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It will probably come as no surprise to find out that customer reviews are an important feature to include on an ecommerce site.

They help to educate shoppers who are researching their purchase and reassure them that they are making the right decision.

We’re so used to seeing product reviews that it looks odd, perhaps even suspicious, when a site doesn’t include them.

In fact it could be argued that reviews are so common nowadays that there’s a danger consumers will become immune to their charms or will become dubious as to their validity.

Nonetheless, a new survey of 2,000 UK consumers by Trustpilot has found that three out of four British shoppers (77%) consult online reviews before buying online, so clearly reviews are still incredibly important for driving conversions.

It obviously needs to be pointed out that Trustpilot operates an online review platform so has something of a vested interested. 

The survey also suggests that 60% of Brits have written a review in the past year, which I’m slightly dubious about though the figure could well be that high if you include comments posted on social media.

To further highlight the importance of consumer reviews, here's a roundup of data taken from several other studies which show the impact they have on driving conversions.

And for more information on this topic, check out our blog posts looking at 10 ways to encourage customer reviews online and investigating whether the number of consumer reviews in PPC ads will affect credibility.

88% of consumers consult reviews

A study from Reevoo back in 2012 painted an even more extreme picture of the vital need for consumer reviews.

It suggested that a massive 88% of consumers ‘sometimes or always’ consult a review when making a purchase, and 60% were more likely to purchase from a site that has customer reviews on.

More than half of respondents (52%) said friends’ recommendations were influential, followed by consumer reviews (48%), advertising (24%) and advice from sales assistants (22%).

The findings in Reevoo's report came from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 UK consumers.

Kia

After noting the efficacy of consumer reviews online, car brand Kia decided to display them in its dealerships as well.

Its customers could therefore see reviews of Kia vehicles and the customer service of the showrooms themselves in both an offline and online setting.

In addition, Kia used online reviews in its recent TV ad campaign, prompting viewers to head online to check out the opinions of people who have bought its cars.  

The results speak for themselves, as users reading reviews online were:

  • 484% more likely to request a brochure.
  • 300% more likely to book a test drive.
  • 509% more likely to search for a local Kia dealer.

Consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above advertising

Our post looking at how trust signals can double your conversions includes stats from a Nielsen study showing that 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

And according to a study conducted by Search Engine Land, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Another study by nToklo suggests that UK retailers that don’t offer a platform for customer recommendations could be missing out by as much as £9bn in extra revenue.

David Moth

Published 26 February, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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