According to a new survey from e-tailing group and PowerReviews, online shoppers are taking more time to read customer reviews before making purchase decisions. They are also reading more reviews to gain confidence.
Of the 1,000 respondents, 64 percent of the online shoppers spend 10+ minutes reading reviews, compared with 50 percent who did so in 2007, according to marketingprofs.com. Thirty-nine percent said they read eight or more reviews to be confident in judging a product (vs. 22 percent in 2007) and 12 percent say they read 16+ reviews (vs. five percent in 2007).
Overall, 64 percent said they consistently read online reviews prior to making product purchase decisions. When asked what website capabilities or features most influence product selection and purchase decisions, customer reviews and product ratings was the top selected answer (72 percent). That was closely followed by customer service information (69 percent), third-party buying category guides and expert opinions (64 percent). Top-rated product lists, as rated by customers, were named by 60 percent.
The role of third-party opinion in human decision-making is very important. That importance increases as the gravity of the decision increases. Interestingly, it is human nature to work through levels of investigation and then seek opinion to--consciously or unconsciously--confirm what has more or less been decided.
I can find opinions about Sunday brunch spots and laptop computers. How far will I go before I make an actual purchase? That depends on a variety of values and situational attributes. Is brunch with my mom and family or is it a cure for a hangover with my buddies? Is the laptop for client presentations or gaming at home? Did I get drunk with my mom and clients while presenting on my laptop?
Seriously, my point here is that we as consumers have more purchasing confidence today than any other time in history because we have access to this information. It is incumbent on us marketers to provide as many credible and authentic ways as possible for consumers to find and use the information in the way they see fit. At the end of the day, if the offer is not competitive, it won't sell. Now, the speed to that conclusion is ever increasing.
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