How Product Ratings Affect Customer Perception

Posted on March 31, 2015

Product reviews have long been used as a means for encouraging customers to purchase a company's products. The reviews have also been used as a User Generated Content (UGC) marketing tactic to improve customer engagement and purchase ratings, while simultaneously enhancing the number of site visits. A 2014 consumer marketing study revealed that customer testimonials had the highest effectiveness rating in all content marketing efforts at an impressive 89 percent. With this in mind, it is easy to deduce that product ratings can affect a customer's perception; however, the question remains, "just what is the affect?"

Product Ratings and Customer Buying
The accessibility of online products has convinced consumers to spend extra time researching items before the point of purchase. This proactive consumerism has been driven by product ratings. Over 57 percent of online shoppers say that both user-generated reviews and ratings are a critical component of online retail stores. This means that consumers are more likely to shop at stores that actively publish product ratings and reviews. In addition, 90% of consumers readily admit that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, including product ratings. When 90 percent of your potential consumers take the time to engage with product reviews, it is important that you acquire enough reviews to influence their decision.

The Number of Product Ratings Will Influence a Consumer's Purchasing Decision
Achieving a five out of five star product rating can help businesses improve their customer purchase ratings. However, a recent study shows that there must be multiple user reviews. For example, if there is only a single five star rating, then the consumer won't be as likely to purchase the product. If, however, the product has received multiple five star ratings, then the consumer will be more likely to purchase this item. In short, multiple five star ratings will greatly influence a consumer's purchase decision; while a single five star rating might encourage them to only consider buying the product.

Below are a few statistics to help you understand why multiple product ratings are so important to the consumer.

  • Of 2,250 people polled, 62 percent would choose a product with a 4.5 star average based on 12 ratings, over a 5 star average based on 2 ratings.
  • Of 2,250 people polled, 57 percent would choose a product with a 4.5 star average based on 57 ratings, over a 5 star average based on 4 ratings.
  • Age has also been shown to influence a consumer's buying bias. For example, younger audiences under 35 are more likely to subconsciously lean towards products with a "good but not perfect" rating. Older audiences over 35 are more likely to buy the "highly rated" product.

Concluding Thoughts on Product Ratings and Consumer Perception
Displaying product reviews will greatly affect a consumer's buying decision. However, an equally important component is the number of user-generated reviews that are displayed. This fact is perfectly epitomized by the top 50 U.S. eCommerce sites, of which 68 percent actively display product ratings in the product list design.

UGC should be used in conjunction with product ratings to further improve the likelihood that the consumer will engage with and purchase a business' product. 90 percent of online shoppers say that user-generated product ratings and reviews greatly influence their buying decisions. With this in mind, product ratings should be actively displayed, users should be able to easily submit product ratings, and the number of user ratings should also be actively displayed. Following these three steps can help to improve customer engagement levels, as well as customer purchasing rates.

Sources:

1. http://www.socialfresh.com/marketing-statistics-every-cmo-should-know-in-2014/
2. http://boast.io/customer-review-statistics/
3. http://baymard.com/blog/user-perception-of-product-ratings
4. http://marketingland.com/survey-customers-more-frustrated-by-how-long-it-takes-to-resolve-a-customer-service-issue-than-the-resolution-38756




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