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Online reviews influence purchasing, says report

Online reviews influence purchasing, says report

Online shopping community today unveiled exclusive findings of its latest user survey on purchasing influences.

The research, made to spot the impact of the current economic uncertainties on people’s purchase decision, highlighted the impact of online peer reviews on sales, with 76% of respondents admitting changing purchase decisions after reading online reviews of the product they were looking to buy.

The user survey, which polled 1,223 users, also brought bad news for shop assistants who were deemed as having the least influence on purchases, with only 2% of respondents citing them as having an impact on what products they selected.

Even friends were found lacking, with 34% of people choosing reviews by people who owned the product over recommendations from friends (19%) when purchasing goods. However, brand names still remain an important factor in buying products, especially in the areas of beauty and electrical goods.

Some 80% of women will only purchase branded beauty products, and 83% of the total respondents cited the strength of the brand as a guide when deciding to purchase electronic products such as DVD players and Satellite Navigation devices.

The research also unveiled the increasing preference of shoppers to purchase CDs, DVD and Books online to take advantage of cheaper prices, with 61% choosing to purchase online rather than offline. However, despite the growth of online fashion retailers, 67% of users still mainly purchased their clothes in fashion stores compared to 22% using online shops.

Surprisingly, overall online spending was still strong, with 25% of Ciao users in UK spending on average £1000 or more per year, followed by 22% spending £500 to £999, 35% £100 to £499 and 18% spending less than £10.

Tom Hyde, Teamleader E-Commerce Ciao UK, said, “People are becoming savvier than ever when it comes to purchasing a product. User review sites are a great way to get impartial information from people who have genuine first-hand experience of the product or service, reason we think last month we received more than 6 million visitors on our site.

"The fact people are changing their purchase decisions because of what they read in reviews is testament to their success. Brands now more than ever need to be aware of what customers are saying about them online, and take advantage of online communities to interact and engage directly with consumers to address any issues or concerns and secure better reviews in future.”

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