During the holidays many shoppers research the items they purchase for others before buying that item as a gift. A recent report from comScore, Inc. shows that just because an item is bought at a brick and mortar store doesn’t mean it wasn’t researched heavily online. The influence of online reviews might be greater than most retailers think according to the results of the recent study. This information was provided in a recent press release from comScore, Inc.
The survey included 2,000 U.S. Internet users. It found that people online are willing to spend 20 percent or more for a product rated as excellent, compared with one that was rated good. The study analyzed how online reviews effect buying habits of items offline such as restaurants, hotels, travel, legal, medical, automotive, and home services.
24 percent of those surveyed reported that they use an online review before they purchase a service or item offline. Those that read restaurant reviews online were even more likely to make an offline purchase as 41 percent of those surveyed who used the internet to read restaurant reviews then visited a restaurant. 40 percent of those that read online reviews of hotels, then booked a hotel visit.
Most people in the survey said they find online reviews of products and services to be very reliable. 97 percent of those in the survey who had read an online review and then purchased that product or service found the review to be accurate. The survey participants also indicated that they felt reviews by fellow consumers were more reliable than those generated by professionals according to the press release.
“These data show the importance of local service review sites in consumers’ purchase process,” said Steve Marshall, who is research director for The Kelsey Group. “With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it’s vital that local service providers have a positve presence on these review sites.”, concluded Marshall.
Retailers would be wise to pay attention to this survey as it is likely that many holiday shoppers will be researching products online before purchasing them. Not only will people be purchasing items for themselves, but also as gifts for their friends and relatives. The power of a positive review on internet websites can be the difference between a retailer making a sale, and having one go to a competing retail company. It’s also valuable information for companies in the hospitality industry who are fighting to entertain the same guests as their competition.
Prnewswire.com. “Online Consumer-Generated Reviews Have Significant Impact on Offline Purchase Behavior”.