What is Review Management?

A One-Stop Guide to Review Management. It explains the process of generating and showcasing reviews, essential to building trust and increasing sales.


What is Review Management?

Review management is the process of encouraging, nurturing, and managing online reviews of your brand, products, or content. The phrase "review management" is something you may hear more often when used in the context of online retail, while with service-based industries, like eye care or plumbing repair, you might hear "online reputation management" with a higher frequency.

Review management is a way to demonstrate social proof. Studies have found that people are more likely to take action when they can observe that other people have done it before them. This is why the most successful marketing campaigns almost always leverage proven results over claims about a product's benefits.

Most people think review management means reaching out to recent customers asking for feedback on a product or service. This is true — it can be part of review generation plan — but it's only a small component of the bigger picture. There's a lot more included in an effective review management strategy, including:

  • Monitoring reviews to detect trends.
  • Adding reviews to areas on your website where they'll have the biggest impact.
  • Responding to positive and negative reviews.
  • Aggregating review data for insights on your products or your brand.

If you're new to the eCommerce space, you might wonder, should I be focusing on a review management strategy? The answer is yes. Even if you're getting feedback organically, the only way to ensure consistent, positive reviews is to engage with them now and make sure you're well equipped to adjust to changes in the future.

Why Is Managing Reviews Important?

Reviews of your brand and your products are a reflection of you as an entrepreneur. They're what consumers think of you and the products you've worked hard to design and create to meet the demand.

Reviews doesn't just tell you where you stand in the eyes of your customers, though. They matter to new, prospective customers even more.

Consumers Trust Reviews

According to BrightLocal, 3 out of 4 consumers trust online reviews more than personal recommendations, illustrating just how much word-of-mouth advertising has taken a backseat in the digital age.

This trust doesn't just happen instantly, though. 90% of consumers read between 5-10 product reviews before making a purchase. This means it's not enough to simply have reviews — you need a consistent stream of high-quality reviews.

Here are the four standards your reviews have to meet as part of an effective online review management strategy:

1. Review Sentiment (Positivity)

The sentiment of your reviews is a representation of how many positive reviews make up the total number. For example, if two of your first four reviews are positive and the other two are negative, your review sentiment is at 50 percent.

On many review platforms, like Google, Amazon, and Yelp, sentiment is expressed in a star rating, which is an important factor in purchasing decisions: a retail industry report found that 82% of consumers said they wouldn't consider buying from a business with a lower than 3-star rating.

2. Review Consistency

How often are your reviews coming in? The answer is a representation of your review consistency — the frequency of new reviews, good or bad. When reviews come in steadily, it sends a message to consumers that a brand or a product must be high-quality, based on the number of other people that have made the decision to trust it.

3. Review Quantity

We already mentioned that over 90% of shoppers read more than 5 reviews before making a decision, but how much does the total number of reviews you have really matter? As it turns out, a lot.

One report looked at over 200,000 online business profiles, and found that the average total number of reviews per business was 82. The businesses that had more than 82 reviews earned 54% more revenue than average, while those that had less than 82 earned around 15% less.

4. Review Recency

Why is it important for your pages to display recent reviews? One reason is that 69% of consumers don't think reviews older than 3 months are relevant in their consideration of whether or not to trust a brand with their business.

This is part of the reason why having an effective review management strategy is important. It doesn't matter how long you've had reviews coming in in the past,

Review Management vs. Testimonial Gathering

Some online business owners think positive reviews from a third-party review site and testimonials on their brand's web pages accomplish the same goal. It's true that they're both indicators of social proof — i.e. another person trusted the brand and had a positive experience — but there's a key difference: consumers know that customer testimonials are chosen by the brand in question.

When you're displaying a select few overwhelmingly positive reviews on your website but nothing else, it's essentially the same as censoring them — and that may be worse than having lots of negative reviews. In fact, 62% of consumers won't even consider making a purchase if they think the business owner is censoring the feedback that appears on their product pages.

Review Management Matters

All these factors go into a customer's decision whether to buy from you or go somewhere else, something that should underline the importance of online reputation management as a whole: the digital economy has never been more competitive, and the smallest difference between brands, businesses, and products can give you the advantage you need to be successful.