Posted April 26, 2010 5:42 pm by with 5 comments

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The forthcoming 2010 Social Shopping Study by PowerReviews shows a marked increase in consumer trust in and reliance on online product reviews. However, their trust isn’t blind—online consumers are also becoming more skeptical of those reviews, willing to take them with a grain of salt.

The majority of online consumers use reviews as research, and more people are reading more and more reviews. Reports MediaPost:

Results from the 2010 survey indicate that 57% of shoppers trust customer reviews as a research source along with other corroborating information, but 35% question whether they are biased. Factors that degrade trust in reviews suggest that 50% do not provide enough reviews to make an educated decision, 39% doubt they are written by real customers, and 38% said a lack of negative reviews or limited information. . . .

The survey indicates that consumers trust reviews more now than in 2007. About 41% of survey respondents said they read between four and seven reviews in 2010 before they felt comfortable with a purchase, down from 46% in 2007; 17% vs. 28% read between two and three; 27% vs. 17% read between eight and 15; 7% vs. 3% between 16 and 25, respectively.

Six in ten consumers research for a week or more before a purchase decision, though almost 30% only research a few hours. Although they don’t always believe what they read, credibility is one of the top reasons why people prefer to research online rather than talk to a sales associate. Nearly two in three consumers spend at least 10 minutes reading customer reviews.

The survey was conducted with over 1000 consumers who shop at least quarterly and spend at least $250 annually online.

What do you think? How can customer reviews help your clients (or you)?

  • As the web becomes more and more apart of our lives, I believe consumers are learning to see through all the marketing gimmicks. Ultimately, “Sincerity” is what is going to “Sell.”
    .-= Gregg Brown´s last blog ..Building a Well Rounded Search Engine Strategy =-.

  • I agree with Greg, as people get used to wandering the internet, picking up on things like fraudulent reviews becomes easier.

  • I agree with Greg and Barry that consumers are smart and have a great sense for fraudulent reviews, but themain issue is that, while consumers can pick out INDIVIDUAL REVIEWS, more and more companies are using the OVERALL RATINGS (and more consumers use the ratings as their starting criteria) to guide users to the initial selection,

    Trust and Credibility need to remain a focus if we don’t want customers to abandon this valuable tool.

  • I agree with the above three comments too. Yes, consumers are aware of fraudulent reviews, however the fact that cannot be disagreed is that there might be other shoppers like them who are die hard fans of online shopping and would be much excited to share their true experiences. The challenge to the consumers here is to choose the right site to read their reviews. Today most of the vendors offer reviewing options and its wise to read the reviews in the most trusted vendor sites. Anyways the shopping decision also greatly depends on the traditional word of mouth and friends suggestions too. So a combined decision would make it work! Thanks for the review it is something to be noted.

  • LUV

    Years ago, I didn’t think that consumer reviews really mattered. That is until I started shopping more often online. I think we’ve all experienced buying something we didn’t expect online. After we purchase is when we’ll search about the problem and see if anyone else had the same problem and BAM when you see a whole list of complaints a sense of anger arouses followed by embarrasment and finally sync in as ingnorance. In the end we all still have to decide what to believe in. But for me, with reviews it’s just made it easier to find the information we’re looking for to make a rational decsion.
    .-= LUV´s last blog ..ป้องกันการถูกขายอีเมลล์ให้กับสแปมเมอร์ =-.