User reviews and friends’ recommendations hold the most sway with consumers when making a purchase.
Consumers find social content, such as friends’ recommendations and consumer reviews, twice as important as traditional information sources such as recommendations from sales assistants or advertising when making a purchase, new research reveals.
Reevoo surveyed 1,000 UK consumers on shopping habits, and the results show that a cumulative 52 per cent of those surveyed rate friends’ recommendations as influential and 48 per cent are influenced by consumer reviews online. Conversely only 24 per cent and 22 per cent respectively rated advertising and recommendations from sales assistants as significant.
Car buyers and holiday makers rely on reviews
88 per cent of those surveyed said they sometimes or always consult reviews when making a purchase, and 60 per cent said they were more likely to purchase from a site that has customer reviews on. Travel and automotive are the sectors that rely on user reviews the most heavily, with almost a third always reading reviews when booking travel and nearly 30 per cent always reading reviews when choosing a car.
Financial services is another area where reviews are becoming increasingly important, with nearly 20 per cent saying they always read online reviews when buying insurance and more than one in seven consumers stating they always read reviews before choosing a bank, mortgage or loan provider.
Tapping into mobile browsing and social networking
Nearly 80 per cent of consumers using two or more channels to shop. Amongst the most popular channels with these consumers are mobile and social networks.
Shopping and researching products via mobile has increased from 38 per cent to 46 per cent in a year in the UK. Using mobiles to shop and research whilst inside a shop is rising, so retailers and marketers should consider this connected shopping experience when planning a mobile shopping strategy, says Reevoo.
Using Facebook as a shopping and research tool has increased by almost 40 per cent, with a majority of users of the social network now researching purchases or seeking friends’ advice on the site. Asking friends for product suggestions or checking out what they’ve bought and recommend has increased by around 50 per cent in a year, while purchasing through Facebook has doubled.
The one social shopping channel that seems to be on the wane is group buying sites. Regular users have more than halved, compared to this time last year. Consumers are finding new and different ways of social shopping as the space diversifies.
Social shopping requires trust
However, a key element in the success of social shopping and reviews is trust. WThe research found that two thirds of consumers have concerns about the trustworthiness of reviews. More people than ever suspect positive reviews might be paid for and bad reviews hidden.
The rise of false reviews has been well documented in the media and consumers are becoming savvy to this tactic. In fact, the research shows that shoppers consistently trust independently collected reviews more than twice as much as reviews collected by the business being reviewed.
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