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Online Reviews: Trends, Innovations, Strategy

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Online reviews are an important tool that helps consumers decide regarding a purchase of a product or a service.
Today, more than ever, digital reviews are everywhere and it seems that most of the consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.
According to BrightLocal survey, 91% of US consumers ‘regularly’ or ‘occasionally’ read online reviews. Online reviews also increase trust in a business, as long as the reviews are positive: 74% of customers say that a positive review makes them trust a business more, while 60% say a negative review makes them question the quality of a business. Usually consumers will stop looking for another business after having read positive reviews.
Online reviews are used for various types of businesses. Restaurant / café is the most common segment in which people use online reviews before deciding, with 60% of consumers saying that they had read online reviews for this segment. Hospitality comes next, with 40%, and Medical / healthcare comes third with 31%. According to Schieber Research, these numbers are expected to rise significantly for every industry with the integration of reviews into search engines and with companies increasingly encouraging consumer to write reviews, it would be almost impossible to make a decision without reading reviews first.

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Online Reviews: Trends, Innovations, Strategy

  1. 1. Online Reviews - Trends, Innovations, Strategy Meital Yachin | March, 2017
  2. 2. Introduction • Online reviews are an important tool that helps consumers make a decision regarding a purchase of a product or a service. • Today, more than ever, digital reviews are everywhere. It’s a powerful tool that extends rapidly and reaches diverse industries. It no longer serves only local businesses to help consumers decide which restaurant to visit or which computer to buy: online reviews can affect any business critically and determine if it lives or dies. • This presentation reviews trends, innovations and competitor strategies aimed at leveraging positive reviews, respond to negative reviews and ensure authenticity of reviews.
  3. 3. Key trends Trends Best in Class Strategy Platforms Brands realize the importance of reviews across the shopper’s journey and develop a strategy for reputation and reviews management, to be implemented on search engines (esp. Google – but also Amazon, becoming a recommendation- oriented search engine), social media, professional websites and blogs, in addition to the company website and review sites. Integrating consumer reviews into the websites; encouraging consumers to add reviews, including by asking them a specific question; responding to reviews Reviewers Although reviews are now available anywhere for free, it seems that the problem of authenticity is driving demand for reviews that are written by professionals, even if a fee is involved – indicating potential for verifiable reviews websites. Influencers and blogger reviews; displaying reviews that were originally written for third party website on the company's website Content In addition to the widely accepted methods of points / stars ranking and additional written text, Video content is now on the rise, especially when it comes to in-store/ on the go/ mobile content consumption. Combining video reviews, whether independent or brand initiated, with an emphasis on mobile availability. Industries While travel and hospitality (including hotels and airlines, cafés and restaurants), are still the top segment in which people use online reviews before making a decision, the incorporation of reviews into various sources and search engines will soon affect every product/ service industry. Brands should design a strategy to leverage positive reviews and response to negative reviews, in any industry. A new trend is “two-way review" - even consumers themselves become the object of opinion and ratings. Source: Schieber Research, 2017
  4. 4. Table of Contents Statistics Platforms Strategies
  5. 5. Table of Contents Statistics Platforms Strategies
  6. 6. The importance of reviews • A recent BrightLocal survey found that 91% of consumers ‘regularly’ or ‘occasionally’ read online reviews. • 74% of customers say a positive review makes them trust a business more, while 60% say a negative review makes them question the quality of a business. “Local Consumer Review Survey”, BrightLocal 2016 • Only 3% of consumers will keep searching for another business after reading positive reviews, while 80% will continue the process with the business they found.
  7. 7. The importance of reviews “Connected Consumer Goods Report” Salesforce Research report, 2016 • A Salesforce 2016 report demonstrates that online reviews are considered as the most effective, trusted method for consumers to gather information on brands and products prior to making a purchase decision; especially among Millennials (18 – 34).
  8. 8. Brand Reviews Across Industries • According to BrightLocal, online reviews are used for various types of businesses. Restaurant / café is the most common segment in which people use online reviews before making a decision, with 60% of consumers saying that they had read online reviews for this segment. Hospitality comes next, with 40%, and Medical / healthcare comes third with 31%. “Local Consumer Review Survey”, BrightLocal 2016 • According to Schieber Research, these numbers are expected to rise significantly for every industry: with the integration of reviews into search engines and with companies increasingly encouraging consumer to write reviews, it would be almost impossible to make a decision without reading reviews first.
