Online recommendations are now considered to be more important than traditional word-of-mouth, according to a survey by Eccomplished.

Almost a third (31%) of respondents said they had read an online review before making a purchase, compared to 23% who asked for advice from friends and family.

A further 18% read comments on online articles, while just 6% sought advice on social media. Even among respondents aged 18-24 the use of social media only increases to 11%.

However the main method of research is to visit a marketplace such as Amazon “with a huge range and associated recommendations and reviews”.

The value of consumer reviews on e-commerce sites is something we have highlighted before. According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. 

Similarly, iPerceptions found that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.

Eccomplished’s Quarterly survey also looked at the factors that influence consumers when they are deciding which retailer to buy from.

While consumers seek advice and information from a variety of sources when deciding which product to buy, there is one key factor that determines where people make a purchase – price.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of respondents said that they choose where to buy based on who offers them the lowest price.

The second most common reason was whether the product was in stock (39%) followed by convenient delivery methods (37%).

However when shopping for fashion items the choice of retailers is influenced by different factors. 

Less than half (46%) said price was a key factor, while promotions influenced 35% of decisions followed by available stock and convenient delivery (both 34%).

Looking at electronics, price becomes even more important (65%) as do reviews (33%).

The results of Eccomplished’s report are based on an online Omnibus of 2,000 respondents.