That’s according to new data from Bazaarvoice, which found that most U.S. shoppers (56%) cited reviews as the ecommerce feature they relied on most to make informed purchase decisions.
By contrast, just 16% of U.S. shoppers said they relied most on product descriptions and professional photos when deciding on purposes, the digital marketing firm found.
Overall, 75% of shoppers said they sometimes or always trust consumer reviews, while 39% said they trust a brand employees’ product recommendation, and 40% said they’ve purchased a product from an influencer because they trusted their endorsement.
Worldwide, when shoppers engage with reviews on what Bazaarvoice calls “best-in-class” websites, there was a 138% lift in conversion rates, year-over year. During the same period, it saw a 159% increase in revenue per visitor.
The increasing importance of peer reviews is driving social commerce and “recommerce” or commerce based on others’ recommendations.
Over the past year, 45% of respondents said they had purchased a product through a social-media platform, while 41% had purchased a product an influencer had recommended, the research shows. In addition to recommendations, social platforms have also become repositories for product- and service-related criticism.
Among North American consumers, 44% said they used a social platform to complain about a particular product or service over the past.
The data also suggests that consumers engaging with brands over social channels are high maintenance.
In fact, 89% of these respondents said they expect to hear from brands within 24 hours, while nearly half said they expect brands to improve their products based on negative reviews.
With most consumers still cooped up at home, Bazaarvoice believes brands need to be extra attentive to any feedback they receive through digital channels.
“More shoppers are turning to online shopping out of convenience and necessity,” Joe Rohrlich, Chief Revenue Officer at Bazaarvoice, notes in the new report.The report was based on a survey of roughly 5,500 consumers, in addition to data from approximately 6,200 brand and retailer websites within Bazaarvoice’s network.