Boosting In-​Store Sales: The Importance of Product Reviews

82% of all shoppers check their phones while shopping in a physical store before making a purchase, according to Bazaarvoice survey results. More online shoppers than in-​store consumers read comments on the product before making a purchase. The importance of product reviews for online shoppers continues to increase as more people turn to e‑commerce.

The Importance of Product Reviews

"More than half (54%) of online purchasers said they had read online reviews prior to hitting the buy button, while 39% of consumers who made purchases in-​store did so, according to a study from customer ratings and review firm Bazaarvoice Inc. Findings are based on customer data from 20 retailers who asked shoppers online and at in-​store checkouts whether they’d read reviews."

AudienceSCAN survey results showed 7.5% of U.S. adults said "new product reviews" are their favorite sections to read in magazines or newspapers.

"Shoppers’ use of mobile devices and easy access to their peers’ opinions online account for the growth in review influence, the study says. An overwhelming 82% of shoppers say they consult their phones about a purchase they’re about to make inside a store and 36% of consumers visit product pages on their mobile devices while inside the store to reference reviews and product information."

52% of New Product Review Readers are using Android phones in stores, AudienceSCAN reported. Making adds compatible for mobile devices is crucial to the importance of product reviews.

"Survey results may help ease retailers’ worries about showrooming, a term commonly used to describe consumers researching a product in a bricks-​and-​mortar store and then buying it online, often at a lower price," Sandra Guy wrote for Internet Retailer. "The study finds that the number of in-​store shoppers using mobile devices to compare online prices and product information who then buy in a store has roughly doubled in the past seven months, to 39% from 18%."

33% of New Product Review Readers have visited a local store/​business website to research a product or service before making their purchases, according to AudienceSCAN data. Another 14% of these consumers downloaded a buying guide or pricing app (not tied to a specific brand).

The study also found:

  • 54% of those reading online reviews before shopping in stores are 25 to 35 year olds.
  • Product categories with the highest percentage of online research prior to being bought in-​store were appliances (58%), electronics (54%) men’s apparel (49%) and toys and games (44%). Within the fitness tracker product category, 71% of online purchasers read reviews compared with 64% of consumers who purchased in-store.
  • For every $1 of online revenue influenced by review content, reviews influence $5.21 in in-​store revenue for cameras, $5.07 for an Xbox One and $4.29 for a flat-​panel TV.
  • 70% of online shoppers read reviews of cookware before making a purchase while 28% of in-​store buyers did so.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.