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The impact of verified customer reviews

20th Jun 2017
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A deeply researched study conducted by the Pew Research Center to cover its end of year Online Shopping and E-Commerce sector reports showed the impact of digital tools and other marketing platforms on the consumer buying behaviour of adults.

There are some really interesting points of note that can be taken from the reports, we took our time to critically study the content and what we discovered was the intense focus on the impact of verified reviews. Verified reviews from reputable customers have had a big influence on the consumer behaviour. This also means a wealth of information is made available to the brand managers. With this information, the brand can develop better marketing strategies to fill in any gaps in customer services and to inform the potential market about the most sought after selling points of the brand's products.

Consumers actually rely on reviews

The convenience of online shopping has been welcomed by a majority of the adults. However, they basically make their decisions based on the reviews about the products they are interested in buying. A majority of the consumers tend to seek the opinion of an existing brand customer who can give the man accurate review before making a purchase.

This predominantly happens in situations where the customers are buying the product or using the services for the first time. The consumers confirm that they feel compelled to read the reviews for products before buying it. This backs the claim that reviews to a large extent determine if a customer will make a purchase.

The extent to which reviews can influence the consumer purchasing behaviour hence increasing growth is an opportunity that can be used by the brand to source for vital information with which they can specifically tailor their services to suit the needs of the customers. Here should be indicated the huge success recorded by companies that have adopted the strategy of getting an accurate feedback from the customer about their experience when the use the brand's products.

The influence of reviews on consumer behaviour is also witnessed in the physical shop outlets. Customers can easily use their mobile devices to quickly read up reviews about a product they are interested in buying off the shelves. I have done this a couple of times and I see other customers do this effortlessly. The statistics show that an average of 61% represents adults within the ages of 18 to 55 years who will read up online reviews before buying products from physical shops.

Studying the report also revealed that the younger consumers have a stronger preference for online shopping. They practically buy everything online and this has reduced the cash purchases from this group of consumers. This is a development that should be carefully studied by brand managers.

Sourcing for reviews on social media

A majority of the consumers are not bothered about writing reviews, but many of them rely on reviews to make a good decision when they need to make a purchase. The reports from the survey backed this claim; half of the consumers that made up the sample were not in the habit of giving reviews.

What we see now is the increasing use of the social media to describe personal experiences with brands products and services.

Popular social media platforms like Facebook have made it easier for the users to drop their reviews on the business pages of their preferred brands. The new “call button” feature on a Facebook page provides an efficient way for the brand's customers and visitors to interact with the brand. Many business pages have buttons indicating a “shop now” sign to encourage the customers to visit the brands online retail store. Other innovative buttons like those tagged with a “learn more” sign will direct visitors to the brand's landing page on their official website.

Some brands can also have a better interaction with their customers by exchanging messages via chats and replies via Facebook Messenger app which is also integrated with the brand's official Facebook page. With these options available, brands have no reason not to promptly respond to any inquiries from customers. Prompt responses will encourage more visitors to use this medium of interaction.

The interaction experience on social media can be enhanced by creating customized greetings which the visitors will see and informative messages can be dropped for visitors who pop in when you will not be available to interact with them. Many brands and fast growing start-ups have also adopted the idea of creating a “Buy now” button on their websites to make it easy for the customers or visitors to make their purchases.

More than half of the consumers between the ages of 18 and 55 have consistently used the social media to share their experiences with different brands. The common perception that only negative reviews are provided online is not supported by the Pew reports which indicate that consumers give accurate reviews describing the exact experiences they have had.

How credible are online reviews?

There will always be reviews to read about various products or services, but how many of these reviews are actually credible?

Many customers who seek online reviews as a guide to making a buying decision actually confirm that they don’t believe these reviews to be very accurate. Plenty of of the respondents claim they are not able to confirm the authenticity of the reviews they read online.

Accessing the confidence consumers have on online reviews presents an interesting discovery. It is observed that younger consumers are more likely to believe online reviews to be accurate than the older customers. This means the brands have a task of targeting the older customers to find out how they can be confident enough to seek reviews for their products online.

This can be achieved by creating exclusive third party review platforms that can only be assessed by customers who have passed the brands verifications. Logging onto these platforms to read up reviews will be done with more confidence because the reviews have been provided by verified customers. Another way to achieve this is by using a medium of validating the social media customers before reviews are dropped. Providing a transparent medium through which reviewers fill out profiles accurately will give more credence to the reviews.

Reviews have been helpful in making purchase decisions. Almost 50% of the consumers believe that reviews can put the companies in check, while a third of the respondents also feel this way about government regulations in the retail sector.

Overall, we know that a majority of the consumers out there consistently rely on reviews to make better decisions. These reviews also have a huge influence on the quality assurance drive of the brands which is taken more seriously than the government regulations. Good reviews will give consumers confidence about the decisions they have made to make purchases.

Getting information from reviews has influenced both the online shopping and physical shopping markets. Reviews are important to the customers and this makes it even more important that the brands should look into the aspersions cast on the credibility of reviews posted online. If consumers can be more confident in the information they get from reviews posted online, they will be able to make better decisions for all purchases and the brands will continue in their strive to meet the needs of its customers satisfactorily.

 

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