You probably already do this as habit. You’re interested in a shiny new gadget, so you enter relevant keywords in Google or Bing and start scanning the search engine result page (SERP). Your eyes immediately gravitate towards listings with the bright orange stars –these, of course, are ratings provided by fellow online consumers. There are several listings with these orange stars, so you immediately start comparing the numbers – 4.1 stars with 12 reviews, a 4.7 with two reviews or the 4.8 with more than 100? The choice is obvious and you click the listing with the highest rating and most reviews.
Facts support this behavior: 88 percent of consumers rank online reviews on par with personal recommendations, according to the 2016 local consumer review survey by BrightLocal, a SEO marketing and research firm. What makes this stat even more remarkable is the idea consumers trust the opinion of a complete stranger when making a buying decision. And the decision to buy happens quickly – 90 percent of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business, adds BrightLocal.