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Online reviews motivate the majority of sales

01 December 2015 - 11:30 by Simon Crisp

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Over three quarters of people who read a positive review of a particular product have subsequently gone on to purchase it online or at a bricks and mortar outlet, according to a recent report from Censuswide.

Furthermore, almost two thirds of the consumers questioned in the study said that they would be inclined to avoid buying a particular item if they encountered a series of unflattering reviews.

This shows that both professional responses and online customer reviews, alike, are incredibly influential when it comes to determining the success of products. And this is, arguably, one of the reasons that in recent years there has been controversy over the doctoring of reviews to portray items in favourable light.

Interestingly, the study also looks at the extent to which retailers are choosing to incentivise the reviews process and so get more customers involved in posting feedback, following a purchase online.

Around a tenth of respondents said that they had been given the opportunity to receive rewards, either in the form of loyalty points or cash, in return for providing reviews of products that they have purchased in the past. And analysts believe that retailers could be doing more to encourage people to provide others with their opinions in this way.

There is a degree of controversy surrounding online reviews, especially in the wake of scandals involving companies specifically set up to sell fake reviews to companies and post them on sites, including Amazon. However, people are also highly reliant on this feedback when making a purchasing decision.

The rise of social media has provided other outlets from which product feedback can be gleaned, but on-site reviews are still crucial in determining whether or not customers go through with purchases.