the reviews associated with your brand. Google glaringly displays user reviews in local search packs to provide users with an easy and convenient way of finding businesses based on their local search query.

Findings of the Local Consumer Review Survey, 2015, by BrightLocal revealed that 92 percent of American consumers read online customer reviews to determine whether a certain local business is good to work with.

So, even if you show up on the first search engine results page and your reviews show a low rating, it will affect consumer perception, causing you to lose a lot of visitors to competitors with better ratings. Nobody wants to deal with businesses that have bad reviews, and they certainly have no intention of making a major purchase from a brand with a low overall rating. 

More insight on consumer behaviour

The Report by BrightLocal also revealed that 33 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses on a regular basis, 59 percent do so occasionally, while only 8 percent don’t read online reviews. Whether accessed via a desktop or mobile device, these reviews affect the purchasing decision for around 73 percent of consumers, because most of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, if they believe the review is authentic and genuine.

Findings from another report by PowerReviews exploring the nuances of how shoppers use ratings and reviews revealed that consumers prefer to conduct their shopping via channels that make product information, including reviews and ratings, easily accessible. If mobile apps or e-commerce sites, for instance, lack the product details that consumers require to confidently buy an item or service, they will search elsewhere until they find a company they can trust.

As such, vendors risk losing prospective clients to competitors availing the information. As the retail industry increasingly becomes omni-channel, vendors should incorporate reviews and ratings are every touch point.

Impact of product reviews on shoppers

As consumers are turning to new channels in search for reviews, their information consumption patterns are also changing. Shoppers should be able to find the information they need about a certain product with minimal effort.

Most shoppers prefer to read between 2 and 6 online reviews before they feel they can trust a certain business, and so they need that information to be presented in a format that is easy to scan. In addition, shoppers are looking for some negative reviews to validate the reviews and trustworthiness of that website.

The process of leaving a review should be as simple as finding and consuming other reviews. It is rather surprising that only about 50 percent of consumers remember to leave a review, yet more than 80 percent rely on others reviews to make purchase decisions. So, vendors should take an active role and ask their customers to leave reviews.

One way to do this is to send automated emails to customers as a follow up for any issues they may have, while politely asking them to leave a review. This is a great way to build your reputation and build trust with your consumers. Also, respond to any negative reviews so prospective customers see that your business handles complaints seriously, and that you strive to improve.


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