The Weight of Peer to Peer Conversations for Brands and Retailers

weight of peer to peer
On this Cyber Monday, we explore how much weight peer to peer conversations hold when it comes to consumer buying decisions. While many brands and retailers are heavily discounting to move inventory today, others understand that a key to their long-term success is to create products that people will speak highly of.
It wasn’t that long ago that the combination of media coverage and one-way, brand-to-consumer marketing held sway over consumer buying decisions. Brands ran ads about their products and PR firms sought editorial approval. Consumers were at the end of this marketing pipeline with no voice.
This arrangement worked well for brands, but when the internet delivered the power of peer-to-peer communication and consumers were able to consult with each other online, the old paradigm was fatally undermined.
People have always preferred advice and recommendations from friends. With the growth of peer-based, consumer-generated product reviews and customer ratings (think TripAdvisor, Yelp and Amazon), consumers have a source of product intel they consider far more trustworthy – each other.
The stats, as they say, tell the story:

  • 79% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 72% say that positive customer reviews make them trust a business more, up from 58 percent in 2012.
  • The #1 and #2 preferred sources for product and service information are “Consumer Ratings” (63%) and “Consumer Reviews” (62%). Your Facebook page? It’s #8, at 15%. Don’t even ask about online ads.

As our CEO, Paul Kirwin is fond of saying, “Consumers are your biggest sales force”. So, why aren’t more companies listening?
Constant collection, sorting, tagging and analysis of consumer reviews, on your own site and those of your top e-comm partners, is an expensive proposition for a company. You’re looking at 15+ hours a week by an above-entry-level employee. That’s a huge barrier to entry, but you could argue that this data is priceless.

With A Product Review Report At Your Fingertips:

  1. Customer service can address issues by seeing complaints that weren’t reported directly to you.
  2. Product development can identify QC problems far earlier in the cycle.
  3. Sales can more accurately predict re-orders, based on which products are reviewing well.
  4. Product managers can track unifying themes in positive and negative reviews to spot problems in fit or product design, adjusting product development in a much faster window.
  5. Marketing can keep tabs on a key competitor.
  6. Your in-person team can hold more effective shop clinics, trade show presentations and sales communications.