If you're a retailer and you don't have or allow user-generated reviews on your website, here's some information from an article by Shannon Bryant on the ad-ology Marketing Forecast site that might get your focus off of Facebook and back on your own home page!
Below are a few of the insights from the article which covers a new "Social Shopping" study by the e-tailing group and PowerReviews of over 1,000 consumers who shop online more than 4 times a year and spend over $250 annually:
"Retailers’ sites played an important role in the research process, and respondents said the most critical capability for a retailer to have was customer reviews. A lack of user-generated reviews would cause nearly one-half (49%) of respondents to leave a retailer’s site."
"Though the “2010 Social Shopping Study” found that customer reviews had a strong influence on the purchases of 71% of respondents – while only 25% said the same about Facebook fan pages – an earlier e-tailing group study of Web merchants found Facebook had caught on so strongly that more planned a presence on the social networking site in the next year than would have customer reviews."
- The majority (57%) of shoppers begin their online research with a search engine
- The top three places consumers named for finding information online when researching products were retailer sites (65%), brand sites (58 percent) and Amazon.com (33%)
- Social Media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) ranked as the place where consumers were least likely (6%) to research
- Shoppers today are spending more time reading reviews before making purchasing decisions. 64 percent take ten minutes or more (as compared to 50 percent in 2007) and 33 percent take one half hour or more (as compared to 18 percent in 2007).
- Consumers today are also reading more customer reviews in order to be confident in judging a product. 39 percent read eight or more reviews (as compared with 22 percent in 2007) and 12 percent read 16 or more reviews (as compared with 5 percent in 2007).
- The top factors that degrade trust in product reviews are not enough reviews (50 percent of respondents say this degrades trust), doubt that they are written by real customers (39 percent) and no or limited availability of negative reviews (38 percent)
- Following poor product content (72 percent), lack of customer reviews (49 percent) was ranked as the number one reason a consumer would leave a site when conducting product research.