  9. 9. Brand Reviews Across Industries | Travel • According to TripBarometer Report, two of the top five factors impacting accommodation decision are online reviews displayed on review sites and on TripAdvisor. Global Travel Economy Report , TripBarometer, 2015
  10. 10. Brand Reviews Across Industries | Travel • Travelers tend to rely on reviews and opinions from other travelers when researching and booking their trip. • TripAdvisor is more influential than other source when choosing destination and accommodation. Global Travel Economy Report , TripBarometer, 2015
  11. 11. Brand Reviews Across Industries | Travel According to TRUSTYOU survey: • 95% of travelers read reviews before booking a hotel. • Leisure travelers read an average of 6-7 reviews before booking a hotel. • Travelers spend an average of 30 minutes reading reviews before booking. 10% of travelers spend more than one hour reading reviews • According to another study by the company, there is a 3.9 greater chance travelers will choose hotel with higher review score, when prices are the same. Moreover, travelers will often choose a more expensive hotel if the reviews are better. Consumer Research Identifies How To Present Travel Review Content For Optimal Bookings, TRUSTYOU, 2015
  12. 12. Star rating • According to Yotpo study, higher reviews have a positive influence upon products purchase. The study found that 94% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above, of which 54% of the purchases are of products rated 5 stars and products rated 4-stars represent 40% of the purchases. • There were 126% more orders for products with an average of 5 stars than those with an average of 4 stars. • In addition, consumers tend to review products that are ranked higher – 60% of reviews were written for products with an average rating of 5 stars, suggesting high satisfaction motive ranking (when the brand exceeds expectations). How Star Ratings Influence Customers’ Behavior, Yotpo, 2015
  13. 13. Social media as an important source of reviews • Yotpo research have found that businesses which share reviews to social media, enjoy a higher conversion rate compared to those that don’t share.
  14. 14. Mobile Reviews • The percentage of consumers reading online reviews via mobile web (61%) is significantly higher than consumers using mobile apps (18%). BrightLocal found a drop of 6% in reading online reviews via mobile app, compared to 2015. “Local Consumer Review Survey”, BrightLocal 2016
  15. 15. Table of Contents Statistics Platforms Strategies
  16. 16. Reviews platforms Reviews can be either company initiated, consumer initiated or 3rd party initiated, and they include influencer/ expert sites, social media, brand websites/ social media, and search engines. Review initiated by the company The company’s website, campaigns, search engine etc. Social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Video Review is rising and YouTube in particular. influencers Dedicated sites that provide reviews from influences or professional (e.g CNET, Blogs) 3rd party • Search engines • Industry- specific directory sites • Paid review sites
  17. 17. Company’s website Levi's, who is growing its e-commerce platform, provides consumer reviews of the different models.
  18. 18. Social Media | Facebook • Facebook leads the social media’s reviews market. The review is being displayed prominently on the Facebook business page and consists of stars rank and a written review. Each user can rank or review (this way the user’s Facebook’s friends see the review as well) and the business owner cannot delete or edit. • Facebook recently launched a tool that allows users to discover new events or services, based on friend recommendations. After writing a post asking for a recommendation, Facebook changes it to a ‘recommendation’. As soon as other users react to the post, Facebook recognizes the business and displays it on a map, as well as its rank and reviews. There is also an option to attach a business proactively.
  19. 19. Social Media | Facebook • Facebook allows a ‘near by’ search for places. For instance, users can find hotels near their current location. Results include rank and reviews and there is also a link to the business page and a shortcut for making a reservation.
  20. 20. Social Media | YouTube • The popularity of video led to a new type of review - filmed reviews. • According to Google Think, YouTube has become a top source for reviews, specially among millennials: 50% of this generation say they are examining products reviews from the store at the time of purchase, when YouTube is the primary source for them. • There are companies that embed the videos in their websites, in order to assist consumers in making purchase decisions and increase the conversion rate. Food Review is a website that provides food reviews in a YouTube videos. Cadbury, a chocolate milk company, embeds reviews of their product in their website. Watch a video
  21. 21. Influencers • Among professional websites and opinions of consumers, there are "super consumers" - influencers who are bloggers and experts who write reviews. The more impact a blogger has, the more the reviews will be noticeable on searches. CNET tracks the latest technologies and provides information, tools, and advice to consumers, which help them decide prior to a purchase using reviews. Ziff Davis delivers independent reviews in the gaming, technology and men’s lifestyle categories.
  22. 22. Professional Review Websites • Despite the vast availability of free reviews, consumers are willing to pay for expert-written reports written by professionals. Therefore, Schieber Research concludes that the need for authentic reviews is crucial, and inability to verify reviews might impair the future of online reviews. WHICH? Is an independent consumer review website that tests, describes and reviews products. The reviews are being written by the Which? Team (rather than consumers) and Which undertakes consumer surveys on products and services. The service includes a membership fee (£10.75 per month). There are 70,000 current members to Which?.
  23. 23. Directory Websites Yelp is a website that provides Local business ranking and reviews. The website also offers online food delivery. TripAdvisor is a website that provides reviews in the travel industry, including Hotels, flights and restaurants. • Directory sites provide reviews on local businesses and are industry-specific. The emphasis is on personalization – linked to social media profiles to display friends’ reviews and recommendations based on previous searches, as well as promote sharing on social networks.
