An estimated total of 93% of smart customers across the globe check online reviews before buying a product. Let us explore how to use online reviews to get connected with customers, improve brand image and promote positive buying recommendations.

Understanding Online Review Statistics

In this busy and puzzling world of online shopping, people want the best shopping experience and want to be reassured before a purchase. Potential customers turn to online review sites to learn all they can about the company’s service or product. Popular sites like Google Maps, Yelp, and TripAdvisor give customers advice or lead them to read past customer experiences and reviews directly from the source.

This is a powerful route to the market for the customer, and this shapes their buying decisions. The data analysis says the chance is very high and is somewhere between 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and some 93% of consumers have confirmed that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.

Why Are Online Reviews A Necessity?

Online Reviews have become a powerful tool to reach out and make your presence felt through reviews. The customers get the chance to tell their side of the buying story. Reviews provide social proof to other potential buyers.

Social proof adds credibility to the product or service and also vice versa. The more satisfied buyers buy, or enjoy a product/service and put a review, the more likely others are to follow. A celebrity’s positive public endorsement of a brand provides high social proof directly impacts sales. Similarly, a negative review can drive away customers.

Online reviews have become the most popular way to choose where to shop locally. It is found that nearly 97% of buyers research products or services in their local area influenced by online reviews.

Positive Reviews Influence Buyers Positively

Positive reviews play a key role for companies where customers spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. There are other benefits also which are as follows:

  • Trust of the Consumer Increases – Online business industry depends heavily on trust. It is extremely hard to gain but easy to lose following a bad experience. It has been proved that B2B buyers (92%) are more likely to do purchases after reading a trusted review. Reviews mean a lot.
  • Having Feedback from Customers – Getting feedback from customers gives insights to help improve the customer experience. Businesses are able to get to study the entire journey of the customer and get clarity about their performance. Also, identify areas that need improvement. Most review sites respond back to the customer and start a chat to find out more, and close the loop to ensure their queries are resolved.
  • Search Engine Rankings – 6.47% more gain happens in online customer reviews in organic local searches. Customers’ comment on the reviews matter and the ‘Negative Sentiment in Google Reviews’ creates a negative ranking and sometimes spoils the show.

The Impact of Negative Reviews

The impact of negative online reviews is destructive for the business and brand.

  • A minimum star rating is 3.3 for a business.  Consumers connect with 3.3 and an estimated 13% of consumers consider using a business with a rating of 1 or 2 stars.
  • An estimated 94% of customers have confirmed that a negative online review has made them avoid a business.
  • Every four out of five consumers refrain from a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews.

With negative online reviews of a business, only 22% of customers consider buying their product. If there are three negative articles in a search query, 59.2% of customers choose not to get into the purchase.

Negative reviews have really serious consequences. Even a loss of a half-star rating can be crucial for a restaurant and 19% less likely to have full seats during peak dining times. (Source: UC Berkeley). 

Similarly, a one-star fall in a Yelp rating could lead to a 5-9% decrease in revenue. (Source: Harvard Business School).

The Danger of Fake Reviews

Fake online reviews question the credibility of a company and can be dangerous. Fake reviews can even turn a real potential customer off from your business. If even one fake review is detected, it questions the reliability of all the other authentic reviews.

How to Spot a Fake Review

When you spot a fake or a spam message, immediately get these removed and report these to the reviewers of the platform administrators. 

  • If the reviewer has not divulged profile information then it is a computerized spam persona.
  • If there is a third-party website or product recommendation in the review then it has surely been an attempt to move the customers to competitors or unprotected sites.
  • The fake review can be misleading or could be put there in a different language and keep getting repeated as new reviews for other companies. 

5 Ways to Optimize Online reviews 

  1. Make efforts to ask for online reviews from your customers 
  2. To respond to online reviews and reply to them if possible 
  3. Have transparency about the online reviews 
  4. Quote online reviews in your communications or advertisements
  5. Have a physical shop presence if possible

Online Review Platforms Customers Use

Commonly Used Review Sites 

Social Platforms

The Results 

The statistics help have a better experience. Reviews do matter, and if you neglect them you could be neglecting some very valuable business opportunities. And if you aren’t using them correctly you are missing out on chances of getting more eyeballs. Start getting reviews and use them to your advantage. 

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I am a consummate writer and a marketing professional, with over a decade of experience in Digital and Content Marketing. I have written blogs on technology, marketing, health, travel, and many more. I have many published articles to my name and have written for websites like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Harper's Bazaar, etc. Enjoy reading my blogs here!