Reviews trump influencers in driving purchases

More than 80 per cent of Australians seek out product reviews before purchase, and almost 40 per cent say that the most important aspect of a review is knowing other customers’ experiences with the product, according to research from marketing firm Bazaarvoice.

Additionally, in the survey of more than 1300 Australians, Bazaarvoice found that online shoppers are slowly turning away from influencers – with 61 per cent of respondents calling the practice “out of date”.

“The message to retailers and brands is clear: improving the functionality of the online retail experience to include shopper reviews is the most powerful way to keeping customers on the path to purchase,” Bazaarvoice managing director of APAC Kate Musgrove said.

“A well thought-out digital strategy may put a product at the top of people’s Instagram feed, but the presence of reviews and the opinions of people just like them is what will seal the deal.”

It should be noted that Bazaarvoice provides software to display customers reviews online.

The survey revealed most Australians have difficulty spotting fake reviews, with only 16 per cent confident in their ability to identify a fake product review, and 22 per cent of respondents unable to tell the difference.

The “Meghan effect” – the ability of Meghan Markle to promote the purchase of brands – seems to be waning as well, with only 5 per cent of Aussies admitting they would purchase a product based on what the royal family is wearing.

Men are more likely to be persuaded by bloggers or sportspeople, while women are more receptive to bloggers and models. However, both women and men stated they were most influenced by “people like me”.

“The retail environment is evolving quickly and retailers cannot afford to fall behind in their adoption of trends such as personalisation and user-generated content,” Musgrove said.

“Shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy and can now see past paid promotions and flattering filters, and are seeking out candid and relatable content to inform purchasing decisions.”

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