  24. 24. Search Engines • ‫מנ‬ Yahoo.com Google.com • Search engines are the preferred method for finding online reviews - 63% of consumers surveyed said they turn to a search engine, like Google, to find online reviews of local businesses. “Local Consumer Review Survey”, BrightLocal 2016
  25. 25. Search Engines | Google • Google moved to displaying reviews through the search engine. Combined with YouTube, Google’s influence on the online reviews market is enormous. Google partnered with OpenTable and Facebook to display reviews from multiple sites so the consumer gets an extensive review before making a decision. Google “local pack” – Google displays three highlighted Maps-based results featuring the most highly ranked businesses; This is in line with the trend of searching ‘nearby’ places.
  26. 26. Search Engines | Google • Google combines reviews in Google maps. An example of a ‘laundry service’ search using google maps. The search shows relevant businesses near the current location. Standing with the mouse on top of a business presents its rank and users can read all reviews and even sort them by categories, such as: ‘Most helpful’, ‘Most recent’, ‘Highest score’, ‘Lowest score’
  27. 27. Table of Contents Statistics Platform Strategies
  28. 28. Encourage Reviews on Company Websites • Incorporating reviews into companies’ websites is important for search engine optimization and for driving traffic at the research phase of the buying journey. • While positive reviews on the website obviously supports brands, some marketers fear the effect of a negative review. However, it’s important to remembered that providing consumer a platform to respond is an action that positions the company as transparent and responsible and allows the company respond to any review. Failure to provide such platform will just result in posting the reviews somewhere else. Pret A Manger, a worldwide coffee shop chain, encourages consumers to write reviews by presenting reviews on the main internet page.
  29. 29. Encouraging Consumer Reviews ClassPass, an American fitness startup that provides fitness service in multiple studios, uses in-app prompting to invite customers to review classes. It offers frequently used options to make the process easier and less time consuming. The quantity and the quality of the reviews effect SEO. Hence, It is important for companies to provide a convenient platform to encourage customers to review a service / product. In addition to creating a mass of reviews, encouraging customers to review allows brands to get a feedback and to create a relationship with the buyer after the purchase. Expedia encourages customers to review their trip by sending an email post trip. Seamless, an online food ordering service, sends customers a text massage following the delivery, in order to encourage them to review the service.
  30. 30. Encouraging Consumer Reviews • Some companies encourage consumer to review by offering them incentives – however, this practice is, in some circumstances, viewed as unethical and there are sites that prohibit this type of review. Another method is using dedicated review tools, based on free trial service product, as the reviewer has to review the product he/she received for free and state that it was submitted free of charge. BzzAgent offers free products to consumers who will review the product; it is a B2B website – meaning that companies use the service to collect reviews on new products. Amazon, the company that built the review field, founded in 2007 the Vine – a program that allows consumers to get free products, and in exchange they have to review them. Participation in the program is by invitation only and based on previous rank reviews.
  31. 31. Encouraging Consumer Reviews • Some websites encourages consumers to review by sending the customer an email that contains a specific question, after the purchase. Amazon
  32. 32. Personalization • Many companies are focused on personalization which allows consumer to read reviews from consumer who are similar to them, or according to their social network. Trip.com displays reviews by categories: Foodies, Vegetarians, Adventure Traveler, Family travelers TripAdvisor allows consumer to refine reviews by travel type, e.g., families or couples.
  33. 33. Real Time Feedback • Mobile tools prompt users to write a review as soon as they receive a product / service; this is notable in the hospitality market, giving hotels a chance to repair the damage and avoid a negative rating. Expedia encourages customers to answer a satisfaction survey upon arrival to the hotel, via their mobile phone. This gives the hotel an opportunity to fix what’s wrong or compensate the customer, instead of having an eve-lingering bad review.
  34. 34. Two-Way Reviews • Schieber Research recognizes a trend of a two-way review, which means – businesses can rate customers. For example, Airbnb’s hosts have an option to rate guests and Uber/Lyft Drivers can rate passengers and even ban a passenger. An example for Airbnb’s bi-directional review. A guest can read the review only if he/she posts a review back – encourages the customer to review.
  35. 35. Responding to Negative Reviews • A negative review provides marketers with a chance to fix any wrongdoing in order to prevent future complaints, and maybe even turn opponents to proponents. • Google My Business advises not to get personal when responding to negative reviews; to reply briefly and politely; to thank the writer for taking the time to review the business; and to “be a friend, not a sales person”. • As more companies understand that reviews will be available online “forever” – they respond to consumers more and more. TripAdvisor provides many such examples.
  36. 36. Thank You! The research was conducted by: Meital Yachin Schieber Research | Market Research & Competitive Intelligence www.researchci.com | hamutal@researchci.com More articles and researches on Carmelon Digital Marketing website: http://www.carmelon-digital.com

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