Marketing to Women: 79% Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations

July 1, 2013 § 2 Comments

imagesA new study from BrightLocal shows that consumers are increasingly trusting online reviews for local purchases.  In fact, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Only one in five consumers say they do not trust online recommendations.

Our research at Brand Wise has shown similar patterns in shopping behavior.  Most shopping starts online – whether the purchase is happening online or in-store.  BrightLocal found that 37% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the past month.  The top searches are for restaurants (67% of consumers), doctors/dentists (35%), general shopping (35%), hotel accommodations (30%) and clothes (28%).

And with a growth in online reviews, consumers can make decisions in advance before making their purchase.  In fact, 85% of consumers say they have read online reviews for for local businesses, up from 76% in 2012.  And of course, consumers say positive reviews raise their level of trust in the business, and their likelihood to use the business.

What are consumers looking to find in a customer review? When it comes to “reputation traits,” 71% chose reliability as the most important trait in a local business (up from 64%), while 45% pointed to good value.

While we trust online reviews, we are still using word of mouth as our personal way of informing friends and relatives.  During the prior 12 months, 72% of consumers reported having recommended a local business by word of mouth (down from 78% last year), while 37% did so on Facebook (up from 32%).

Those who are marketing to women need to embrace reviews the way consumers have, providing ways for consumers to write reviews for your services, whether it is on your website or on review sites.  Since much of that research is happening on smartphones, businesses need to have a clear, easy-to-read mobile site. And it is important to engage consumers on-line and respond to all comments, whether positive or negative.

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