A new study by PowerReviews and the e-tailing consultancy group found that customer reviews have the largest impact on people's decision to buy something online.
"The findings of this year's survey indicated that today's consumers are sophisticated shoppers who dedicate a significant amount of time researching products prior to purchase, and employ a variety of tools in order to find the best prices," reported RetailCustomerExperience.com (June 16).
The study asked over 1,000 customers about their online shopping habits and found that 90 percent them are influenced by customer reviews; 60 percent say reviews are the most important factor in their buying decisions.
Other key findings include:
- Research: 70% of respondents take a day or more to research purchases.
- 70% of respondents say research takes up to three-quarters of their online shopping time.
- Most customers begin their research with a search engine or on a major retailer's site.
- 60% of respondents go to Amazon.com to check prices and read reviews; 85% said the site is a factor in their research.
- Social Media: Only one-third of consumers use social media for research.
- A large majority of respondents said they connect with brands or retailers on Facebook only to get deals.
- Mobile: One-third of respondents have used their mobile phones while in-store to access coupons, compare competitors' prices and read product ratings/reviews.
- One-third of respondents use QR or barcode scanning apps to get product information or to compare prices
This study shows that while people are going online (either at home or on their smartphones) to read reviews or find the lowest price, there is still potential for brands to better leverage social media and mobile apps to make that research process easier -- especially if the customer is looking up these deals while standing in your store!
It also confirms there's an appetite among consumers for getting deals via social media. The question is: How best to transmit those deals to online and mobile shoppers? Retailers need to find ways to link coupons to product reviews, mobile search results and major retail sites: Go to where consumers are already researching desired products. And beyond that, retailers must make these discounts and offerings "shareable" via social media. As with anything you promote online, you want it to go viral.