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Think that Yelp review doesn’t matter? Think again, suggests Trustpilot survey

Trying out a new place? Chances are, you hedged your bets by checking out a review beforehand. Don’t be shy — you can admit it. In fact, a new study by Trustpilot suggests that 88 percent of consumers say that reviews help when deciding what to buy and where to buy it. So don’t shrug off those Yelp reviews so easily, store owners — they may have a large impact on your business.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on online reviews to research companies and make purchase decisions,” said Fred Mather, General Manager of The Americas at Trustpilot. “Because consumers are interacting with these online reviews throughout the entire shopping experience, it’s important for businesses to make sure customer feedback is easy to find and showcased throughout every step of the process.”

As per Trustpilot’s research, nearly one in five of those surveyed said they read reviews prior to visiting a company’s site, and nearly half read a review before adding an item to their cart while actively shopping.

What were potential customers looking for in these reviews? Trustpilot’s study suggested that consumers valued overall ratings and an easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback, and a number also took into consideration the number of reviews posted.

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And as for voicing opinions of their own, 14 percent of respondents said they would take it upon themselves to write an organic review, whereas 29 percent said they would provide feedback if prompted. But take all this with a grain of salt — consumers are almost twice as likely to write a review about a negative experience than a positive one.

So how trustworthy are these online ratings? According to consumers, not so trustworthy at all. Only 18 percent say they think online reviews are actually valid, despite their alleged dependence upon them.

That said, Trustpilot notes that businesses ought to better understand the way in which consumers read, write, and believe in online reviews. “Make sure online reviews are easy to find,” Trustpilot says, and be sure to give “consumers a forum for reviews and invite them to leave their opinion.” And if you can respond to negative feedback in real-time, you just may nip issues in the bud.