Unlocking success with customer advocacy: Harnessing the power of online reviews

Published on: Mon, 18 Mar 2024
By: Claire, redwigwam

In today’s competitive digital landscape, consumers have an abundance of choice at their fingertips. The significance of customer advocacy, via online reviews cannot be overstated.

These testimonies wield immense power, shaping the perceptions and decisions of prospective customers. Whether they are looking for a holiday, picking where or what to eat, or looking for new tech (plus so much more), the opinion of other consumers carries significant weight in their decision-making process.

So let’s look in more detail at the crucial role online reviews play in the retail sphere, looking at their impact on consumer behaviour, brand reputation and ultimately, brand success.

Harness the power of online reviews

Chat to one of our expert team about unlocking success with customer advocacy using the redwigwam platform.

1. Trust and reliability

The statistics from a recent survey by BrightLocal paint a compelling picture of the trustworthiness of online reviews.

Among consumers aged 18-34, a staggering 91% place as much faith in these digital testimonials as they would in recommendations from their closest friends or family members. This finding highlights a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour, where online reviews have evolved to become the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth referrals.

Such a high level of trust underscores the crucial role positive reviews play in establishing credibility for businesses in the eyes of their potential customers.

When faced with a myriad of options, consumers are more likely to gravitate towards products or services backed by glowing reviews, viewing them as reliable and worthy of them spending their money. And in addition, the significant trust placed in online reviews by 84% of all consumers further emphasises their importance as a key factor influencing purchasing decisions across pretty much all age groups and demographics.

For retailers, this reliance on online reviews underscores the need to prioritise reputation management and cultivate a positive online presence to win over discerning consumers who are looking for authentic and trustworthy recommendations.

2. Brand Reputation

Insights from a report by Moz shed light on the profound impact online reviews can have on a company's brand reputation and ultimately, its bottom line.

The stark reality is a solitary negative review has the potential to deter nearly a quarter of potential customers, highlighting the fragility of brand perception in the digital era.

And what’s more, the report also found approximately 40% of consumers would actively avoid a business based on just one unfavourable review, serving as a sobering reminder of the immense influence wielded by online feedback.

Conversely, the data also reveals a glimmer of hope for businesses who maintain a star rating between 4.0 and 4.7 on platforms like Google. These businesses not only enjoy higher visibility but also attract more clicks from prospective customers, illustrating the direct correlation between positive online sentiment and consumer engagement.

For retailers, these findings show the critical importance of monitoring and managing online reviews to safeguard and enhance brand reputation. By actively addressing negative feedback and cultivating a portfolio of positive reviews, businesses can fortify their brand image, instil confidence in consumers, and ultimately, drive growth and success in the fiercely competitive retail landscape.

3. Purchase Decisions

The impact of online reviews on purchase decisions cannot be overstated.

A staggering 93% of consumers acknowledge the substantial influence digital testimonials wield over their buying choices. Online reviews play a pivotal role in shaping consumer behaviour and guiding purchasing decisions in today's digital marketplace.

Research from the Spiegel Research Centre reinforces this notion, indicating products boasting positive reviews experience a remarkable 270% increase in conversion rates. This data highlights the persuasive power of social proof in driving consumer engagement and ultimately, facilitating transactions.

For retailers, these insights emphasise the critical importance of actively managing and leveraging online reviews to establish credibility, build trust, and ultimately, drive sales.

By prioritising the cultivation of positive reviews and responding effectively to customer feedback, businesses can effectively influence purchase decisions, enhance customer satisfaction, and position themselves for long-term success in a competitive retail landscape.

4. SEO and Visibility:

In the realm of search engine optimization (SEO), online reviews have significant influence over a business's visibility and search rankings.

Moz's research indicates these digital testimonials contribute substantially, accounting for approximately 10% of the criteria used by Google and other search engines to determine the ranking of search results. This reinforces the importance of maintaining a robust portfolio of positive reviews to enhance online visibility and improve organic search performance.

Insights from Womply highlight the tangible benefits for businesses who actively engage with review platforms. Those who claim their free listings on at least four review sites tend to see a 36% increase in search traffic on average.

There is a symbiotic relationship between online reviews and SEO, emphasising the critical role proactive reputation management plays in bolstering a business's online presence and driving traffic to its digital storefront.

For retailers, optimising review strategies not only enhances search visibility but also fosters greater brand exposure and customer engagement in the increasingly competitive digital landscape.

5. Brand Advocacy:

Brand advocacy thrives with satisfied customers, whose loyalty can bring remarkable returns for businesses.

Research by Invesp reveals on average, loyal customers are valued at up to 10 times the value of their initial purchase. This statistic shows how it is worth investing in cultivating a base of satisfied and loyal clientele.

The findings from BrightLocal further emphasise the role online reviews play in fostering brand advocacy. With 84% of consumers placing equal trust in online reviews as they do in personal recommendations, businesses stand to gain from the advocacy of their satisfied customers in the digital sphere.

Harnessing the power of positive online testimonials not only amplifies brand credibility but also extends the reach of advocacy efforts, enabling businesses to tap into the vast potential of word-of-mouth marketing on digital platforms. For retailers, nurturing brand advocates and actively encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences online can serve as a potent strategy for driving customer loyalty, amplifying brand visibility, and ultimately, driving sustained business growth.


The significance of online reviews in the retail landscape cannot be overstated. From building trust and credibility with potential customers to shaping brand reputation, influencing purchase decisions, enhancing SEO, and fostering brand advocacy, online reviews serve as a linchpin in the success of modern retailers.

The statistics speak volumes, showing the pivotal role positive reviews play in driving consumer engagement, loyalty, and ultimately, business growth. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms to guide their purchasing decisions, retailers must prioritise reputation management and actively cultivate a positive online presence. By leveraging the power of social proof, retailers can not only influence consumer behaviour but also strengthen their brand image, enhance visibility, and develop long-term customer relationships.

In an era defined by digital connectivity and consumer empowerment, embracing and harnessing the power of online reviews is not just advantageous. It's essential for retailers striving to thrive in today's competitive marketplace.

Harness the power of online reviews

Chat to one of our expert team about unlocking success with customer advocacy using the redwigwam platform.