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Reviews now play an integral role in the path to purchase among consumers inclined to do research on the internet. In fact, a January 2014 survey of US adult internet users conducted by YouGov found that 79% of them checked online reviews at least some of the time before making a purchase. Only 7% of respondents said they never checked a review, underscoring how important they’ve become during the research phase of shopping.
Reviews present a potential benefit for those selling goods and services, but also a possible deterrent if retailers or products are saddled with bad reviews. Interestingly, respondents seemed more inclined to leave either good or mixed reviews than they were to unload a bad review on the web. Nearly six out of 10 of those polled said they had left a mixed review, while 54% had left a good review. In comparison, only 21% had left a bad review.
Among those who had left a bad review, the main motivation was to warn off other consumers about a poor product or experience. Nearly nine in 10 cited this reason as the impetus for a negative review.
While 23% said they left a bad review to alleviate their anger about the problem they experienced, 21% had left the review in the hopes that the company would attempt to redress a problem. Those selling goods and services should take close note of this last group, as it presents an opportunity for customer relations management to take over when a problem has been identified.
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