Are Reviews More Important Than Ever?

Oh we could be cheeky and say ‘YES.  THE END!’ but in all seriousness how would that help you?  You’re busy, right?  You want to know, before you invest time into this online review strategy thang, how it’s going to help your business grow!  Well that’s what we’re here to share with you courtesy of a rather fabulous article we read recently from the Retail Times.  This article shared that, according to new research from Durham University Business School, a good Google review rating from customers is more important for restaurants and more likely to draw in more customers than a good Health and Safety rating.  Wow!  Isn’t that incredible?


The article goes on to quote one of the researchers, Dr Zhibin Lin, who said, “The rating (in our language online review) systems of tourism and hospitality services are instrumental for both businesses and consumers.  Businesses use them to determine their promotion and pricing strategies while consumers rely on them to make an informed decision.  Our research shows the incredible importance of these ratings to restaurants and which they should focus on most if they want to boost clientele.


“Our findings further suggest that restaurants which strive to improve their services can simultaneously charge a higher price and attract more customers, as long as they are providing a good service.  Therefore, this shows the huge impact genuine customer reviews can have on a business.”


This research clearly highlights the importance of online reviews in the hospitality industry and the huge, positive impact they can have on increasing their clientele and, potentially, on impacting promotion and pricing strategies too.  Whilst Dr Lin acknowledged that their findings were limited to the hospitality industry in only one city, he went on to say that he felt their findings are relevant to the wider hospitality industry across the UK.


But what if your business isn’t in restaurants/hospitality?  Are online reviews more important than ever?  Well another article we found talked about the increasing importance of online reviews to the care sector and, in particular, to providers of senior care recommending that anyone involved in senior care from care homes to domiciliary care should be using online reviews as an integral part of their marketing strategy.  Why?  Because, according to a BrightLocal survey, 82% of consumers read online reviews.  Of them, only 53% are willing to use a business with less than a 4-star review and when it comes to looking after your elderly relatives those reviews are going to be informing a lot of important decisions.


Are there any other examples?  Well, let’s look at the car industry – a hot subject at the moment indeed!  Well, again, a recent survey by CarGurus found that young car buyers in particular consider online reviews to be a highly important factor with 91% of 18-34 year olds placing as much trust in online reviews as on word of mouth.


Finally, what about retail?  Well with more people than ever buying their groceries online that specific part of retail has seen an incredible rise in online reviews resulting in grocers now receiving more customer feedback via online reviews.  This vast increase in online reviews that the food and beverage sectors are seeing will undoubtedly be incredibly helpful both in-store and online with grocers now being advised by experts in their field to look more closely at consumer product reviews along with sales data to inform their product selection and promotion, both digitally and physically.


So, plenty of reasons to review your online review strategy and super charge it!

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