Online retailers that post customer product reviews are able to generate more loyalty from customers than sites that don’t post reviews, according to ForeSee Results’ Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index. The study is based on data collected during the holiday season from visitors to the top 40 retail sites by sales volume.
Shoppers on sites with customer product reviews were 5% more likely to buy from the retailer the next holiday season and 4% more likely to purchase from the retailer the next time they are in the market for similar merchandise, ForeSee found. They were also 5% more likely to buy online.
Customer product reviews also benefit the retailer as a whole. Customers on sites with reviews are 5% more satisfied with the retailer overall compared to the satisfaction levels of customers on sites without reviews. Likewise, customers on sites with reviews report an image of the retailer that is 5% higher than the images of retailers held by customers on sites without customer product reviews, according to the study.
In addition, reviews lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Shoppers that visited sites with customer product reviews are 6% more likely to recommend the site than are shoppers that went to sites without this feature.
But customer reviews not only drive loyalty and satisfaction, they also directly influence purchase decisions, the report says. Of holiday shoppers that bought from sites with reviews, 39% cited the customer product review as the primary factor that influenced the purchase. And 42% of first-time buyers on sites with customer product reviews cited the review as the primary factor in their decision to make a purchase.