22nd June 2011: Richard Anson, Founder of Reevoo, explains the findings from the company's latest research into social commerce and consumer shopping habits. Read the research report.
Participation is the norm, not the exception
Consumer participation in social commerce is absolutely the norm today. Our research shows that more than 50% of people read reviews or ask their friends and family and it's absolutely the way that shoppers purchase today.
Product reviews are core
Product reviews and ratings are core to the buying process but actually we can do so much more these days. Technology allows us to enable consumers to actually have conversations rather than just rely on the broadcast medium of reviews.
Advertising is less relevant
Advertising has become less relevant - our recent research shows that only 11% of people are influenced by advertising. That has big implications on brands and retailers still spending vast amounts of money on traditional advertising – what I’d call ‘old school’ advertising. This is because consumers have become more savvy, they're over marketed to, and they've also lost some trust in the claims that some brands and retailers have historically made.
Not just what we buy, but from whom we buy
It's not just what we buy, but whom we buy from. Brands and retailers have their reputations discussed across various review sites that are just open systems where anyone can write their opinion – ‘Mr Angry’s can write their opinion. In this environment, whom we buy from is becoming increasingly important. And as a brand or a retailer you really need to protect your brand and you need to enhance it and make sure that everybody understands your true reputation online.
Mobile is increasingly important
Mobiles are taking an increasingly important place in the consumer purchase journey: 20% of consumers now use their mobiles to check prices in-store. I think that the role of mobile will become more and more important. As a brand or a retailer or a store owner, you’re going to have to become more comfortable with the fact that consumers will be pulling out mobile devices – whether a tablet or a smart phone – to compare and you need to embrace it as a business.
Bad reviews are good for trust
What really matters is the truth and presenting an objective picture. No business is perfect; no product is perfect. So, as a consumer, if you read reviews about products or a business and they are all perfect, it creates doubt. So presenting that true balanced picture, both the good and the bad, is really important. Sure, you don't have to show reviews that have defamatory comments, but you shouldn't edit anything out of the commentary.
Independence is vital
Independence is cherished by consumers. Our research has shown that consumers trust independent reviews and opinions three times more than if they’re provided by a retailer or brand.