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Online reviews have huge impacts on large purchasing decisions

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When it comes to small purchases, consumers are typically more willing to take risks with their money – they don't search for online reviews every time they run out of toothpaste or mascara. When it comes to making more significant investments however, online reviews can make or break their purchasing decisions.

Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, collaborated with Northwestern University's Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center to study the habits of consumers in the market for expensive products. Moog explained to Internet Retailer that people are more likely to rely on Internet reviews when the risk level of the item they're looking to buy is higher. 

Not only are vehicles financial risks, since they're expensive, but they're also considered safety risks, since certain models are more secure than others. Due to these factors, consumers are very likely to rely on car dealership reviews when deciding where to buy. Researchers discovered that reviews served to reduce perceived risk, which made clients more comfortable committing to purchases.

"By providing consumers with more information they can use to make a final decision, ratings and reviews help raise consumers' confidence, leading to a greater willingness to pay," Moog explained.

Consumers who are worried about making risky purchases often rely on Internet reviews. Consumers who are worried about making risky purchases often rely on Internet reviews.

Notably, a certain amount of negative reviews also helped companies build trust with their consumers. The research determined that businesses with 100 percent positive reviews appeared fake or contrived to customers, while a few less-than-stellar reviews helped lend the businesses a degree of authenticity. Because of this, people are most likely to shop with companies that receive between 4.2 and 4.5 stars out of five.

It's crucial that your dealership cultivate a rich archive of online reviews so that consumers feel comfortable making a major investment with you. Encourage all satisfied customers to post authentic, in-depth reviews about your business so that more brand new consumers will be inspired to visit your dealership.