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Why People Trust Strangers When Buying Online

Posted by Localyser | Nov 12, 2019

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How many times have you been stopped in the mall, street, traffic light for a sales pitch? How many of these times you pulled a rabbit-run the other way? Probably every time. Now, how many times have you surfed the online realm on a quest to hunt for positive reviews and feedback over a specific product or a service? Probably every time also!

The question remains, why do we entrust strangers’ opinions when buying online?

Let the numbers speak for starters… studies showed that:

  • 86% to 88% of consumers actually do read and trust reviews for local businesses – including 95% of people aged between 18 to 34 years – especially Google rating
  • The average of research on review-sites is 10 online reviews before a consumer feels able to trust
  • 40% of consumers consider 5-star reviews that are only written within the past two weeks, the number goes down to 18% for last year’s 5-star reviews
  • 91% of 18 to 34 year-old consumers trust review sites as much as personal recommendations
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to online reviews. So, it is of key importance to respond to the reviews

Since we’ve established the statistical aspect, let’s hammer on the psychological…

Millennials trust people over brands, meaning, they trust what’s authentic.
In simple words, if someone likes your restaurant they will say so, if they don’t, they’ll say why.
On another note, online word-of-mouth eradicates our need to rely on friends and family for recommendations of where to go and what to buy; their opinion is appreciated yet limited, comparing to the never-ending online vortex of choices, options and the best review sites. Type in a few words, press enter and see how deep the rabbit hole goes – The Matrix pun intended!

Cutting long story short, we trust online reviews because they are in most cases sincere and genuine. They sprout from real customer experience, real people, they are emotional and unbiased. There is an unannounced camaraderie between online reviewers, recommending products to one another, praising services and celebrating successes online. What makes it even more diverse and multi-minded is the fact that these reviewers are from different places, different mindsets, different cultures and different preferences, nevertheless, at the end of the day they all come together under one umbrella, speaking their mind about a brand, product or a service, especially on gyms and restaurants or become excited enough to buy this new phone which they’ve been hesitant about the past couple of months. We also deem other reviewers as peers, so we trust their opinions as if they were our friends or colleagues.

Consumers now-a-days realize that it’s all about “customer experience”, therefore; when they experience a brand that values their experiences, they’d like others to experience the experience so they go viral about it – too much experiences, ey?

Taking you back to some insightful numbers, here are the purchases that millennials won’t complete without conducting an online-review research and all the due diligence on the best review sites, Google reviews, Google ratings, and others such as Zomato, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and some others:

  • 44% on electronics
  • 40% on gyms, sports, cars
  • 32% to 39% on travel, food & beverage, hotels, leisure & entertainment
  • 29% on credit cards, insurance, banking & financial services

The take away is, consumers are becoming smarter by the day if not by the hour. The online review trust and camaraderie is forming a league of internet elites that are becoming market moderators and decision-making influencers, when saying elites, we mean customer-experience word rather than brand promise. Online reviews are here to stay, since your customers are reading and believing what they come across about your brand in those reviews, it’s a cardinal factor that you keep a watchful eye over the word-of-mouth about you online.

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