Almost three-quarters of US online shoppers find product reviews influential when visiting a retailer’s website, making reviews the most influential content type of those identified, according to recently-released results [pdf] from a UPS and comScore study. The new data – specific to online shoppers in the US – also demonstrates the influence of Q&A (48%) and product and brand videos (47%) among shoppers. Previous research has similarly found that product videos boost purchase likelihood among their viewers.
The study also finds that consumer and peer reviews are important factors in the path to purchase, with 55% of shoppers deeming these important when searching and selecting products. However, detailed product information (73%) is the most important factor in the search and selection process, followed by retailer reputation (66%), return policy (62%), and the presence of multiple images or the ability to zoom in (59%).
Similar factors are important when shopping via mobile applications. Indeed, product images (54%) and product reviews (53%) are considered the most important retail app features among users, with these followed by relevant search results (50%) and mobile coupons (50%). While the study cautions that “apps… aren’t a must for every retailer,” 4 in 5 mobile shoppers surveyed reported having used a retailer’s app rather than a browser to access a retailer at some point.
Returning to purchase influence, reviews or posts from marketplaces have influenced almost two-thirds (65%) of shoppers, with friends and family (55%) following. Fewer (29%) claim to have been influenced by reviews or posts found on social media. Respondents noted that the types of retailer posts that they are most likely to view on Facebook are promotions (47%), new product announcements (38%) and sweepstakes (38%).
About the Data: UPS developed the study with comScore, Inc. Input was collected from 5,118 qualified panelists in January and February 2015. Shoppers were required to have made at least 2-3 online purchases in a typical 3-month period.