The impact of product reviews

When buying something new such as a mobile device or a much needed appliance for your home, consumers tend to be really critical, and rightfully so, as consumers only want and should only get the product’s full money’s worth. After all, who really wants to spend all their money on something they actually don’t like or on something that doesn’t really work?
Consumers ask about a product’s features, its quality, its price, and pros and cons – all of these are crucial in making that decision towards making a purchase. That is why people put in the extra effort and do the research. Consumers look for product reviews about the item that they are considering to purchase.
Though not many people think about it, the role of product reviews in a consumer’s life is an integral part of their decision making process today. The first thing that consumers look for when they want to buy something is a product review, and it has now turned into “a must” when shopping. But what exactly is the role of product reviews in the consumer buying process today?


The Role it Plays

Product reviews has been a part of some ecommerce sites for more than a decade and having a section for reviews is something that won’t go away anytime soon. This is because there is a huge advantage to having a designated section for reviews by other consumers or a specific expert review on an item.
Looking at it, almost 70% of the population in the United States who go through the internet search for and read reviews to back up their decision making process, while figures show that around 50% of the population in the United Kingdom go to online product reviews to also make a decision. These numbers show that consumers not just in the US and UK are very review-conscious, it also shows that reading product reviews is a trend when it comes to the decision making process of a consumer.
The role of product reviews is an essential one, more so when you are running an ecommerce site. Around 60% of consumers view product reviews and ratings as a part of their routine before making any decision as to what to buy. Having reviews is not only favorable for the consumers, it also allows ecommerce sites to rake in the benefits too as studies have shown that ecommerce sites have an increase in their average order by 43%. It is also estimated that around 62% of consumers will get the push they need to make the purchase when they see a section devoted for consumer reviews.

In fact, in a study conducted by an international journal – Advances in Economics and Business – discovered that 85% of their participants often read reviews before making a purchase online, while for those who do read reviews, 83% of them compare the positive and negative reviews of a product.
These numbers show that consumers today, and for some time now, have it in their system to look for and read reviews before making any purchases. It has become a great part of the decision making process; a trend that will only increase as time goes by.

What is the Purpose?

The most obvious answer to the question of “what is the purpose of product reviews?” is to get the facts. Expert reviews and consumer reviews alike give consumers the bare essentials that they need before taking the plunge.
Expert reviews give an industry look to a certain product’s features, pros and cons, as well as their opinion which does hold some weight when it comes to their respective sector. Consumer reviews, on the other hand, give a more personable look to a product as it has gone through the hands of consumers themselves, giving other consumers that eye-to-eye level of product appreciation.

But what about negative reviews, do these help or hurt a product? Negative reviews can actually help both ecommerce sites and consumers themselves.
For consumers, negative reviews expose the flaws and issues of a certain product. It helps consumers prepare for the worst or get a heads up when it comes to the product if they so choose to buy it. Negative reviews also give the feeling of product authenticity (as nothing is really perfect). It will give consumers that feeling that the product that they are considering is genuine and not something that the brand is trying to oversell you.

For ecommerce sites, negative reviews will not be the downfall of having the product in question or having the negative review to begin with. According to the Advances in Economics and Business, 11% of their study’s participants said that one negative review was enough reason not to buy a product, but 18% said that a single positive review was enough reason for them to make the purchase – weighing them together, bad reviews are not bad at all.

In reality, bad reviews on a product will only actually affect a very small percentage of consumers. And if that’s not enough reason to have negative reviews, consumers also see negative reviews as a vital part of a product, and that you will lose more customers not having any reviews at all than having a bad review.
Meanwhile, as for positive reviews, you would be surprised to know that it only helps sell a product by a little. Particularly ecommerce sites who utilize the rating system of “five stars” and etc, different sites agree that each point or “star” on a product increased its online traffic by 5% to 10%.

At the end of the day, positive or negative reviews aside, consumers will make the purchase. People have different preferences, styles, and taste, and whether the review is bad or good, products will still sell. What’s important is the existence of product reviews themselves as it gives consumers something to look for, something that they can hold on to so that they are not coming in blind when they do make the purchase. Product reviews are now a must for both ecommerce sites and consumers.

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