An online product review is the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing and we cannot escape it. It is defined by how customers experience a brand and, like any experience, it evolves over time.
In 2013, the Nielson Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment reported that 77% of people were more likely to purchase a product that was recommended by friends and family. But, how does this translate to the online shopping?
Only a year earlier, the Local Consumer Review Survey showed that about 72% of people trusted online consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations. This has since grown to 84% in 2017! Increasingly, consumers are placing their trust in online peers. The data is clearly telling us that consumers actively source reviews to inform what they buy and who they buy it from. For online retailers, this means building review marketing strategies that are both accessible and insightful.
But as the inspiring Simon Sinek once said, we must start with WHY. Here are three reasons why online product reviews really matter:
Online product reviews increase vendor trust and reputation, playing an important role in the C2B relationship. This is even more important when you consider that, of the many offline consumers yet to convert, online security is a major barrier to entry (E-Commerce Industry Report 2017). Trust can help convert offline consumers online, and online consumers to loyal byers.
The Importance of Online Product Reviews from a Consumer’s Perspective (2012) reports that 85.57% of consumers read online product reviews before making a purchase. There is a strong relationship between reviews and sale conversation rates, and it has everything to do with the buyer’s funnel. A helpful product review is like a second opinion that reassures a buyer of their purchase, nudging them from the consideration to the purchase phase.
In the early phase of the purchasing decision, potential buyers will filter their options based on ratings. Essentially, it allows the consumer to break down their research into manageable sections.
Thereafter, reviews become important evaluation tools for making high-ticket purchases, which is crucial in the absence of the ability to ‘test” products such as automotive and consumer electronics (One Click Media). It is a complex form of user-generated content that is rich in SEO – using different wording or long-tail keywords could make the product more discoverable, specifically among certain audiences.
E-commerce sites stand to gain a competitive advantage from helpful online product reviews. Now that you know why they matter, learn how to get more online reviews.
Graham van der Merwe is the digital marketing manager at Outdoorphoto. His main focus is to meet business goals through strategic marketing campaigns that involve constant data analysis and trend watching.