Paul M. Banas on Consumer Insights, Marketing Research, and the Digital Media Landscape
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How Word Of Mouth Can Drive Retail Buzz

In my previous post on social shopping, there was a good comment exchange with Shammara on the role of word of mouth in online retail, which led me to look at the influence of online reviews on purchase behavior.

From this Deloitte study, we find the 82% of online shoppers who read reviews say reviews have a direct influence on what they buy, either changing their minds on which product to buy or to provide reassurance on purchasing their original choice.

consumer review purchase influence

This word of mouth influence from consumer generated reviews covers a broad range of products, from electronics to consumer packaged goods.

consumer review product purchases influence

There also seems to be a wide range of approaches that allow sites to capitalize on word of mouth.

For instance, at you can find not only customer reviews, but also editorial reviews, personalized recommendations, wish lists, tell a friend links, Listmania, and “Customers who bought (or looked at) this item also bought”, etc.

Buzzillions, as Shammara pointed out, is an aggregator of customer reviews of products that collects reviews from retailers across the web, such as REI, Staples, and BH Photo.

What I find innovative about their approach is how they provide¬†verification for all 2.3 million reviews they’ve collected to date and the unique way they use tagging to classify the different reviews across all the categories they cover.¬† This tagging allows them provide useful snapshot reviews that include summaries of top pros, cons, and best uses for a product.

Yelp is a review site that does for restaurants and other local venues, what Amazon does for books.

By incorporating key features of social networking, including such things as extensive user profiles and connections to friends, Yelp levers social proof and authority, which are two of the four key principles of persuasive social media marketing, in order to bring their site to life.

Each of these resources utilize customer and/or user reviews in different ways, but all are highly effective.  By levering the power of consumer generated word of mouth, they are able to take online (and offline) retail to the next level.


1 Jeff { 07.29.08 at 11:42 am }

Very interesting post. Amazing how it has broaden beyond electronics. I think that’s what’s most useful.

2 The Influence of Reviews { 07.29.08 at 1:13 pm }

[...] recently with Paul M. Banas who writes a top content marketing blog Insight Buzz on the topics of consumer reviews and social elements of online [...]

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