Companies can build customer trust by providing product reviews to assist customers in making confident purchasing decisions. Recent research has shown that product reviews are a key way for companies to build consumer trust and help customers make confident purchase decisions. Consumers looking for reliable information about a product trust consumer opinions most. However, this does not mean that online shoppers do not value subject matter expert reviews (SME), for certain product types.
SME reviews are trusted by consumers for certain product types. In some cases, they may even prefer them to consumer reviews. More than 4 out 10 respondents (44%) prefer to read reviews from subject matter experts when purchasing electronic products. The same holds true for financial services (44%). Another two-fifths of consumers (40%) prefer to read reviews from SME when purchasing automotive products. These read more thoughtful purchases are favored by fewer customers who will look beyond reviews of products such as groceries (23%), and apparel (22%).
SME reviews may be preferred for consideration purchases due to a decrease in trust in consumer reviews. Approximately 1 in 4 shoppers (24%) reported that they had lost trust in consumer reviews.
Separately, recommendations from micro-influencers are trusted more than those from super-influencers, which aligns with where marketers are placing their own trust for campaigns. All told, despite just 28% saying they trust influencer recommendations, more than three-quarters (77%) who have purchased an influencer-recommended product were satisfied.
While consumer reviews are consistently the most trusted source of information for shoppers, the nuances of consumer reviews can impact trustworthiness. Online shoppers are increasingly valuing user-generated content. Bazaarvoice witnessed a 17% increase in photos submitted to their network and an additional 67% in photo submissions to their Influenster community.
These nuances have a different impact on different ages. Shoppers between the ages of 18 and 44 are more likely than shoppers 45+ to trust reviews. These shoppers are less likely to request photos in reviews.
This survey revealed clear consumer preferences in review types and how companies respond to feedback. Indeed, previous research shows that whether or not a company responds to reviews is one criterion consumers use to judge the business.
Regardless of the form, 8 out of 10 shoppers believe that brands must respond to negative or positive reviews. Over 9 out of 10 shoppers expect a reply to a question on social media within 24 hours. 40% expect it within one hour. Companies must not let reviews go unanswered if they wish to keep them as an asset.
How to determine if a review is legitimate
Most product reviews are legitimate. But it’s also known that companies will pay people to fabricate statements about their products online, especially since reviews are more important than ratings to many. This is an old advertising trick. Businesses would pay for glowing reviews of their products in magazines and TV to make them look good.
You can trust product reviews you find online. However, you should verify such reviews with BuyersGuide.org or other trusted sites that have high review standards.
Are you unsure if a review is genuine? These are the things you should look out for.
Is the site able to verify owners?
First, where did the review come from? Review collection sites allow anyone to write reviews for products or services without needing to verify their identity, or even check if the item is actually theirs.
Sites that verify the product owners and take other steps to ensure that people can review a product are more valuable than others are worth your time. Trusted sites offer a better way to get an impartial opinion before you make a purchase.
What is a Review?
To determine the quality and content of the review, you can also examine it. For example, product reviews that use hyperbolic language, or that claim that a given product is either the best or worst thing ever made, are probably written with an agenda in mind, whether it’s to hype up a product to drive sales or designed to tank the review scores of a competing product.
Balanced and well-written reviews, on the other hand, are more reliable. Reviews that are balanced and rationally written and use common language or real-life anecdotes can be trusted. You don’t need to use fancy language to write a good review. It just has to be honest.
Are our Product Reviews Trustable?
You should only trust reviews that are genuine or written by real people who want to share their experiences with the product. Avoid reading reviews that appear biased or have an agenda.