by Heather Scurti January 22, 2021

Product Reviews Impact Shopping Behavior

Last Updated: January 22, 2021

Consumer experience can make or break a retailer, and product reviews now play a huge role in this. With online shopping traffic continuing to increase, people look to customer reviews to determine whether an item is worth the purchase. 

Salsify’s 2019 Consumer Research Report shows just how important product reviews and product information are to consumers and the impact they can have on shopping behavior.

Product reviews reflect brands’ understanding of customers.

Salsify reports that 30% of shoppers believe product reviews from people like them indicate whether a brand or retailer understands them.

Courtesy of Salsify

Surprisingly, shoppers don’t necessarily look at products themselves when deciding whether or not to purchase. Instead, they look at who bought these products in the past. Customers prioritize who buys from a brand over recommended relevant items, remembering purchase history, corporate missions aligning with values, media reflecting a similar lifestyle, and personalization methods. 

This research proves that shoppers value what others have to say. Therefore, brands can greatly benefit from integrating product reviews, consumer-generated content, and social proofs into their marketing.

Product reviews serve as trust symbols to the average shopper.

Positive product reviews have become reputable trust symbols for potential customers when making buying decisions. These reviews always contribute to a brand’s credibility. 

Most consumers between the ages of 18 and 64 judge a product’s quality on positive product reviews over trusted brand names, regardless of price.

Reviews and brand names indicate online product quality

Courtesy of Salsify

People over the age of 65 are the only consumers who slightly value trusted brand names over positive reviews. However, younger shoppers believe the opposite. Roughly 40% of people aged 18 to 34 trust good reviews of products under $25 and above $50 over reputable labels. 

This survey shows how much product reviews can impact shopping behavior, perception of brand image, and the overall success of your business. When you provide a good experience, your online store is more likely to receive positive feedback, which can improve customers’ opinions of product quality.

Customers expect an average of 112 reviews.

In addition to quality reviews, consumers also expect each product to receive a certain number of reviews. Salsify reports that people of all age groups expect an average of 112 online reviews per product.

Online product review expectations

Courtesy of Salsify

While this average may seem steep, there are significant differences in product review expectations across generations. 

Since younger shoppers already put a lot of value into positive reviews when determining a product’s quality, it makes sense they also expect the most reviews. Consumers aged 18 to 24 expect over 200 reviews per online product, while both age groups of 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 expect more than 100 product reviews when shopping online. 

In contrast, older online shoppers read fewer reviews. Consumers between the ages of 55 and 64 only expect 38 reviews per item, the lowest of any age group. Surprisingly, the 65+ age group have slightly higher expectations, with an average of 46 reviews.

eCommerce brands can use this information to identify and meet the needs of their audiences by publicizing a certain quantity of product reviews based on target ages.

69% of consumers abandon pages due to a lack of information.

Although product reviews have a big impact on shopping behavior, many other factors can influence purchasing decisions, including product information. 69% of consumers say they’ve abandoned a product page because there weren’t enough details.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Courtesy of Salsify

It’s clear from these results that consumers value information from all parties involved — both plentiful, positive customer reviews and in-depth brand and product descriptions. In fact, online shoppers appreciate these details more than saving a quick buck. High prices were the second-highest reason people abandon sites, meaning consumers are willing to spend more money on big-ticket items if enough information is provided. 

Businesses can take note of all these deciding factors when building and promoting their product pages. Consumers want transparency, and brands can deliver by providing an adequate amount of information, fair prices, accessible product descriptions, and a sufficient number of high-quality graphics and videos. 

Online retailers should not shy away from negative feedback or product reviews. It doesn’t look good when businesses delete comments, ignore people, or respond inappropriately. Consumers care about how brands address these issues and can be more inclined to trust you if they’re handled correctly.

Consumers need brand questions answered to gain trust.

In addition to comprehensive product information, consumers like to see their questions answered before buying a product. Businesses should ensure they’re responding to product and brand questions to gain more trust and loyalty.

Online Brand Response Expectations

Courtesy of Salsify

As one of the largest online shopping hubs in the world, Amazon helps consumers find new brands that may not be as well known. Luckily, the platform gives retailers many options to encourage trust, including Q&A forums. 

Amazon consumers expect manufacturers to answer a minimum of 8 to 13 questions per product page. This means your eCommerce brand should diligently monitor queries to attract more purchases. Like product reviews, online businesses can use these questions and answers to make updates to their product descriptions and FAQs. Many eCommerce stores are also taking advantage of on-site chat features and social media to offer real-time support and interact with customers more personally.

Conclusion

As shopping behaviors continue to evolve and more consumers purchase online, it can be difficult to know which brands to trust. By publishing product reviews and in-depth information, your eCommerce store can leave no question unanswered, cart abandoned, or transaction incomplete. Product reviews and extensive product information will help customers believe in your brand and encourage them to tell others to do the same.

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