Why and How Consumers Use Reviews When Making a Purchase Decision
In a world with a high variety of alternatives and decisions, reviews offer simple, relevant guidance. People make decisions every minute and it becomes quickly tiresome. Humans can only process so much information at once.
Consumer reviews sum up the experience of other peers about services and products that are available in abundance in today’s world. People read reviews to guide them in their decision making process.
Experiences on the Rise
The number of consumers that spend more of their disposable income on experiences like entertainment and travelling has been rising over the past years. Experiences are different from products in that these can’t be exchanged or returned. Hence, especially in these industries, reviews are very powerful and impactful.
Besides having a wide selection of options, consumers are also aware that not every business fulfils their promises, and consumers don’t want to end up disappointed or feeling like they wasted their money. So before making a decision, consumers look to reviews to tell them a story about the company — is the business likely to impress or deceive?
Looking For the Perfect Product
Another instance where reviews have weight in consumer decisions, is when purchasing new products or from unknown brands. Reviews also play a big role if a consumer feels the purchase is expensive. For example, reviews are sought after for items such as electronics or home appliances, which are rarely bought and represent a high portion of a household’s budget.
Furthermore, people are also interested in reviews of products and services that a perceived more sensitive and vital, like the personal health and fitness categories. While consumers are keen to try new things, there’s also often a degree of hesitation. Everyone reads reviews when they want to try something new.
When consumers perceive a source of information as trustworthy, it’s easier for them to balance their options and make a smart decision.
Reviews remain meaningful in the eyes of consumers only when they can be trusted. Verified reviews allow consumers to get a sense of how companies treated their customers in the past. Reputable reviews make it easier to figure out which businesses to avoid, saving consumers time and money — two resources valued highly by consumers.
In a nutshell, people read reviews because they:
- Offer valuable guidance from peers who’ve used the service or product
- Make the decision making process much easier
- Are testament to a company’s reputation and trustworthiness
- Indicate what a consumer should expect from using the product or service
- Give consumers insight about product quality