NEW YORK -- Online reviews play an important role for shoppers, with the majority of consumers (88%) saying reviews help when deciding what to buy and who to buy from, according to new research by Trustpilot, the leading review community for online shoppers. The findings from Trustpilot's first ever U.S. consumer-focused survey looked into the importance of reading, writing and trusting online reviews.

Reading Online Reviews

The way consumers shop online continues to evolve, and as a result when and where consumers read reviews varies throughout the shopping experience. Of those surveyed, 19% read reviews prior to visiting a company's site, 25% read reviews right when they get there, and 47% read while on the site but before adding an item to their cart (while actively shopping).

"Consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on online reviews to research companies and make purchase decisions," said Fred Mather, General Manager of The Americas at Trustpilot. "Because consumers are interacting with these online reviews throughout the entire shopping experience, it's important for businesses to make sure customer feedback is easy to find and showcased throughout every step of the process."

The consumers surveyed quoted a variety of factors as important when reading online reviews, including overall rating or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company's feedback (50% of respondents). Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted is more relevant.

Writing Online Reviews

Customers want to voice their opinions and the best way for businesses to ensure feedback is to ask for it. Surprisingly, only 14% of consumers would write an organic review, while 29% would if a company asked for the review.

Not all organic feedback is going to be positive, as consumers are almost twice as likely to write a review after a bad experience than a positive one (33% vs. 20% respectively).

Trusting Online Reviews

Trust is paramount when it comes to online reviews, which is why feedback needs be both reliable and relevant. According to the Trustpilot survey, there is currently a large gap between the demand for trust and actual perception of authenticity with only 18% believing online reviews are valid.

It's important for businesses to incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience in a way that will build trust and transparency. For example, independent review platforms such as Trustpilot are considered just as – if not more – trustworthy than content posted by a business on their company website or comments posted on social media.

Best Practices for Businesses

Understanding how consumers read, write and believe in online reviews can help business create a more trustworthy customer feedback strategy, including:

  • Making sure online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience
  • Giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion
  • Responding to negative feedback in real-time
  • Asking the customer to update their review, once the situation is resolved
  • Analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products

About Trustpilot

Trustpilot is a global, online review community that builds trust and transparency between consumers and businesses. Currently boasting more than 19 million consumer reviews of 120,000 businesses, Trustpilot produces a TrustScore for businesses based on recent reviews. Trustpilot's community is live in 27 countries and more than 10,000 consumers sign up to Trustpilot everyday. The platform also helps businesses generate insights through customer review data analytics. This can be used to continuously improve business operations, increase customer satisfaction and drive innovation. By enabling businesses to engage directly with customers, Trustpilot aims to set new global standards in consumer to business dialog.

Trustpilot has customers in 65 countries and has developed strong positions in Denmark, Sweden, UK, France,

Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. With offices in Copenhagen, London, New York, Berlin and Melbourne, Trustpilot's 500+ employees represent 40 different nationalities.

Ashley Kraynak
Account Supervisor - M&C Saatchi PR
625 646.386.2974