More Online Shoppers Reading Reviews before Purchasing

It looks like the recent economic crisis changed online shoppers’ mindsets about how to shop, where to shop and what to purchase. According to a survey from PowerReviews, online shoppers are spending more time on reading reviews before purchases these days. 64 Percent of shoppers say they spend at least 10 minutes reading product reviews before making a purchase, up from 50 percent in 2007. The same report stated that 33 percent of shoppers spend half an hour or more on reviews, up from 18 percent in 2007. These statistics clearly show the importance of online reviews.

Online reviews are valued features and play a key role in influencing the customer’s buying decision. Online reviews are sought after by customers using Internet at every stage of buying process, as they offer existing customer experiences on models, services, policies etc. It is important to include online reviews and testimonials in websites as they help in retaining the existing customers and builds initial trust among potential clients. Online reviews positively impact the sales by increasing the confidence among both existing and potential customers.


Potential customers perceive online reviews as authentic and genuine opinions from other customers and feel that they are receiving accurate information. Online reviews are an effective way for online retailers to communicate with customers. A good number of positive reviews on websites mentioning satisfactory experiences of customers are likely to instill confidence among potential customers. The potential customer feels more comfortable and satisfied after reading a comprehensive evaluation of the product from a large number of customers.

Can alter consideration set

The customers usually shortlist a set of brands/companies that they will focus on to buy, called as consideration set. The customer generated content like product or website ratings and reviews, consumer ratings and reviews can determine whether a brand is included in the consideration set of online shoppers. The information in customer’s ratings and reviews can buying decision. Also, positive reviews improve the attitude of customers towards products. Online reviews help your products find a place in consumers’ consideration set.


The online reviews and testimonials at online retailing website provide reassurance to the new customers that the product stands for professionalism, quality, credibility, and security. Reviews by previous customers reassure the potential customers that it is safe to deal. Online reviews also increase conversion rates as they increase trust and confidence among first time visitors. Existing and new customers will confide the online retailer which eventually increase sales.

Social media sites yet to capture consumer trust

The PowerReviews survey also shows that social media sites, including Facebook are yet to capture consumer trust. The top three destinations for reviews were general retailer web sites (65 percent), followed by brand manufacturer sites (58 percent), (53 percent), review sites (37 percent), specialty print publications (27 percent) and specialty or enthusiast sites (15 percent). Only 6 percent of survey respondents said that social media sites were their top destination for reviews.

Online reviews are built based on online customer service also. Since shoppers place a high value on customer service, positive reviews will come for better customer service. A survey conducted by Stella Service finds that e-commerce sites known for good customer service have more loyal online customers. This year consumers in US on average are willing to spend 9.7 percent more for great customer service. Whereas online shoppers are willing to pay 10.7 percent, even higher premium for good customer service.

As more review content is available on the internet, shoppers find it easily and read. They are showing interest in finding information that is useful for them. So we can say that online reviews will impact customer buying behavior.

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