Why user-generated reviews matter in online retail


Earlier this month, eMarketer wrote about a study conducted by The e-tailing group and Power Reviews that again underlined the fact that a big chunk of Internet users research online before making any type of purchase.

They hold the opinion that conducting their own research online saves their time and makes them confident about their purchases. You probably knew that. Confidence, peer-to-peer, user reviews, influence, social media, trust, online media and information gathering prior to actual purchase are closely related.

The study also found that the sites of retailers play a critical role in the research phase of the buying journey of “consumers”. Now, isn’t that great news?

People actually visit your site to gather information before they buy. I guess it again underlines the importance of decent information and content. And, obviously, of inbound marketing. Consumers find you, you don’t find them (as much as you used too).

Now, let’s put two and two together here. People trust peer reviews. And people come to your site to gather information. So why not provide user reviews yourself?

You might have read this great case study of an email marketing campaign that integrated community-generated content and booked some serious results with it.

But I am not talking about email marketing now. I’m talking about the sites of retailers (although the mentioned case was about an email campaign that sent recipients to customer reviews on a retailer site and the results showed that it worked…).

OK, customer reviews on retailer’s sites, it seems obvious, right? And, indeed, what did the study find? That a site lacking in user generated reviews can lead to a loss of a big chunk of potential clients.

The increasing role of Facebook

Customer reviews positively affected the purchase of 71% of respondents while only 25% held similar views about social networking sites like Facebook, the “2010 Social Shopping Study” showed.

However, an earlier study conducted by The e-tailing group revealed that Facebook had become so popular that many retailers planned to have a presence on the king of social networks, rather than having customer reviews.

What about Twitter? Only 17% of surveyed “consumers” held the opinion that Twitter had a significant effect on their buying decisions.

Similarly, sharing tools were rated lowly by many shoppers but they form first preference for merchants in their social strategies,eMarketer wrote.

2010 social shopping study
J-P De Clerck is a former online publisher, experienced interactive marketer and serial blogger. He’s a 360° thinker and believes in people, peer-to-peer and the power of content. He spends his spare time writing, doing stuff with the kids and experimenting. You can connect with him via Twitter

Bookmark and Share

Join me on Twitter

Join me on Facebook

Join me in the Social Marketing Forum

Subscribe to the newsletter