Is there power in word of mouth? The answer is emphatically yes! Consumers find there are unyielding opportunities to seek out information about products and services making it a snap to research and establish a level of trust in a product, brand, or service before they buy. From a consumer’s point of view, who is taking advantage of this information and what is it doing for their shopping experience?
Take in some of the statistics cited below to get decent and recent perspectives of how consumers are influenced by customer reviews.
- When asked what sources “influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product” 71% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a “great deal” of “fair amount” of influence. (Harris Interactive, June 2010)
- 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Econsultancy, July 2009)
- 67% of shoppers spend more online after recommendations from online community of friends. (Internet Retailer, September 2009)
- 61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made. (Razorfish, 2008)
- Highly-rated products will increase likelihood of purchasing for 55% of consumers. (eConsultancy, July 2010)
- When making purchase decisions, North American Internet users trust recommendations from people they know and opinions posted by unknown consumers online more than advertisements on television, on the radio, in magazines and newspapers, or in other traditional media. (Nielsen Online, April 2009)
- 84% of consumers said they were more likely to check online for reviews prior to making a purchase compared to twelve months ago, according to a recent survey by Brand Reputation. (Retail Bulletin, October 2009)
- Customer reviews are an important research tool for online consumers, with 71 percent agreeing that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product. (Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, December 2008)
- The Trust in Advertising survey of 26,000+ found that Consumer Recommendations are the most credible form of advertising. (“Social Media Marketing: The Right Strategy for Tough Economic Times” Awareness, 2008)
- Consumers were willing to pay between 20% and 99% more for 5-star rated product than for a 4-star rated product, depending on the product category, (comScore/Kelsey, October 2007)
In summary, what these findings indicate is that trust from friends and family will likely never lose its high rankings in its influence factor. However, credibility from advice is not far behind, at all, from online social communities or even from unknown online users. Back to the universal spirit of sharing opinions, statistics show that online customer reviews definitely play a significant role in both purchasing decisions and increased spending on and offline. Trends show that this influence will only increase, and at a good pace.