Online reviews have most influence on consumers

Review rating most important for businesses

Online customer reviews have more influence than most other marketing communications, according to new research from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

The study, led by senior lecturer Dr Raffaele Filieri, was published in the Journal of Business Research and shows that consumers often use the overall star ranking given by a reviewer when selecting a product to purchase. The credibility of online reviews does not seem to be taken into consideration, with many people neglecting to check the review content or source.

Dr Raffaele Filieri said: “For a specialist, small business a positive review means a lot – it means money. Only a very limited number of people check the credibility of a reviewer and so my results show that credibility is not important for consumer decisions, rather the overall ranking and a product’s features rating.”

Filieri added: “Very few consumers will read more than 10 reviews before making the decision to buy a product or service – what’s important, to evaluate a product’s quality and performance, is the quality of information in those few reviews.”

The results of the study could have implications for online marketing in many sectors, including the beauty industry. Filleri said: “It is paramount for marketers to understand what makes online consumer reviews helpful and how this process affects a customer’s decisions. If you have a good product then this way the customer can do the marketing for you. This is proving much more effective than spending thousands of pounds on advertising.”