Most people in retail will agree that reviews are important, but usually they’re talking about professional reviews from qualified people and publications that make a living out of evaluating things. But then there’s word of mouth, or the customer review, and this is a huge opportunity for a business to get both free marketing and build up customer loyalty. Here are the most important reasons why.
When you have a broad array of customer reviews on your website that cover the spectrum of both good and bad, this generally builds credibility with other shoppers. It shows you have the ethics and the confidence in your products to let people say what they like, and don’t’ shy away from criticisms. In other words, it’s more honest. If you had a collection of customer reviews and all of them were uniformly glowing, with five stars or 100% ratings, people would be suspicious.
When more people are talking about you, you’re easier to find. This is true regardless of whether the reviews are good or bad. If you combine customers writing reviews about your products or services on your website with others writing reviews on aggregate review websites, your search reach broadens tremendously. The more that people are willing to talk about you, the more popular you become on search engines.
People trust other people. Professional review are important, but the “average person” review can be critical, if not more so, especially if there are a lot of them. There’s always a little bit of suspicion of media bias with professional reviews, but people don’t have that same skepticism when it comes from “one of us.” There’s a feeling that a customer review is unbiased and, perhaps more importantly, shares the same concerns about value for money that a regular shopper would have, versus a professional evaluator who may only care about innovation or bucking trends.