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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 26, 2008

British online reviewers are a selfless bunch

Why do some Internet users expend extra time and effort to write online reviews? What are they getting out of it and what sort of Internet user are they? Bazaarvoice and word-of-mouth experts Keller Fay Group have released findings from a new survey that goes some way to answering those questions.

by Helen Leggatt

bazaarvoice logo.gifOnline reviews play a vital role in the online shopping decision making process, and many marketers have embraced the power of user-generated content in this form. However, many still shy away from allowing consumers to voice opinions publicly, scared of the potential for negative feedback.

But, Bazaarvoice's latest study, involving over 3,786 online reviewers in the U.K., revealed that the vast majority left positive feedback (86%) while just 11% said their feedback was split equally between positive and negative. Three percent claimed to leave negative feedback most of the time.

Most online reviewers post their feedback on retailer's own sites, even if they purchased offline, whereas 19% submit their reviews to independent review sites such as ePinions or CNET.

Ultimately, the number one reason for leaving reviews was to help others make informed buying decisions (94%), while others hoped their input would enable companies to make improvements to their products and services (84%). Their own personal reliance on customer reviews motivated 85% to write one of their own. These recent findings in the U.K. have mirrored those from Bazaarvoice's U.S. survey conducted last year.

"Companies should embrace this as an opportunity to collect authentic feedback from their customers that is intended to help other shoppers make a confident purchase decision while also providing guidance to the company on product value and performance," said Sam Decker, Bazaarvoice CMO.

According to a study (.pdf) by the European Interactive Advertising Association, conducted earlier this year, around half of British consumers have had their minds changed over which brand to purchase after reading online reviews.

In addition, the survey looked at online reviewers themselves and found them to be active online shoppers and networkers. Overall, 93% purchased items for delivery to their homes, 63% bought items in online auctions and 28% said they participated in online social networks such as MySpace and LinkedIn.

Tags: Bazaarvoice, feedback, Keller Fay, online reviewers, online reviews, online shopping, retailers

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