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New Study: Consumers Go Online to Verify Product Recommendations

You tell your dear friend, George, that you’re in the market for a new car. As an extreme Brand Advocate for his BMW MINI, his face lights up when he hears the news. He begins gushing about what a blast he has thrashing his MINI around the windy roads in Silicon Valley during his lunch breaks.

As your friend, George is one of the most influential sources for an auto recommendation. (According to Nielsen, 90% of people trust recommendations from people they know vs. only 14% who trust ads.) But especially for large ticket items like cars, it helps to explore the opinions of other MINI owners as well.

In fact, a recent study by Cone Communications found that many consumers go online to seek additional information about products they're considering purchasing as well as to verify recommendations they’ve received from their peers.

Take a look at some of the key results:

  • 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase products when they can find online recommendations to support offline advice.
  • 4 out of 5 consumers reverse purchase decisions based on negative online reviews. (Calculate just how much negative reviews are costing your business now.)
  • Before deciding whether to purchase products, 64% of consumers go online to search for consumer or user reviews and 42% read articles or blog posts about the product/service.
  • For moderate (e.g. computer equipment) to high cost items (e.g. cars), 89% of consumers go online to do additional research on products recommended to them. For low cost items (e.g. movies or restaurants), 78% of consumers seek additional online information.
  • Consumers go online to verify product recommendations in various industries: Automotive/Transportation (53%), Electronics and Household appliances (59%.), Food and Beverage (39%).

Energize Your Advocates to Generate Online Recommendations

This study truly highlights why it’s important that brands continuously drive their most enthusiastic customers to where prospects are seeking online product information. Mobilize your Brand Advocates, who are already recommending you to their social networks both on and offline by giving them the tools to create glowing testimonials.

Then, direct Advocates to the appropriate online destination where they can publish their recommendations, whether it’s a third party review sites, community forums, or social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Getting Advocate-generated content in front of the eyes of prospects means increased conversion rates and increased sales.

Check out a recent case study to learn more: Consumer Electronics Company Gets 5% Conversion Rates by Energizing Brand Advocates

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance