Online Ratings and Reviews are Top Shopping Influencers

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Holiday shoppers relied on online ratings and reviews more  than any other factor when making purchase decisions, according to the 4th annual holiday shopping survey by e-tailing group, Baynote.

Negative online reviews kill sales and damage your brand's cherished reputation. Even a couple of bad reviews can stop shoppers dead in their tracks.

48%  of holiday shoppers said online rating and reviews frequently or always influenced their purchases. That’s 3 times more than the influence of ads.

You do not know how many sales you're losing from bad reviews. It's probably a lot more than you think. By energizing your Advocates to create reviews, you can:

  • Increase or maintain online ratings for your products and services
  • Get more reviews online, expanding your share of voice on shopping and review sites
  • Combat negative word of mouth
  • Boost purchase consideration and sales

Advocates to the Rescue

Here are three companies that have boosted online ratings by energizing their advocates:

  • Skype's ratings for its analog telephone adapter product jumped from 2/8 stars on Amazon.com after Advocates posted reviews.
  • Safelite saw its star ratings on Superpages.com leap from 2/35 to 4 stars after its Advocates wrote reviews. The average star rating for Advocate reviews was 4.9 out of 5 stars.
  • Ooma has doubled its product ratings on Amazon.com and other sites by energizing Advocates.

Critics may charge that by encouraging Advocates to write and publish reviews, companies are "stuffing the ballot box." There's no question that Advocates are more likely than Detractors to write positive reviews than negative ones, but I believe encouraging Advocates to write and publish reviews is fair and ethical.

  • Companies are not paying Advocates or providing incentives for their reviews
  • Companies are not coaching or providing guidance on what Advocates should say, or how they should say it
  • People who have had good experiences with your products or services may not speak up unless you make it easy for them.

The power of ratings and reviews continues to shine through and amplify the need for Advocate marketing programs that drive positive word of mouth.

Excerpt from Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force  (Wiley; ISBN: 978-1-1183-3603-8; July 2012; Hardcover & E-book)