Commentary

Customer Product Reviews Drive Online Satisfaction and Conversion

Customer Product Reviews Drive Online Satisfaction and Conversion

According to the results of the Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForSee Results, and the University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer product reviews online drive satisfaction and loyalty and provide a competitive advantage for sites that offer them.

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Larry Freed, President and CEO, ForeSee Results, in summarizing the study, noted that "In our research, 49% of people who bought from one of the top 40 sites in the two weeks prior to the holidays remembered seeing customer product reviews. This group's satisfaction with the online shopping experience was 5% higher than for shoppers that didn't recall customer reviews. More importantly, the availability of customer product reviews drives loyalty..."

Until recently, Freed found, retail associates to share their expert opinions, answer questions and help customers decide which products meet their needs, was a part of the shopping experience missing from online retail. Now, many retail sites are taking advantage of the transparency of the web to enable customers to post opinions about products on their websites for others to read.

Behaviors And Attitudes Tied To Customer Product Reviews(100 point scale)

Customer Product Reviews Available

No Customer Product Reviews

% Difference

Satisfaction with website

84

80

5%

Satisfaction with retailer

86

82

5%

Image of retailer

88

84

5%

Likelihood to recommend

85

80

6%

Likelihood to purchase online

88

84

5%

Likelihood to purchase next holiday season

86

82

5%

Likelihood to purchase next time

86

83

4%

Source: ForeSee Results, January 2007

  • Customers on sites with reviews are 5% more satisfied with the retailer as a whole (not only the web experience) and their image of the retailer is 5% higher than customers on sites without customer product reviews.
  • Shoppers that visited sites with customer product reviews are 6% more likely to recommend the site than shoppers that went to sites without this feature.
  • Shoppers on sites with customer product reviews were 5% more likely to buy online, 5% more likely to buy from the retailer next holiday season and 4% more likely to purchase from the retailer the next time they are in the market for similar merchandise.

Additionally, the survey found that:

  • Of holiday shoppers that bought from sites with reviews, 39% cited the customer product review as the primary factor that influenced the purchase, and 42% of first-time buyers on sites with customer product reviews cited the review as the primary factor influencing the buying decision
  • This group's satisfaction score is 21% above the average score of all survey respondents (score of 91 vs. 75)
  • Purchasers citing reviews as the primary purchase influencer are significantly more likely to purchase from the retailer the next time they buy similar merchandise (score of 92 vs. 74)

Mr. Freed concludes that "Customer satisfaction, the focus of the Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index research, is a critical performance metric for online (and offline) organizations. Academic research and corporate experience shows that satisfied customers are more loyal, more likely to engage in positive word of mouth marketing and more likely to buy in the future."

To find the complete study, please visit ForeSee Results here for the PDF file.

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