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BizReport : Social Marketing : March 13, 2007

User-generated product reviews increase conversion

User-generated product reviews are being recognized as a powerful tool in converting browsers into buyers.

by Helen Leggatt

Around 40 percent of online shoppers are advocates, says Yahoo’s Diane Rinaldo, and they influence purchases two-to-one over non-advocates.

“The brand advocate has emerged as a particularly valuable and trusted source of advice in online communities,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “More than half of advocates write about their purchases online and have a huge impact on the buying decisions of other shoppers.”

Bazaarvoice claims 77 percent of all customers read user-generated reviews and treat them as a valuable source of research. Of those who shop online more often, and spend over $500 every month, 81 percent consult user-generated product reviews.

Such is the power of word-of-mouth that some companies are giving their website review pages more prominence. After swapping their usual landing page for its user-generated review page, specifically for visitors coming from search, CompUSA saw conversion rates rise 60 percent and individual spend rising 50 percent. About one-quarter of the 80,000 products on CompUSA have been reviewed.

"Reviews are critical [to online success]," said Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder of Future Now, a New York-based e-commerce consultancy. "Most sites do a pretty poor job of giving enough information to the customer to make a purchase. Less and less people are trusting organizations for their product information -- the BS levels are a little higher."

Tags: advocates, Bazaarvoice, conversion rates, product reviews, user-generated, Yahoo

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  • Great to see more supporting evidence that reviews increase online conversion.

    It's clear that it's becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to get people to trust their product information. However, as fake reviews become more prevalent it may also be difficult for people to trust the customer reviews.

    A mechanism that ensures that all reviews are from confirmed, genuine customers is of ever greater importance for consumers and retailers alike.



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