Today’s Mobile Consumers
No snapshot of today’s American consumer would be complete without the inclusion of smartphones and mobile devices. According to a recently released report Americans not only use the internet to stay connected to work, family and friends, but 69 percent seek out advice and opinions on goods and services before they purchase.
According to the report American Lifestyles 2015, of those who seek out advice, 70 percent of shoppers are equally likely to visit user review sites or independent review sites before making a purchase, while 57 percent use their social networks for recommendations.
In addition to sharing photos and commenting on a status, people are looking for answers and providing opinions. They share about everything, where to eat dinner, which auto dealership gives the best service, and how to score a discount at a local retailer.
The collective intelligence of online review sites and social media has allowed consumers to get a second and third opinion, validating their choices. Others use their networks as a starting point in their buying process for bigger ticket items or in areas for which they lack expertise.
Online Reviews Drive Decisions
For many the Internet has become a lifeline. When faced with a difficult question, or product choice, the Internet is often the first place many turn to for research and opinions.
The majority of respondents (69 percent), including 81 percent of 18-34 year-olds, seek out opinions from others before purchasing. Online user review sites are the most popular resource for opinion-seekers in this age range while seekers aged 35+ are more likely to put their trust in independent review sites.
However, social media contact recommendations hold weight for many demographics, including 72 percent of opinion-seekers age 25-34 and nearly half of those age 45-54 (46 percent).
Although online reviews can be influential, personal recommendations from friends and family still trump reviews from unknown contacts. Over half of respondents (54 percent) agree that they would try a product with negative online reviews, if recommended by someone they know.
Who Do Consumers Trust?
In terms of getting the most value out of online resources, independent review sites are considered the most useful (34 percent) and the most trustworthy (38 percent) of the sources evaluated. User review sites are perceived to be nearly as useful as independent review sites (33 percent) – but not nearly as trustworthy (24 percent).
Interestingly, social media contacts are thought to be more trustworthy (31 percent) than useful (25 percent). Many review platforms have attempted to combine social networks and user reviews by enabling users to connect with social contacts on the review platform, thus strengthening both the usefulness and trustworthiness of the site as a whole.
Connected Consumers Do Their Research
Consumers are likely more trusting of reviews when they believe that they share similar qualities with the reviewer. Consumers who seek opinions from others before making a purchase (69 percent) appear to be more confident in their spending this year.
Opinion seeking is correlated with a higher household income and these consumers are therefore able to consider other factors beyond price in their purchase decision.
The technology category boasts the largest number of opinion seekers at 43 percent. This is likely due to the rapidly changing nature of the category and expertise required to thoroughly understand the products, driving consumers to do research before making a purchase.
Vacation (41 percent) and Dining (33 percent) categories also have high percentages of opinion seekers, attributed to the experiential aspects of dining and travel. These categories lend themselves to online reviews because they engage all of the senses, providing a wealth of information to discuss and critique when writing or reading a review.
Positive reviews are the Holy Grail for organizations who are seeking differentiation from their competitors. Cultivating and nurturing your Net Promoter Score is paramount to a company’s growth and sustainability in today’s always-on marketplace.
If you’d like more information on how your organization can accelerate positive reviews and increase your Net Promoter Score (NPS) visit www.peakreputation.com/gyro