Shoppers believe that genuine reviews influence purchasing decisions


As e-commerce becomes more popular and the landscape continues to change, social proof becomes essential for brands and shoppers to build trust. Emplifi recently commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a study to understand consumer sentiment regarding social proof within the customer journey.

The rapid growth of technologies such as smartphones and immersive technologies, as well as social media in today’s e-commerce landscape are changing the way people interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. Additionally, they rely on various types of social proof alongside traditional reviews and ratings to build trust in a brand.

Harris Interactive recently conducted a study on behalf of Emplifi to understand consumer sentiment regarding social proof within the customer journey. For brands looking to develop long-term loyalty and conversions, the insights serve as the foundation for a shopping experience backed by brand authenticity. Here are the findings from the study.

Customers want user-generated content

Content is an essential part of a customer journey as buyers try to find as much information about a product as possible before making a purchase. Online shoppers consider user reviews to be essential and willingly contact them to ensure they are making the right decision. According to the study, online reviews and ratings are the most influential factor when buyers research a product, beating price, shipping cost and return policy.

User Generated Content (UGC) has become a staple for brands to ensure marketing success and provide an engaging and authentic customer experience. After another Study by Nosto and Censuswide51% of shoppers would engage with the relevant UGC or influencer-generated content if it were displayed in search results on an e-commerce site.

Online shoppers look to real people’s experiences to decide whether to buy a product. Ensuring consistent coverage of reviews, both in written and visual form, should be a priority for brands looking to reap the rewards of customer feedback.

According to the study, 87% of consumers said real-life reviews and ratings have a greater impact on their purchasing decisions. About 87% also consider user reviews to be the most authentic interactions they have with brands. About 71% say that “authentic” positive user reviews and ratings make a difference in purchasing decisions.

The study also found that 54% always or regularly research photos or videos of real people online before purchasing an item. Also, 56% would not buy from a brand without checking online reviews and ratings.

See more: 80% of consumers abandon an ecommerce portal due to poor search experience

Shoppers visit multiple websites before making a purchase decision

Customers usually invest a lot of time and effort in searching for products at different prices and on more than the brand’s website. Third-party sites and communities make social proof easily accessible to shoppers by showcasing reviews and UGC at key touchpoints throughout the customer journey, from marketplace product listings to social media posts.

The study found that consumers search for lower-end products on one or more websites. About 55% visit 3-9 websites to research mid-range products. Additionally, marketplaces like Amazon are the usual place to search for lower-priced products, while search engines are the usual place to search for higher-priced products.

All generations want authentic content from customers

Generational differences exist in how customers interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. However, there are no clear differences between the way Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X shoppers research products. When it comes to customer feedback on brands and products, all generations want the same thing: authentic content from buyers that they can identify with.

However, the impact of authentic brand interactions varies across generations. For example, Generation X shoppers have higher expectations for brand authenticity in customer support interactions and agent qualities. Generation X shoppers are also more likely to take action after receiving an authentic customer care experience.

About 60% of Gen X consumers ranked “They speak to you in your language” as very important, compared to 43% of Gen Z shoppers. About 52% of Gen X ranked “You can contact them the way you would.” prefer” as very important, compared to 32% of Gen Z. Approximately 44% of Gen X shoppers are likely to recommend a brand after receiving an authentic customer care experience. compared to just 28% of Gen Z. About 49% of Gen X shoppers who received an authentic customer care experience are likely to buy from a brand again, versus 33% of Gen Z.


Recommendations and word-of-mouth have long been an integral part of the customer experience, ahead of social media platforms and market reviews. However, with the expansion of brands’ geographic reach, a broader digital consumer base, and the proliferation of social media and marketplaces, social proof such as customer reviews, ratings, and UGC have become essential for businesses to connect with their online consumers and build a sense of belonging trust.

Above all, people crave authenticity, regardless of generation. Brands can leverage the experiences and voices of their existing customers and capitalize on the positive impact they have on an individual’s online shopping journey.

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