It’s pretty ironic when you think about it. As kids we were taught “don’t talk to strangers” and “don’t take advice from someone you don’t know.” Yet, somehow these wise words have slipped through the cracks as online consumption is at an all time high. Gone are the days of taking time out of our busy days to venture to different stores to compare products within the same category. With online shopping, consumers can simply order anything they want with the click of a button.
However, when we shop online, we are missing that tangible element of touching and seeing a product for ourselves. We’re allowing strangers who have already purchased the product to do this for us. We listen to their reviews and trust their advice. Indeed, we trust complete strangers.
Do online reviews really matter?
Customer reviews and purchasing advice have become invaluable in the e-commerce world and beyond. People want to buy goods or services that others have purchased, and have had and positive experience.
According to search agency BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when it comes to online shopping. By reading these customer reviews, we are essentially gaining back that “tangible” sensation of seeing and touching the product ourselves, albeit through somebody else’s eyes.
Let me throw some more numbers at you:
- 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. (BIA/Kelsey)
- 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions. (Dimensional Research)
- 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (BrightLocal)
- 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. (Podium)
Customers want and need to see these reviews. In fact, according to the marketing gurus at Yodle Insights, 40 percent of consumers just plain expect to see reviews when looking for products and businesses. It’s safe to say that the data speaks for itself. Ratings and reviews have become one of the most influential ways for retailers and brands to engage consumers at the point of purchase. For businesses and consumers, a star can make all the difference.
So, yes, maybe all of our lives we were told not to talk to strangers. But it’s pretty obvious that we are willing and eager to break that rule when it comes to buying a product. Customer needs and demands are constantly changing over time, and because of this, online reviews help consumers make decisions. In the end, these reviews have become so essential to the online shopping experience, we would be foolish not to take advice from strangers.
Building a strong and strategized brand is the first step in creating a positive online presence. If you’re not sure where to begin, we do. Let’s talk.