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Recommendations from friends are the most influential driver for UK shopping habits followed closely by consumer reviews, according to a new survey by Reevoo.

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 survey also found 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.

Reevoo’s report is supported by a study from iPerceptions which found that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.

In fact the value of consumer reviews on e-commerce sites cannot be understated – a previous study by Reevoo showed that 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.

Similarly, site visitors who interact with reviews and customer Q&As are 105% more likely to make a purchase. However, the use of consumer reviews isn’t the same across the board. 

Reevoo’s survey found that travel and automotive sectors rely on user reviews most heavily, with almost a third of respondents always reading reviews when booking travel and nearly 30% always reading reviews when choosing a car.

Can reviews be trusted?

Two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they had concerns about the trustworthiness of consumer reviews. In fact, “more people than ever suspect positive reviews might be paid for and bad reviews hidden”.

This fear appears to be well founded, as Qype recently announced that it cut 2,000 fake reviews in January in an effort to clean up its listings.

The move came after TripAdvisor was banned from claiming all its hotel and restaurant reviews could be trusted, following complaints that hoteliers were posting fake comments to promote their own business and undermine the competition.

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

David Moth

Published 22 May, 2012 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

1683 more posts from this author

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Nick Stamoulis

Even if people are wary of trusting the validity of reviews, that's not stopping them for reading them. I've found it's getting easier it is to spot the fake/paid ones. They just don't read right and feel forced. Having fake reviews can destroy your reputation.

over 4 years ago

Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons, UK Managing Director at BlueGlass

Interesting stuff! In my opinion this is the number one reason why Google are pushing social/personalised results so heavily. People trust people - especially when it comes to buying decisions.

over 4 years ago

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Some Body

Consumer reviews can not be trusted at all. Especially the reviews that are positive. Unless your purchase is a total wrack, you'll always say good things about it. Otherwise you would admit your mistake. Therefore do not trust all positive customer reviews.

over 4 years ago

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alanc230

Sometimes it can be difficult to spot the fake reviews, though. As always, let the buyer beware.

over 4 years ago

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Michelle

Excellent article. It's true that testimonials increase credibility tremendously for businesses who are not "household brands". We conducted a survey of almost 3,000 people and found that nearly 90% of people place a "high importance" on the review and testimonials of past customers, however, almost just as high a percentage don't believe the testimonials they read online. (I've included a link to the survey below)

So, how does one navigate this paradoxical conundrum? Having their testimonials and reviews third party verified. We completed a 16 month case study of 20 businesses (highly or solely dependent on web presence) and found that they averaged a 16% increase in conversion when they included the TestimonialShield.com ‘Trust Seal’ and/or ‘Testimonial Widget’.

In short, to make sure you're getting the most out of your hard earned customer testimonials have them third party verified by Testimonial Shield.

Testimonial Authenticity Survey on our website

over 4 years ago

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AndoDor

I agree that product reviews are helpful in making a decision when buying a product, however we also have to keep in mind that everyone has a different experience with a product. So reviews in this sense are more of a guideline in making the decision.

almost 4 years ago

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