Online product reviews have grown into a very valued resource. In the first steps of decision making, most people would consider those in their inner circle as the first resource to go to when researching information for a product. Therefore, there is no surprise in the developing world of social media that people are turning towards their trusted companions not only directly, but through their social media outlets. Jumping from a circle of friends to another circle of friends, to the opinions of strangers who have had experience with a product of potential interest has become a big influence. In fact, more and more people are comfortable going directly to product reviews to obtain an array of opinions to aid in the decision-making process.
Companies know the importance of product reviews in swaying consumer opinions and seriously use the input given by reviewers to improve products and foresee future needs of the product such as knowing what to keep selling or how popular an item is and how much they should supply. On the other side of the spectrum, consumers feel more confident in purchase decisions through product reviews.
Examples of product reviews can be seen when looking at products on Amazon and scrolling down to see a series of reviews from others. Aside from product reviews made by the public, sites have also implemented expert reviews and blogging that adds a sense of security in the assessments being made. Facebook has also implemented a Review app for customers to leave five-star ratings and comments on their favorite Brand pages. Many Facebook users can also simply write their opinions about a product on the brand’s “wall” becoming a less formal product review for everyone to see.
Another social application that is exploiting the power of product reviews is smartphone apps. The new boom of smartphones has created a lifestyle that product reviews are jumping on board with. Many new apps revolve around the idea of scanning a product by its barcode and obtaining product reviews as well as various locations and pricing of that product in a matter of minutes. Theses apps allow users to lock in a purchase decision on the spot by evaluating the opinions and experiences of their fellow peers as well as give users an incentive of also finding the best deal for that product. Yelp is a popular example of an app that uses product reviews adding that extra value for consumers. Social applications are taking online product reviews to a new level adding more value to the way people think about buying products and the way companies use consumer input.
Filed under: Internet Marketing