How online reviews affect purchase decisions

decision de compra

According to a research published by the company Goodsnithc, 89% of Internet users think that online shops should implement a customers’ reviews system, no matter if they are good or bad. Moreover, interviewees state that they prefer e-shops that communicate with their clients with the aim of improving their products and services.

As we have already explained in previous articles, online opinions directly affect sales: the more you sell, the more opinions you get; the more opinions you get, the more you sell. Even if it looks like a tongue-twister, this sentence can be translated into a simple equation: online reviews deeply affect users’ purchase decision or the moment that Google calls Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

The Net changed the way we decide what to buy. People used to believe that buyers would spend little time in deciding whether to buy a product or not. Which is not true at all. The purchase process has become more complex, due to the various possibilities that the Internet offers. As a consequence, the ways of stimulating users to make a purchase have evolved.

It was thought that the purchase process was based on three main steps:

First Moment of Truth

  1. The customer would experience a stimulus (from adv) that generated a need.
  2. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) was when the customer was examining various options for a product, considerating factors such as price, packaging, and location until he made a choice.
  3. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) was when, after buying the product, the customer evaluated his satisfaction rate, according to his expectations.

Now, with the technological improvements and the diffusion of e-commerce, a fourth phase was individuated in this process, the so called Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

Online reviews and the ZMOT

Before buying something online we all look for information about it on more websites, in order to make the right decision. This is exactly what Google has identified to be the most crucial moment in purchase decisions, the ZMOT.

Web users tend to compare more products than offline customers since they cannot rely on their senses. We need to compensate this lack of information someway, so we trust other users’ opinions or experiences with that product.

To sum up, the more reviews your e-commerce has on the various products you offer, the more probabilities you have that customers will consider buying them. Anyway, online opinions are not the only factor to affect the ZMOT. It is also important to work on the SEO of your e-shop and to create valuable content. Remember that reviews help with this as well, because they give voice to your customers.

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