According to Forrester research from October 2006, more active web shoppers have used “consumer ratings and reviews” than any other content. This is closely followed by “for-sale listings with seller ratings,” most likely found on eBay. According to our own research, active web shoppers tend to start their product research at Google or eBay, filtering results until they feel that they’ve found the right product, price, and store.
With the vast amount of content available online, it’s fascinating to think of consumer ratings and reviews as being the most critical. There are multiple reasons for this, including:
Consumer ratings and reviews humanize our purchases, and are more easily understood than product specifications. Endless lists of product features can be mind-numbingly boring, and difficult to understand. Consumer reviews and ratings help people understand how a product works in the context of real life. They are often filled with emotional responses to products, which are both helpful and compelling. I bought the Canon PowerShot not because of its 6.2 megapixels, but because of what those megapixels help me to do.
Active web shoppers are distrustful of ads and corporate messaging. Want to find the best flat panel TV? Don’t ask Sony – they’ll probably recommend their own without doing a whole lot of competitive analysis. Customers have become increasingly distrustful of ads and sponsored product reviews and ratings. When making a purchase decision, they’re more likely to trust each other – in the form of user ratings and reviews – than any single source.
Many services are popping up online to help customers understand and use customer reviews to help make purchases decisions. Wize is uniquely positioned because of the way we factor user ratings and reviews into our Wize Rank rating system.