With the popularity of online reviews, most shoppers these days peruse what other shoppers have to say before committing to a purchase. The way consumers make decisions has dramatically changed over the last decade. While standing in a store, we can now compare prices and access buyer feedback using our Smartphones.
With reviews already such an important part of the buying process, it’s easy to see how reliance on them will only increase in the future. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, online consumer reviews are already the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers indicating they trust online reviews, an increase of 15 percent in four years.
Over the next few years, we can expect to see the anonymity of reviews fade away and instead become linked to shoppers’ real identities on Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels. This will be beneficial for both retailers and consumers, adding a layer of credibility vs. anonymity.
Here are several predictions retailers will need to fully understand in the near future, in order to be prepared for evolving consumer buying:
- All reviews will eventually be linked to social networks
- Shoppers will turn to their friends’ reviews first
- Reviews will be aggregated by reviewer
- Reviews will be personalized
- All formats will become compatible
Chances are that you already rely heavily on reviews in making your own purchase decisions – you can make a good bet that your customers are already doing the same.
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