They are for mine.
And I'm not completely sure that 'important' is the right word.
'Crucial', 'Essential', 'Vital' and 'Critical' might be better words to describe the effect that online reviews of my products have on my business. It may have a lot to do with the fact that my products are cosmetics and spa, bath & body products - things that are best experienced in person. Texture, color, consistency, scent and appearance all stimulate the senses and contribute to the overall impression of the product.
But buying online, which is becoming more and more a way of life for many people, is prohibitive toward the aestetic impact of my products. And while I do offer assorted opportunities in a variety of different price ranges (including free! - see http://www.bellissimamineralmakeup.com/) to get my products into the hands of prospective buyers, these options are limited to the number of people who see them. So the next best thing, if they can't try the product themselves, is to read independent evaluations by people who have.
There's no better sales tool, as far as I'm concerned, than the unbiased, fair and balanced testimonial of a person with first-hand knowledge of my product. As much as I (and my friends and my family) enjoy using my products, it does little but boost my self esteem. And while that's important too, it doesn't help much with sales. Online reviews allow me to direct potential buyers to a judgement that's not my own, where they can acquire more details and information from a different point of view and they may be able to learn via someone else's experiences, whether something might be right for them.
An impartial, objective and completely unsolicited review is the best advertising my business can get. Someone who gains nothing (nor loses anything, either) by offering their opinion is someone who earns respect and gains an audience who will listen to their advice, suggestions and guidance.
I've been very fortunate to have had Bellissima reviewed online a few times. In each instance, I had no prior knowledge of the slant or status of the opinions that would be given - and in several cases, I was completely unaware that a review would even be published.
Amy's wearing Bellissima
Bali Lagoon EyeShadow
One was published just today by Amy of Chicy Creations on her blog:
Bellissima's very first review was published back in June of '08 by Sarah of the E-Tailer's Mall:
I am unbelieveably honored and beyond thrilled to have such professional and incredibly knowledgeable women take the time to review Bellissima - and publish such detailed, in-depth reviews, at that. Please be sure to post a comment and say hello if you drop by their sites!
There's an old adage that says 'If they like it, they'll tell 10 people; if they don't like it, they'll tell 100'. If you don't believe it, think about the last movie you saw and walked out on or the last restaurant you went to and got bad service. Then think about how many friends you told about your experiences.
Take a moment out today and think about a product you really like (preferably handmade!) - and then tell as many people as you can! It will most definitely be important - and mean the world - to that business owner!