Online reviews of products and services are playing an increasingly important role in decision-making and purchasing processes. That’s why sites like YouReviewIt provide honest ratings and help tutorials to consumers around the globe to help minimize errors and frustrations in online shopping.

Customers usually use comparison portals, professional product test sites and e-commerce portals in the purchasing process to obtain information about the desired product. Because 72 percent of consumers now trust reviews from the online community, only the opinion in the circle of friends and acquaintances counts even more with the purchase decision. According to a study commissioned by BIG Social Media, 69 percent of all consumers look for consumer ratings on the Internet, 75 percent gather information online before buying a product in the store and 40 percent of customers read the reviews directly on the spot on their smartphone.

But do product ratings actually influence immediate sales?

This question can be answered with an unequivocal yes. There is even a striking connection between the average sale of a product and its positive ratings: Products with a positive rating sell 200 percent better than products without a rating, while there is hardly any difference in sales between negatively rated products and products with no rating. In addition, the average sell-through is almost 63 percent higher when a product has more than 50 reviews (compared to products with just one to five reviews).

This should be a wake-up call, especially for companies that have so far been skeptical about reviews online because they feared losing control of their brand. Another reason to be open about reviews: Happy customers have always been a brand’s best ambassadors. It doesn’t look any different online. Most consumer reviews are therefore mostly very positive, 64 percent of the products are even rated with 5 stars. Interestingly, however, products with 4.5 stars sell three times better than pure 5-star products. The reason: 30 percent of buyers suspect fake reviews if there are no negative opinions about the product. 68 percent of buyers are therefore more likely to believe the rating if they read both positive and negative things about the product. However, despite their knowledge of possible manipulations and “fake reviews”, consumers still have confidence in online reviews, which has even increased in recent years.

Reviews can go a long way even in a political setup. For example, in the recent election, people made use of big data, political reviews, and other comparison portals to compare presidential candidates. This can be helpful to people and can make or break the candidate.

Read also: How Do You Deal With Power And Politics?

Products with positive reviews generate 30% more sales

Companies with a high degree of social media maturity have long recognized the potential of the masses of experiences and opinions about products written down by customers. Without having to do a lot of market research, they find out how customers perceive their company and their products, what they particularly notice about the products, what questions they have about them, and what they find particularly positive or negative about the respective product. Such ratings are extremely relevant, especially for products in the consumer electronics, household appliances, furniture, and fashion sectors. However, very few companies plan to implement a sustainable solution in review and rating management as the key to successful sales. Internal analyzes by Bosch-Siemens-Hausgeräte (BSH), for example, show that products with positive ratings achieve an increase in sales of up to 30 percent. It is not for nothing that Klaus Rovara, Head of eBusiness & Social Media at BSH, metaphorically says: “Product rating management is today’s gold panning”.

Unfortunately, the term “social media monitoring” or “big data” has negative connotations for many people because they believe that their data is only collected to sell them something. As consumers, they can exercise much more control over the products and services if they comment on them online. Since product ratings are of such great importance in the buying process, bad products or poorly rated products are simply ignored by the customer. In other words, the times when companies could produce poor quality and hope for ignorant consumers are over. Thanks to the power of consumers, they are forced to rethink and have to focus on quality and good customer management from the outset.