Hot or not? Your online reviews will give you clues
Consumers trust what their peers say about your business, your product, your service, more than they trust you.
If you haven’t looked at consumer reviews of your product or service lately, better man-up and face your public: Negative consumer reviews might explain why no matter how much you’ve spent on marketing, redesigning your Web site, or tweaking your prices, business has been flatter than week-old roadkill.
Customers are kings, queens, and executioners in 2008.
Not only are they looking for peer reviews right on the sites they visit, they use “social shopping” communities that allow for interactive, peer-driven product reviews to decide whom to trust. Sites such as:
The Zagat Survey of restaurant review fame recently partnered with the WellPoint insurance benefits company to start a Web site dedicated to reviewing doctors. It should be up this month. According to WellPoint’s press release, the online survey tool will allow consumers to review their doctors in the areas of trust, communication, availability, and environment.
The yelp.com Web site already provides health and medical reviews, right beside those for restaurants, shops, food, services, education, even religious organizations in about 200 cities.
What does all this mean for you? Listen to the 1,200 consumers the e-tailing group surveyed in late 2007:
- 93% said they are likely to start their shopping on a Web site that offers Social Navigation (a.k.a. consumer reviews/ratings).
- 86% said reviews are very or extremely important to their final decision.
- 82% found reading reviews better than researching a product in-store with a knowledgeable sales associate.
- 81% used customer reviews to decide between two or three products or to confirm that their final selection is the right one.
- 78% spent more than 10 minutes in the review reading process.
- 76% were more likely to shop on a retailer’s Website vs. their competitor’s site if it offers social navigation.
- 65% of shoppers say they always read reviews before deciding what to buy and whom to buy it from.
- 64% of those shoppers spent at least half their time conducting online research before making a purchase.
Source: 2007 “Social Shopping Study,” e-tailing group (e-tailing.com)
Everyone knows the old adage about how word spreads fast when you have a good restaurant meal and even faster when you have a bad one. In 2008 consumers are spreading the word at light-speed, eager to share with everybody they know and everyone they don’t with just one click of the mouse.
Those businesses staying vigilant and responsive, ready to learn, change and improve when their customers speak up, online and off, have a chance to survive and thrive in 2008.