In retail (and especially eCommerce), customer expectations are higher than ever, and the rise of review culture makes it all the more important that customer experience is prioritised. Brands are now recognising the emphasis consumers place on reviews during the buying (and delivery) process.

We all know that people are twice as likely to share a bad brand experience than a good one – a minor dissatisfaction will quickly induce a negative review, but experience has to be truly exceptional for a customer to go out of their way to leave a positive review.

So, to what extent can reviews affect the level of trust customers place in your brand?

Our partners Trustpilot have released a new report based on research conducted with behavioural insight practice, Canvas8.

This report goes deeper than understanding that reviews are essential to differentiating your brand in today’s online economy. The report uncovers the truth about why we put our faith in reviews, which types of reviews are most trusted by shoppers, and why a perfect five-star rating might not be the review you want.

You can download Trustpilot’s report on the critical role of reviews in Internet trust here.


We have less brand trust than ever…

Consumer trust in organisations and brands is weaker than ever. Just 71% of people questioned in the report say that they trust consumer brands, with 21% saying that they now have less trust in brands than they did a year ago.

All this to say, trust in organisations is at an all-time low.

Conversely, consumers trust the brands that their peers trust.

Word-of-mouth is still our strongest marketing tool.

Aside from recommendations from family and friends, UK consumers rank review websites as the place they trust to provide an honest opinion about a good or service.


… so review platforms are more important than ever

“As trust declines, people increasingly put faith in peer-generated content.”

A whopping 90% of UK consumers report checking reviews before they make a purchase, with half of UK consumers citing positive reviews as a top influence compelling them to purchase from a company.

Reviews alone though are not enough.

Consumers need to be able to trust he review they’re reading, in order to trust the brand they’re considering. Truth and transparency are absolutely key to trusted reviews:

“Consumers are strongly against censorship and are invested in finding the truth, and expect review platforms to align with these values.”

The report identifies three elements to trusted reviews:

Realness and authenticity

UK consumers (56%) believe it’s very important to know exactly how websites publish their reviews. We’ve all heard of influencers endorsing dodgy products, companies deleting bad reviews, and people being paid to leave positive ones – which means we’re more sceptical than ever about the source of a review.

Trustpilot is an open review platform, which means that:

“Anyone is free to write a review, as long as they comply with the guidelines set out by the platform. In short, open platforms enable greater freedom of speech and do not allow companies to censor reviews.”

Review manipulation is (understandably) a big issue for many consumers:

  • 45% think review manipulation is a bigger problem than false advertising
  • More than 3 in 5 (62%) hold a zero-tolerance attitude towards fake reviews
  • Around half (49%) worry that fake reviews will lead them to waste money on poor products and services, with 16% usually believing a five-star review is fake.

Make sure you have lots of recent reviews

“In the world of commerce, you’re only as good as your last sale.”

How recently a review was left, can be more important than the total number of reviews a company has.

If reviews are all old, what’s to say the quality of the goods or services hasn’t changed lately? Consumers understand that business is constantly changing and evolving – and that only the most recent views give an up-to-date picture.

61% of UK consumers would trust a company more that has fewer reviews overall but has more recent reviews than others.

Build relationships with consumers – and respond positively to reviews

As well as knowing that a negative experience is more likely to result in the customer leaving a review than a positive experience, a potentially negative experience that has been dealt with well and turned into a positive one is even more likely to result in the customer leaving a positive review – and to a potential customer trusting that review and that brand later.

“Consumers are three times more likely to buy from a company that seems to have made a mistake and responded quickly”

  • 64% would prefer to buy from a responsive company over one that appears perfect
  • 53% say that a mix of both positive and negative reviews is most likely to prompt a purchase
  • 55% would prefer to buy a product with a large number of reviews and an average rating over
  • 55% have more faith in imperfect review scores, believing that a less than perfect review proves authenticity
  • 81% say that trusting a brand to do what is right is a deciding factor in purchase decisions.

Review culture cannot be ignored. Consumers put almost as much faith in trusted online review sites as they do in recommendations from friends and family. Well-known and trusted review site – like Trustpilot – can build trust in your brand.

For many of our subscribers, the time between purchase and delivery can be long (think home and garden sectors for instance) and the subscriber has ultimate ownership and control of the delivery process as they’re conducting that with their own drivers and vehicles.

In consultation with Trustpilot, we identified an issue where customers were being asked to provide feedback before orders were delivered.

By using Trustpilot with Stream, those customers will be automatically invited to provide a review at the very end of the delivery process when that order has been completed.

Its not just the final product (or service) that is important, or just the online buying process that is important.

The delivery experience is just as important to building that authenticity and relationship with the customer. It is also vitally important in ensuring lots of recent, up-to-date reviews.

Which customers are going to provide a relevant review when they’ve not even received their goods?

Request a demo to learn how Stream works with Trustpilot to get real reviews from real customers – as soon as they’ve received their goods.