Can reviews really drive sales?

Eight-Eight percent(88%)  of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Ninety percent (90%) of consumers check online reviews before visiting a business. Customers are likely to spend 31% more with a business that has excellent reviews. And 72% of consumers will take action only after reading positive online reviews. As a result, it seems like whenever we want to go buy anything, online or off, we first check for online reviews. Need a new dentist – check their online reviews. Need a new set of tires – check the online reviews? A hotel for the night? A restaurant? We all do it. The fact is that online reviews affect our buying decisions.

Getting those positive online reviews is critical for anyone selling products and services today. The question then becomes, how do I get reviews and how many do I need? There are actually some specific things you can do to insure that you have an adequate number of positive reviews. The best way to do this is to simply ask people to review your products or services. I have been doing reviews for a number of products recently – the business provides me with the product free of charge, and then I post a review for them on Amazon, my blog, YouTube, and perhaps Facebook. I was recently approached by a company that sells 35 million per year in kids toys wanting me to review their products. I’ve been asked, if they are already doing that much in business, why do they want your review? Here’s the thing – depending upon the product or service you are selling, you need to generate over 100 positive reviews for this to affect your search rankings. If you are selling your products on Amazon, a minimum of 30 reviews within the first few weeks of launching a new product is critical or your products won’t show up. If you get a few negative reviews right away, then Amazon will not display your products in their search result, so yes, every review does make a difference.

reviewsOf course, not all reviews are going to be glowing. But what matters the most is the stars. Studies have shown that a one star increase in reviews can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue, while a single negative review can cost you 30 customers.

There are those naysayers who proclaim that “paid reviews” are essentially “fake reviews”. This of course depends. I frequently am given products in exchange for “an honest and unbiased” review. If I were paid to give a positive or negative review, that would be unethical, but asking others to review your products by giving them the product and not influencing their opinion is a great way to grow your ratings. In fact, when I first released my book, “Amazon’s Dirty Little Secrets”, I did a one-day sale for just 99 cents, and encouraged people to leave a review. The result was that it shot up to #1 and has remained a best-seller ever since. So yes, reviews can and do influence sales. If your shopping cart doesn’t support product reviews, give us a call – this can make a big difference in your sales.

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