Customer reviews are increasingly playing a key role in the conversion landscape, as strong evidence supports that more and more shoppers heavily rely on recommendations by their friends and peers when making purchasing decisions:
- Ninety-two percent of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising, according to Nielsen.
- Seventy-two percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a study.
- According to a new survey by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
In addition to friends and review sites, other factors, such as bloggers, forums, and website information, all play an important role in influencing online conversion rates.
Know Your Influencers
According to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, blogs are now the third most influential digital resource for consumers making purchases, behind retail and brand sites. Facebook – often favored by marketers to drive brand awareness – comes in fourth. Why is this? Bloggers tend to be impartial and honest in their reviews, and therefore are considered a trusted source of information. Identifying prominent bloggers in your sector and forming strong relationships can positively affect online conversion rate.
Quality, Not Quantity
However, according to the same survey, 54 percent agreed that smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones. While brands and organizations often fixate on increasing their following, the real value lies in the discussion and sharing of information – traits most commonly associated with smaller online community groups. Popularity doesn’t always equal trust. It’s definitely worth identifying lesser-known bloggers or vocal forum members, who have earned the trust of their peers and your potential customers.
Show and Share Positive Signals
The way your site looks has an enormous impact on potential customers. The following are essential:
- Badges, certifications, and awards from recognized third parties.
- Clearly displayed direct contact details.
- Reputable payment options (if applicable).
- Authentic and real-time reviews.
This last point is bolded because it’s vital. Reviews increase consumer confidence and research indicates a 7 percent increase in online conversion rates when visitors see a feed of real-time reviews (as opposed to static “testimonials” of unknown origin), compared to those with no reviews. Furthermore, those presented with reviews are 7.3 times more likely to share the site with friends – and we all know the importance of peer recommendations!
Remember, You Can Earn Trust Yourself
In a recent Market Force study, 78 percent of consumers said the posts companies make on social media influence their purchasing decisions – that’s not far from the 81 percent who said they look to their peers for guidance. This means that when and how a company responds in social media is almost as important as peer reviews. That said, the opportunity to build trust with your potential customers in-house is huge and cannot be ignored. Establish trust first, then cultivate your influencer community and you will see a positive increase in your online conversion rate.
To hear more about the above and building trust with your audience in general, please come and check out Trustpilot’s session at ClickZ Live New York on Tuesday, April 1, at 11:30 a.m.
* Sponsored content in collaboration with Trustpilot.