Posted on August 20, 2017
Online Reviews: What To Expect In 2018 And Beyond
With the advent of social media, online forums, and image sharing portals, it is unsurprising that more and more customers opt to read online reviews before making any purchase decision. After all, online reviews not only provide the best platform for potential clients to understand products and services from the consumer point of view but also offer honest and independent insights from peers.
The retail industry is expected to change in the next 5 years than has been witnessed over the past century, and the extinction of physical stores isn’t far off. While the shift may not be more profound in 2018, a few changes are inevitable.
Considering that online reviews are already very integral parts of the buying process, it is clear how more and more consumers will rely on them in the future. So how will online reviews change in 2018 and years to come? Well, the following are some of the things to expect in the online reviews arena in 2018.
Shoppers Will Favor and Turn To Their Friend’s Reviews First
Considering that most reviews will be visible via social media, it is predicted that many shoppers will trust and turn to their friend’s reviews before checking reviews from strangers. If your friend is a photographer who is well versed with a camera and other related accessories, for instance, there are high chances that you will check his or her reviews (on cameras and accessories) before visiting your target product page.
More Personalized Reviews
Because the profile of the reviewers and the review information that they leave will be available online, future reviews will be more tailored to the reader. Just like Facebook and Google Ads that are already customized to meet users’ behavior and preferences, future reviews are likely to be based on the same approach. Consumers will be served with reviews from people with similar interests.
Many Reviews Will Be Linked To Social Media
By and large, the era of anonymous reviews is slowly coming to an end. In the coming years, anonymous product reviews will be archaic. Although it’s currently uncommon, in future customers will only value reviews that they believe are from real shoppers. The validity of a reviewer will easily be checked via his or her social profile.
Current review systems are more focused on location (or IP) proximity. In future, however, online review sites will also need the capability to keep consumer reviews as recent and relevant as possible. They will need to give consumers the opportunity to view reviews from the last 7 days, 30 days, 2 months or 3 months. Such kind of reviews will provide the customers with immediate information that they need than the average reviews over a given location’s entire history—which is even worse when there are fewer reviews.
Time proximity is, for instance, critical in the restaurant and other businesses where service is based on the people. In such businesses, old reviews don’t have the same weight as recent reviews because many of the employees or staff that delivered the old results—whether they are good or bad—may have ceased to be employees or left the establishments.
More Updates from Google
Based on the current status of online reviews and some of the recent updates that Google has made, it pays to think about some of the things that Google may change to increase the value of online reviews in future:
• More Reviews Will Be Favored: More reviews is an indicator of good results for everyone involved, and Google will, without doubt, work hard to encourage users to leave honest and reliable reviews
• Faster Consumer Decisions: In the event that the above changes by Google succeed, consumers would rely more on SERPs. This will, in turn, encourage faster consumer decisions.
With the highlighted predictions in mind, it is obvious that online reviews will become even more important. For retailers, now is the time to optimize your marketing strategy to attract the best reviews for your product and services. Online reviews are likely to dictate whether you stay in business or not.