Unbiased reviews equal consumer trust
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US in mid-March, e-commerce has exploded as consumers shop more from home. In fact, a recent study by Prosper Analytics says more than 40 percent of people, across all age categories, report they are shopping more online. As a result, what consumers have to say about products they purchase has never been more important. But amid the surge, a climate of confusion is arising.
It’s becoming more difficult for consumers to discern what review sources can be trusted. Some brands choose to push the positive and so the shopper is faced with a hundred 5 star reviews. Not believable to the shoppers as the sweetspot for a purchase is between 4.2 and 4.5. Without negative reviews there is no authenticity and that is a deal breaker for shoppers.
The takeaway? Unbiased reviews that consumers can trust are good for business. Biased reviews, cherry-picked to try and manipulate consumer behavior can be bad for business.
Let’s look more closely at this issue inside the Channel Signal platform.
Through the lens of people shopping for shoes, we witnessed interesting behavior in reviews being written. Take the review below for example – the shopper was apprehensive about buying shoes online, but after reading reviews she took a chance. She ended up loving them and left an all-positive review. In another review for the same product, a nurse read reviews that other nurses endorsed the shoe’s comfort. She raved about the product in her review, left an all-positive rating and even purchased an additional pair.
So far this year, this particular shoe gets a 4.47 star average and its review volume is only down slightly over the same time period last year. Sentiment analysis, using AI technology tells us the product has 70% all-positive sentiment – a very high score. This is compelling since we know retail sales volume has taken a dive during the pandemic, indicating that the voice of the buyer has real power – in this case overcoming odds – when it comes to driving sales. Reviews tell the story of consumer sentiment and this drives people to the buy button.
Online consumer opinion drives consumer sentiment and consumer sentiment drives online sales. Since the pandemic, this is a part of the new business landscape.
Since the pandemic began, ecommerce has changed. One of the biggest ways it has changed is consumers turning to one another. Consumer behavior is now predicated on trust in reviews. From a long-term perspective, letting consumers know that product reviews are unbiased helps create trust, encourages sales and creates positive sentiment. This positive loop drives sales, that’s the bottom line.