As consumers, we all seek information about the products we want to purchase. We ask our neighbors, friends and family. We go online, read magazines and go to the store and ask questions. To what extent do these sources influence our behavior?
Online reviews have been shown to heavily influence consumer purchasing decisions. Both positive and negative reviews can easily tip the scales for a consumer looking to make a purchase.
Recent studies have shown that 87% of shoppers have had a purchasing decision positively reinforced by online reviews of a product or service. This is good news. On the flip side, 80% of consumers have allowed negative information they read online to change their mind about purchasing a product or service.
So if we know that consumers can be easily swayed by what they see online, it is important to know where they are going to find information prior to making a purchase. Most consumers are performing general product or service information searches (69%) or searching for consumer or user reviews (64%). Ratings websites, like Yelp, Kudzu or Consumer Reports, are also popular locations for consumers to search (50%). Service experts (43%) and blogs or articles (42%) receive less focus from consumers. Social media (12%) is the location least likely to be visited for information prior to making a purchase.
With consumers turning to websites, consumer review sites and other online sources prior to making purchases, it is essential that brands and businesses spend time cultivating their brand and monitoring their online reputation.