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Reviews drive 80% of sales and a third of consumers see them as most important purchasing consideration 

Online reviews are where consumers are venting

More than 80% of purchases are impacted by reviews, with almost a third of consumers seeing them as the most important consideration when looking to purchase goods.

A survey commissioned by international fintech and payment service provider WorldFirst  finds that consumers are most likely to refer to them to check the quality of a product (52%). Checking whether a company is trustworthy or could be a potential scam (50%) is also high on their agenda. 

Taking a deeper look at the product categories that are impacted the most by positive reviews, YouGov research of more than 500 UK companies reveals mobile phone and operator brands see the greatest correlation between recommendations and decision to purchase, with Samsung Galaxy ranking as the top brand in this category.

Overall, when it comes to individual brands, mindfulness app Headspace sees the greatest correlation between intent to purchase and customer recommendations. This is an interesting contrast to the overall brand category of online services/ websites/ apps, which appears lower on the list. On the other hand, hotel and cruise operator Pontins sees the lowest correlation.

Brand categories where purchase intent is most impacted by positive reviews:

  1. Mobile phones/operators
  2. Hotels/cruises
  3. High street retail
  4. Snack food
  5. Cosmetics/skincare
  6. Fast food/coffee shops/delivery services
  7. Pubs/bars
  8. Consumer electricals
  9. High street fashion
  10. General retail
  11. Domestic appliances
  12. Online services/websites/apps

The study found customers place the most value on the number of positive reviews (32%) to make their decision, followed by the star rating of a product (21%), and the number of negative reviews (20%). Only a tenth (10%) don’t consider reviews at all in their decision.

In terms of a product’s star rating, four in five (80%) customers won’t buy a product with a rating of less than three out of five stars, whilst 5% of shoppers will only purchase the best reviewed products with five stars. 

Product pricing also affects whether customers check reviews before buying. For nearly one in three (29%) people, £25-£50 is the price range where they will begin to check reviews. 

The study also found that women value reviews more than men, with nearly nine in ten (87%) female shoppers saying that reviews affect whether they will buy from a company, compared to 78% of men. Additionally, women are almost twice as likely to always check reviews regardless of price, than men (23% vs 12%).

When it comes to age, younger generations value reviews the most, with Millennials (26-34) being the most likely group to use them to inform their decisions (92%), followed by Generation Z (89%). In comparison, over 55’s (74%) are the least likely to choose a product based on reviews.

Kate Colclough, EMEA marketing director at WorldFirst, comments: “Reviews are an incredibly important part of the buying experience for the majority of consumers, and this research clearly shows that large numbers of customers value positive reviews to inform their buying decisions.

“This means that it’s vital for businesses to ensure that the customer experience is positive, providing a good quality service and good quality products. Positive feedback means consumers are more likely to return to you, and more likely to leave a good review, which will in turn help to attract new customers and increase business traffic.”

She concludes: “With this in mind, why not remind your customers to leave a review at the point of purchase, or follow up with an email requesting that they rate the product or experience. If you’re confident your customers are satisfied, a gentle nudge to give you a shoutout could go a long way.” 

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