The Growing Role of Online Reviews in Influencing B2B Purchase Decisions
Due to the mass amounts of information available online and the ease with which individuals can access answers to questions regarding just about any topic, consumers today are more informed than they’ve ever been. As a result, the purchase process has been entirely transformed. Whereas consumers of the past relied on the company’s word to make purchase decisions, they now rely on reviews. If you have yet to add your B2B online reviews to your site or to take advantage of the growing number of review sites, you’re doing your business a disservice.
The Growing Impact of Online Reviews
Word-of-mouth has long been a businesses’ greatest marketing tool, driving an annual average of $6 trillion in consumer spending each year. Moreover, word-of-mouth results in five times the number of impressions than a paid impression and individuals are 90% more likely to buy from a brand that a friend recommends. Reviews differ from word-of-mouth only slightly in that the opinions come from strangers instead of trusted friends, relatives or acquaintances. However, the stats show that the impact is more or less the same.
A recent study reveals that 92% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or invest in a service after reading a trusted review, while 70% are likely to trust recommendations from individuals they don’t even know. An additional study from the Spiegel Research Center shows that shoppers are 270 times more likely to purchase a product with five reviews than they are a product with no reviews. The impact on higher-end products is even greater, with the conversion rate increasing to 380% when a product description is accompanied by reviews.
The stats are many, but what they ultimately tell us is that B2B online reviews influence buyers at every stage of the sales process. From when they’re first deciding which brands to even consider to the moment they make their final purchase decision, consumers are likely to consider the experiences of others before they hand over their hard-earned money.
Leverage the Power of Online Reviews
Data doesn’t lie, and what it’s telling you is that you need a comprehensive customer review strategy. That said, what does that entail? Good question. Below are a few elements of a strong review strategy:
Third-Party Review Sites: You should begin by identifying peer and customer review sites that are most likely to send referrals your way. Some of the more reliable B2B customer review sites include TrustPilot, ConsumerReports, G2 Crowd, Manta and TrustRadius.
Your Own Website: You should sprinkle testimonials throughout your website and, if you have enough reviews, dedicate a whole page to them.
Embrace the Negative: If you offer superior solutions and routinely provide outstanding customer service, you shouldn’t have too much negative feedback. However, no one or no company is perfect, which is why a perfect five-star rating is unbelievable. Consumers are more likely to trust a brand with a rating of between 4.0 and 4.7, so if you receive a bad review every now and again, let it go.
Focus on Product Reviews: Reviews of your company are all well and good, but what shoppers really want to know is, how does your product compare with those of competitors? Because you’re in the manufacturing business, your products likely come with hefty price tags, meaning customer testimonials on product pages are more important than ever.
Identify Users as “Verified Buyers”: Unfortunately, some companies are in the business of selling reviews. You can establish the authenticity of your reviews by labeling them with “verified buyer” badges. Research indicates that doing so increases the odds of a purchase by 15%.
With the vast and growing number of review sites, you may have a hard time curating, reviewing and displaying all customer testimonials. At Momentum, we use state of the art automation software to gather, filter and display customer reviews across your website and other channels. Make the most of customer endorsements and contact us today.