As retailers, we have become increasingly knowledgeable about the power of online customer reviewers. And we recognize that many shoppers place more weight on these reviews than on retailer-sponsored communications.
Let’s look at some research by Trustpilot, a customer review consultant to business. According to eMarketer:
“In early 2016, Trustpilot surveyed 1,132 Internet users ages 18 and older. In all, 80.7% said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few users said reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to buy. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant. When it comes to when users are most likely to read reviews, roughly half said it’s while they’re on a site, before adding the item to their cart. Nearly a quarter said they were more likely to read reviews earlier in the process: while on a company’s Web site, but prior to actively shopping. Another 18.5% read reviews primarily before visiting a company’s Web site at all.”
Retail Touchpoints wrote this about Trustpilot’s research:
“While the majority of consumers believe online reviews help them along their shopping journey (88%), only a fraction of these customers (18%) actually trust that all the information contained within the reviews is valid, according to Trustpilot. This significant gap reveals that it is critical for businesses to not only incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience, but to deploy them in a way that will build trust and transparency with the consumer. To close the gap between those seeking out trustworthy online reviews and those who believe the reviews are fully authentic, Trustpilot recommends that retailers gain a greater understanding of how shoppers read, write. and believe in online reviews. Half of consumers feel the overall rating of a review or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback to it are the most important factors when it comes to reading online reviews. Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted for a product is more relevant.”
“The report identified several best practices to help businesses create more trustworthy customer feedback strategies, including: ensuring online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience; giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion; responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved; and analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products.”
Here is further information and advice directly from Trustpilot: an infographic and a YouTube video.