As marketers, we have become increasingly knowledgeable about the power of online customer reviewers. And we recognize that many shoppers place more weight on these reviews than on company-sponsored communications.

Let’s look at some research by Trustpilot, a customer review consultant to business.  According to eMarketer:

“In early 2016, Trustpilot surveyed 1,132 Internet users ages 18 and older. In all, 80.7% said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few users said reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to buy. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant.  When it comes to when users are most likely to read reviews, roughly half said it’s while they’re on a site, before adding the item to their cart. Nearly a quarter said they were more likely to read reviews earlier in the process: while on a company’s Web site, but prior to actively shopping. Another 18.5% read reviews primarily before visiting a company’s Web site at all.”

Stage of the Buying Process During Which US Internet Users Are Most Likely to Read Reviews, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)
Retail Touchpoints wrote this about Trustpilot’s research:

“While the majority of consumers believe online reviews help them along their shopping journey (88%), only a fraction of these customers (18%) actually trust that all the information contained within the reviews is valid, according to Trustpilot. This significant gap reveals that it is critical for businesses to not only incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience, but to deploy them in a way that will build trust and transparency with the consumer. To close the gap between those seeking out trustworthy online reviews and those who believe the reviews are fully authentic, Trustpilot recommends that retailers gain a greater understanding of how shoppers read, write. and believe in online reviews. Half of consumers feel the overall rating of a review or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback to it are the most important factors when it comes to reading online reviews. Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted for a product is more relevant.”

“The report identified several best practices to help businesses create more trustworthy customer feedback strategies, including: ensuring online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience; giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion; responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved; and analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products.”


Here is further information and advice directly from Trustpilot: an infographic and a YouTube video.




11 Replies to “Do Shoppers Really Believe Customer Reviews?”

  1. I actually try and read the bad reviews first. I figure if there are no bad reviews it’s not very useful. Unfortunately I let a bad review talk me out of a curved screen TV which I wish I had bought.

  2. I find that reviews are often very helpful and bad reviews deter me from buying products. If a product doesn’t have any reviews though, I usually will look for a similar product that has reviews so that I know what people think about it. I also tend to not trust all positive reviews, I want to know about the good and the bad. Those are the posts that I think are the best, the person doesn’t discourage you from buying it, but you know what you are in for when you receive. I also think that reading reviews is very important because it helps control impulse buying ( for me at least). I will read the reviews before I buy it and if the reviews are mixed Ill do further research or wait and ask a friend.

  3. As a consumer, I read reviews in a sparing manner. When I do read them I would say I fall into the category of 46.6% of people who read reviews before putting it in their cart. When I scroll through the reviews I looks for ones that are straightforward and to the point. Although I’m not always taking reviews into consideration, I do think they have a significant impact on shoppers. In regards to business strategies for aggregating dependable customer feedback, I believe the most important one is “responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved.” This shows the company’s reliability and their attention to detail to ensure customer satisfaction and a successful product or service. In addition, the new and improved reviews will reap benefits for the company’s future sales.

  4. It’s strange to me that nearly 90% of consumers say product reviews help them with their shopping experience while over 80% are skeptical of the validity of the reviews. While the article didn’t follow up on what the implications of this fact are for the psychology of consumers, my diagnosis is that online reviews are just like televised reviews: A placebo. Something to help nudge the customer along, if you will. It’s less about whether the review is real or fake, and more about making the customer feel more confident in their purchase. Marketers should use this to their advantage and consumers should be weary of this to not fall for questionable sales tactics.

  5. I personally think that the percentage of consumers reading reviews on the company’s website before adding to cart would be higher. Even though it is the highest percentage (46.6), people should know what they are purchasing before pressing buy. Normally I look at reviews when I am purchasing something from a business I have never bought from before. If I have purchased something from a frequent business, then I usually do not look at the reviews. I do not typically look because a lot of people are bitter and just want to get their opinions out on the internet in a hostile way. I think that people should make sure they hear or read from reliable sources. It’s also important to remember that everyone has different experiences. We do not all like the same things.

  6. I’m the guy who always read customer reviews before checking out. Because my shopping habit is that adding 2 or 3 similar goods in the cart and read their customers reviews.If there is anything let me feel uncomfortable, I will delete that good from the cart. At the end, keep one and check out.

  7. I find myself considering customer reviews the most when i am either buying something from a website like Amazon or Ebay, or when I am torn between two brands. It is super easy for someone to bash on a business or a product via customer reviews because they were unhappy with the product, and that in itself is a huge indicator for me to avoid that product. While people can favor or hate a product, I personally tend to focus on the average opinion. The more reviews, the more accurate the ratings are. The whole purpose of customer reviews are to help other people with their future purchases. While some people can sometimes skew the average because its “funny” to write ignorant reviews, it overall can definitely be a life saver.

  8. Personally, I will take customer reviews into serious consideration. It is true that some company will pay for a good review or provide a free trail to customers who say something good, but there are indeed customers who write reviews according to the truth. However, an interesting thing is that many consumers notice negative commends more than positive reviews. Similarly, we may complain about an unhappy shopping experience, but we will not share happy experiences every time. Therefore, companies should really pay attention to their negative comments because we really care about those.

  9. I think reading reviews before buying a product is avery important thing to be doing. Reviews are written for you to decide whether the product will be of benefit to you or not. When it comes to products that you buy online, you are not always sure of the quality of it or how well it works. Reviews are great to see what other experiences other people had with it. More than looking at the ratings, I think its more beneficial to look at actual comments from people.

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