In the past, housewives would make relative comparisons only according to the brand of the product (brand X is better than brand Y, so the manufacturers say in advertisements). Many buyers before just depended on the limited information supplied by manufacturers through traditional marketing strategies.
Today, with online marketing in full throttle, consumers are being introduced to all sorts of readily available marketing information. Thanks to user-generated reviews and the growing practice of consulting social media friends, buyers now can be better informed about a certain product and can be provided with other options.
In buying a particular product, more people are now consulting online reviews before finally departing with their hard-earned money in exchange for the best value possible.
WHAT ARE ONLINE REVIEWS?
Online reviews simply mean crowd-solicited reviews about local businesses or certain products, done online usually on social media or on numerous review sites. They could be made by a disgruntled consumer, a satisfied buyer, a loyal customer, a competitor, anybody, you name it. The thing is, because online reviews are open, you can never be sure if the opinions were honestly made, in the first place.
But honest or not, negative or positive, online reviews are a force to reckon with. You can never disregard or ignore the impact of online reviews on small businesses or even on giant corporations for that matter. The fact is, online reviews influence people’s opinion so much, they even have the capability to make or break your business.
ARE ONLINE REVIEWS RELIABLE?
Some or most online reviews are probably reliable but definitely not all. Take for instance a recent case involving some online review sites undergoing public scrutiny after various companies were discovered to have paid them just to get positive reviews. Yet those sites can still have significant impact on the success or failure of your business.
But regardless whether online reviews are accurate or reliable, customers are still searching, reading, and believing them. Perhaps the best alternative is to ignore or consider all online reviews as accurate and focus instead on getting a positive review for your business.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF ONLINE REVIEW ON YOUR BUSINESS?
You may not be fully aware yet of the impact of online reviews on small businesses, but certainly not all reviews are negative. If you have a small business and you receive online reviews, chances are they can be both positive and negative. Try to weigh down the facts reported and remember that millions must have already read them to include prospective customers. Look for the negative reviews first as they need your most urgent attention.
Can negative reviews cause irreparable damage? Find out in part 2…
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