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Consumer Trust Relies Heavily on Reviews and Brand Honesty

In yet another sign that online reviews can make or break the path to purchase, June 2019 research from Trustpilot found that consumers would lose trust in a brand not only if they saw negative reviews—but also if the brand went one step further and deleted them.

For a majority (95.0%) of the digital shoppers surveyed worldwide, that type of behavior played a big role in their distrust of a company, as did not having any reviews at all (cited by 81.0%).

When asked what factors would lead to an increase in brand trust, three of the top 10 factors centered around reviews. Nearly all respondents said positive customer reviews increased their trust in a brand, while 80.1% said they trusted companies that have a lot of customers reviews. Interestingly, if a company responded to negative customer comments, that would drive up trust for 79.9% of those surveyed.

There’s no denying that shoppers can be picky. In fact, a November 2018 study from tech provider TurnTo found that if US internet users were looking at two similar products—with a price difference of $2—73% would be more inclined to buy the pricier product with a higher rating. And if they didn’t see a review or a rating on the retailer’s site? Some 76% would be less inclined to buy anything at all.

Reviews are also a key way shoppers get to know a brand, according to Trustpilot. When asked how they familiarize themselves with an online company they haven’t heard of, most of those digital shoppers polled said they read customer reviews.

To put that in perspective, for new customers on a path to purchase, reading reviews took precedence over looking at a brand's social media channels, comparing prices and searching for coupons.