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Customer reviews are 60% more effective than social media endorsements when buying online, according to research

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of UK shoppers believe that seeing reviews from other customers is a key part of their decision-making process when shopping online. In comparison, only 23% feel it’s important to see images of what they’re buying according to research from software company Episerver.

What has the most impact on consumer buying decisions online?

Not-so-influential influencers

Whilst customer reviews are ranked as a vital factor for encouraging online purchases, in contrast, less than 10% feel social media posts influence their decisions and less than 2% think it is important for products to be endorsed by celebrities.

Around a quarter of consumers say it is important to see static images of the product, nearly twice as many (45%) want to see images of the product whilst in use.

Genuine endorsement matters

Discussing the power of authenticity when it comes to influencing consumers, Rachel Teitt, director of analyst and public relations at Episerver, says: “In today’s competitive market, consumers are in a position of power and so their trust and loyalty are not earnt. Consumers are inquisitive and increasingly research-led, preferring authentic information to guide their decision making when making purchases. Marketers and PR professionals need to focus their strategies around this consumer mindset – emphasising third-party endorsements, independent reviews and earned content to attract key audiences.

“Today, marketing and PR professionals aren’t selling a product or service, but a brand experience. Brands can use the fact that consumers are placing so much trust in customer reviews to their advantage to attract audiences and boost engagement across earned, owned and social channels.”


The Episerver Reimagining Commerce: Global Findings report is based on a survey of 4,028 global consumers ages 18 and older who have shopped online within the last year. The survey was conducted online between Nov. 9-16, 2017, and has a 2% of error at a 95% confidence level. Survey respondents come from the following countries: UK, US, Germany and the Nordics (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway). For more information download the 2018 Reimagining Commerce report.

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