Top consumer goods companies strategize carefully about which is the best way to influence customers. The Influential marketing has been one of the most powerful marketing tactics, which has attracted a lot of new customers and yielded a good Return On Investment.
Consider a shoe and clothing shop Zappos.com for instance, Zappos got 75 percent of the customers through word of mouth marketing. Zappos.com is one of the best ecommerce companies examples in United States that focused on providing extensive customer service and inspired its customers to spread the word among their family and friends. Very soon, Zappos.com increased its sales by $1 billion and customers by 7.4 million (Huffingtonpost). The base for all of this is the power behind influencing. Customers would use the product because they are aware of its usage and circulate the value among their family and friends.
But the paradigm for influencing customers is diverging into many digital platforms. The collection of reviews and ratings is one such instance, which is becoming an increasingly important brand touchpoint. Online reviews are the substitutes of purchase decisions, enabling companies to leverage their brand success. A survey by Reevoo indicates that 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates and produce an average of 18% uplift in sales. For instance, every time the star ratings of restaurants increased by one star on Yelp.com, the restaurants were able to see the improvement in their sales by nearly 5% to 9% (smallbiztrends; an online publication for small business).
An article on forbes.com suggested that 88% of the customers consider reviews as the most important evidence for product quality and customer experiences. In fact, Express Watches, a client of authorised Seiko watch dealers, could increase their sales by 58.29% when they had positive customer reviews widget on an ecommerce website.
Initially, the watch company had to make sure that their online presence is perceived as trustworthy. In the first place, they ensured that their customers are happy with their product. Then they came up with an idea of adding “Add to basket” widget under some potential customer reviews. The sales soared up to 58.29% highlighting the necessity of online reviews for every business.
But, on the other hand, small businesses are facing huge challenges of receiving biased reviews and ratings. The fake negative reviews are misleading the buyers and taking away the reputation for sellers. According to a survey by smallbiz, 27 percent of consumers only trust reviews and believe they are legitimate and 22 percent of customers do not consider to buy the products after reading one or two negative comments; that could take away 70% of potential customers. So, what if most negative reviews are fake or it’s your competitor strategy to put you down? Fake reviews are not only a threat to sellers, but also for buyers. Most buyers are being mislead about product quality. The dozens of manipulative reviews praising the business experiences are deceiving many consumers.
Here is an interesting example of how thousands of customers were made to believe about the existence of a fake restaurant in London on one of the most reputed travel advising portals. A London based writer showed how easy it was to manipulate ratings and reviews on this website and make a fake restaurant #No 1 on it. The writer initially created a demand for non existing restaurant called The Shed at Dulwich, by asking his friends and family to write good reviews on the travel advising site.
He gathered many of his friends and even paid some of them to write a review. To avoid fraud detection algorithm on this travel portal, each of them posted from different computers and with different accounts. The writer did not provide any address for the restaurant and ensured that the booking is only through appointment system. Every time, a new customer would contact the spoof restaurant to book a table, the writer would augment more interest and excitement by saying “the restaurant is booked for the next six weeks”. He uploaded interesting pictures, interesting menus, customised to various moods of customers and soon the restaurant got a top spot.
When an online publication fortune.com asked the motive behind this, the writer shared his professional experience of writing paid reviews in PR agency for their reputed clients in fashion and hospitality industries. Thus he planned to do something like this, to caution the world about getting deceived by the firms.
This is the only such example, but yet there are plenty of evidences that ratings are being manipulated on these review sites. Thus, all of the information on internet cannot be trusted unless it’s verified.
“It’s not only the matter of trust, but your hard earned money is at stake”
A solution for all of these problems is having a verified ratings and review system that can help buyers and sellers to trust each other.
Monetha aims to eliminate manipulated reviews by adding a layer of protection that verifies the transaction between buyers and sellers, before reviews are being left. The app allows the users to rate or review the experience only after making deals. The algorithm verifies the profile’s identity, deals made, past deals and the reviews. The blockchain model records past deals, past transactions, thus reduces the risk of manipulation. In this case, seller’s sales cannot be damaged by fake negative reviews and it’s impossible for buyer’s trust to be damaged by manipulated reviews. Sellers get additional benefit of boosting their reputation by listing verified reviews and can confidently share it on social media or any other platform.
With globalisation; the growing number of business made with strangers around the world is increasing the risk of trust and manipulation. Buying and selling with complete strangers has raised many concerns about trust, reputation and money. With these ongoing challenges, it is favorable to do deals with someone who is verified, who is genuine and trustworthy. We at Monetha help you do this.
Written by monethian – Chaitra