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BizReport : Ecommerce : July 29, 2010

Family and friend recommendations no longer enough

Despite only 2% of consumers saying they would put trust in strangers the vast majority would double-check a friend or relative's product or service recommendation against the online opinions of, ironically, strangers.

by Helen Leggatt

No longer do friends and families put the final seal of approval on a person's decision to buy a product or service. The vast majority (81%) now rely on the Internet to verify those recommendations.

In essence this means there is now another step in the decision making process - online verification. In many cases another "person" is involved - a complete stranger - because over half (55%) of consumers now turn to online user reviews to find online verification.

This behavior appears particularly strange when a mere 2% of consumers cite "strangers" as someone they would trust.

Other ways in which consumers collect information online to verify their purchase decisions are researching product/service information (61%) or searching ratings websites (43%).

"Consumers have become extremely savvy about how brands are marketing to them," explains Bill Fleishman, Cone's president and head of Brand Marketing.

"Partly due to an increased skepticism toward brand marketing, consumers have elongated the decision-making process to seek additional sources of affirmation before making up their minds. As marketers, we have another step to take before we close the loop."

Tags: consumer behavior, consumer recommendations, online reviews, word of mouth

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