New report examines the value of customer reviews in e-commerce

The digital age has brought unimaginable volumes of information and disinformation at our disposal so far, to the point where many have lost faith in the reliability of the content they read online. A combination of long-standing consumer skepticism of marketing and the combative political environment in which we now live has accentuated and fueled the continued distrust of the Internet as a trusted source of truth.

But that doesn’t mean the era of trust is behind us – credible market research shows that trust is a critical factor in consumers’ buying decisions, and that’s part of why we we turn to a particular brand or buy one product over the others. According to the numbers, the one area where buyers still show unwavering confidence is the opinion of their peers, which makes reviewing the products, services and companies that provide them one of the most important factors. for the creation of brands.

This is equally true in Australia and New Zealand, where 70% of online shoppers read reviews, while 40-45% identify them as central factors in their purchase. Not only do consumers say that reading reviews is an enjoyable part of the shopping experience, an entire industry has grown around collecting, interpreting and communicating reviews. All of this serves to recognize that reading and leaving reviews has become a central part of modern shopping behavior.

This phenomenon is at the center of a new report co-authored by Inside Retail and Trustpilot, a leading consumer opinion platform that aims to create a currency of independent trust. The report, “What Did Other Shoppers Say”, offers consumer insight as well as practical tips to help businesses understand the importance of reviews and their growing relevance in contemporary e-commerce.

One of the main lessons from reports is the value of negative reviews. While businesses naturally tend to expect rave approvals from their customers, 72% of Australian consumers say they are more likely to make a buying decision based on a mix of positive reviews rather than doing trust in an unlikely chain of over-enthusiastic recommendations. Ranges of human opinions have far more credibility among suspicious buyers than unlikely volumes of praise.

This common wisdom comes against a backdrop of heightened suspicion of overt marketing campaigns, with 71% of Australians believing that brands tell lies in their communications – which is why 41% of this market refuse to read advertising material of all kinds, with around 60-65% of the Australian / New Zealand market choosing consumer reviews as the primary source of information when it comes to researching brands and products.

With trust levels so low for merchants’ own claims, it’s no wonder that 70% of shoppers report user-generated content, such as reviews, testimonials, stars, and images / videos from consumers using products, has a big impact on their decisions. to make a purchase.

As an important part of the co-branded report, Trustpilot offers four detailed pieces of information in the form of tips for Australian and New Zealand brands on how to optimize reviews to generate maximum brand trust. Most important of these is the need for businesses to work explicitly on building trust marks by collecting and responding to reviews – whether positive or negative – and using review widgets at every point. marketing contact. They also need to focus on their SEO search profile in order to stand out organically online rather than appearing non-authentically on search results as ad placements – and the accumulation of customer reviews is a particularly effective method for obtaining better rankings.

Advertisers who engage in paid campaigns need to improve the effectiveness of those campaigns through social verification, creating an environment that attracts reviews from Google sellers. This approach has been shown to increase click-through rates by up to 10 percent.

The report also advises retailers to learn more about customer preferences so they can be sure they’re delivering what consumers demand. This generates a higher return on customer loyalty and offers a wealth of information in the form of user reviews, which in turn serve to attract new customers.

The Scope of the What Other Buyers Said? Is designed to spark a renewed appreciation among retailers for the powerful benefits reviews can have on their business. The information and guidance provided in the report can help businesses meet the expectations of their customers and prepare to become more responsive to emerging consumer trends, thereby keeping them on top of the game.

The report will be launched later this week. Book a reputation check here to find out how your current brand reputation is impacting your business.

Joseph P. Harris