February 17, 2010, 12:00 AM

More e-retailers are offering product ratings and reviews, study says

More online retailers are offering product ratings and reviews, according to The E-tailing Group`s annual study of 100 online retailers, which president Lauren Freedman presented at IRWD10.

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More online retailers are offering product ratings and reviews, according to The E-tailing Group Inc.`s annual study of 100 online retailers.

Study results, shared Tuesday at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability 2010 Conference in Orlando, FL, are based on the Chicago-based consulting firm`s annual study of 100 online retailers. 74% of retailers offered product ratings and reviews in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 58% in the fourth quarter of 2008, said Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group.

The number of retailers trying to spark sales by displaying top-rated products increased to 49% from 24%, she said.

Meanwhile, online retailers are working harder to reach and please consumers. 38% of retailers studied by the group offer click-to-chat customer service, up from 32% last year. 36% of the retailers offered blogs, which can boost brand identity and search engine results, while 60% of the retailers link to social networking sites. Of those, 85% of retailers link to Facebook, she said.

More retailers also are offering ways for consumers to buy unique products or feel like they are getting deals. 37% of retailers offer product personalization, up from 24% last year, Freedman said. 72% of retailers display exclusive offers. Additionally, 35% of retailers showcased awards on their pages. "If you got it, flaunt it," Freedman advised.

She also urged online retailers to make it easy for consumers to purchase goods online and then pick up those products in stores; 28% of the retailers studied offered such an option. Retailers should look for more ways to coordinate their various sales channels, especially with more consumers using mobile phones to inform their shopping and buying.

"Mobile is going to be a big factor," she said.


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