Who are the Consumers of Online Reviews?

Today, there are thousands of business review sites and the fact that new sites keep emerging means that there is an essential service they are offering. With the internet available all over the world, reviews posted about a business become available to a global audience. Reviews are taken very seriously by customers and the majority of shoppers today will not make a purchasing decision before reading a review. The kind of info that people search for online is really widespread. People visiting a new city or country will naturally read whatever reviews they can get about the airline they intend to use and the hotel they will stay in. That is the reason why sites like TripAdvisor get millions of visitors each day.
Besides hotels and airlines, some other businesses that are heavily reviewed include guest houses and medical practices. Before a customer makes a decision whether to do business with a particular company, many are reported to read as many as 10 reviews. For the US and Canada, the heaviest users of online reviews are people in their 40s and if your business targets people in this age group you’ll be invisible to them unless there are reviews on your business.

They also write reviews
While most people read reviews written on review sites, a good percentage also write reviews. While the percentage of writing consumers is lower than the readers, it is still a sizeable number and research shows that it could be as high as 25%. The biggest contributors are people in their 30s and they could either post their comments on review sites or on blogs. Again, hotels and holiday destinations are the most reviewed businesses. Reviews also cover a really wide range of businesses and goes on to include reviews of books, movies and electronics.

The weight of reviews
When you consider that more than 90% of people base their buying decisions on reviews they have read, the importance of reviews cannot be emphasized enough. Whatever promotional efforts a company makes might count for nothing if it does not have a good amount of positive reviews. For most people, the experiences of past customers are the best indicator of the services offered by a company.
While positive reviews are great and desirable, a mixture of both positive and negative reviews works just as well. In fact, some companies have been able to turn negative reviews to their advantage.

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