Why Your Online Reputation Really Matters

Some really interesting data from a Lightspeed Research study on the role of search, social media and online reputation in purchasing decisions. The debate about how much direct influence social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have on actual consumer purchasing actions has been a topic of hot debate over the last year. While it can certainly be difficult to quantify the exact impact of your social media efforts as they relate to actual sales, this survey sheds some light on the role that different types of content play in our buying decisions…

A few highlights from Lightspeed’s survey about pre-purchase behaviors in the past 6 months:

  • 62% of respondents said they read reviews online
  • 49% have checked the sites of competing retailers, brands and service providers
  • 49% saying they have checked price comparison sites
  • 19% said they have read online reviews of bricks-and-mortar stores or online shops
  • 27% had not conducted online pre-purchase research

Where are people seeking product and review information in their pre-purchase research:

  • 64% via search engines
  • 58% on shopping sites
  • 54% on Consumer Reports web site
  • 47% on company web sites
  • 32% on specialist web sites, with reviews
  • 21% shopping comparison sites
  • 7% have sought product review information via social networks

And, if we didn’t already know that online reputation management has become a critical part of any business model – and especially for business to consumer companies:

  • 21% of respondents said two bad reviews about a product or brand can lead them to change their minds about a potential purchase
  • 37% saying their threshold is three bad reviews
  • Only 3% don’t look for any kind of reviews

What does this mean for you and your business?

My two takeaways are that search still matters – two thirds of people still use search as a tool when doing pre-purchase research. The idea that SEO no longer matters, simply is not true today. Second, your online reputation has become a mission critical business priority.

If you have not started to address online reputation management, you need to at least start thinking about it. This data is a small sample (1500 people), but the behavior trends are quite stunning. Pretending that online reviews don’t matter is a recipe for disaster. You can take control of your online reputation – it just takes knowledge, a plan and time. You can’t afford to ignore it any more.

Need help? Get in touch, we’d be happy to help!

See the full Lightspeed Research survey results here.

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