- Face to face word of mouth is the top influencer (79%) that tips consumers from the research to conversion
- Three quarter (75%) of shoppers are influenced by trustworthy online reviews in their path to purchase
- Company websites (70%) are the most influential owned media channel ahead of in-store (64%) and ads (60%)
Online reviews not only influence what people buy but are crucial toward forming a final purchase decision. Online reviews push shoppers from the influence stage on to the conversion stage during their path to purchase. However, the reviews need to be authentic and inspire trust among shoppers.
Three in four (75%) shoppers are influenced by trustworthy online reviews in their path to purchase just behind in-person word of mouth (79%) from trusted sources like friends and family.
This also highlights that shoppers pay attention to the quality of online reviews. They actively look for thorough and believable online reviews and are wary of fake reviews. Reviews are only as influential as they are credible. Shoppers have learnt over time to identify fake reviews from authentic ones. Review sections have turned into communities where shoppers can question the authenticity of a review and rate reviews themselves making sure that the most credible reviews are easiest to access.
In a culture of review policing, brands cannot stop at monitoring the number of reviews. They need to go deeper into picking out the most influential reviews and use them in their marketing materials – especially in-store marketing materials as more than three in five (64%) shoppers make purchase decisions based on such marketing materials. Reviews in physical stores act as testimonials that can connect with shoppers at a personal level, influencing their purchase decision.
Online reviews provide great content for a brand’s paid media outlets. A marriage of earned and paid media can prove to be a novel way ahead for many brands struggling to raise key metrics around brand perception. Another marketing assets where brands can incorporate online reviews is their own websites. Seven in ten (70%) shoppers find company websites influence their final purchase decision. As a branded website, shoppers already trust that the information is true. Brands can leverage this trust further by adding reviews to their website.
*for additional details on sources and follow up information see our full report – The State Of Online Reviews Among U.S. Shoppers