The 2022 Reviews Consumer Survey: The Impact of User-Generated Content

Here’s what our consumer survey results revealed about how eCommerce shoppers are engaging with reviews, star ratings, photos, and videos.
INTRO
The state of eCommerce reviews today

As we move into somewhat of a post-COVID world — where consumers are shopping in stores again — online shopping continues to offer a ton of benefits. Between being able to shop from just about anywhere on mobile devices, and compare products and prices with the click of a few buttons, eCommerce shopping is still relevant for consumers. 

According to Cloudwards, eCommerce sales reached $4.9 trillion in 2021, and by the end of 2022, it’s estimated that sales will reach $5.5 trillion, globally. With eCommerce sales continuing to grow, user-generated content (UGC), such as reviews, will remain crucial to the shopping experience.

Reviews provide a dedicated space for brands to collect feedback and act on any customer insights. And when brands display that customer feedback on their site or social platforms, it can have a huge impact on the overall path to purchase.

In order to understand that impact, we surveyed consumers to see how the average shopper is engaging with reviews.

Table of Contents
01
Reviews are powerful for new and returning customers
02
How UGC drives customer sentiment
03
Optimizing your reviews widget
04
How Yotpo Reviews can help you meet consumers’ needs
05
4 tips for collecting and displaying customer content
01
Reviews are powerful for new and returning customers
02
How UGC drives customer sentiment
03
Optimizing your reviews widget
04
How Yotpo Reviews can help you meet consumers’ needs
05
4 tips for collecting and displaying customer content
Reviews are powerful for new and returning customers
Chapter 01
Reviews are powerful for new and returning customers

Our survey went out to 1,500 eCommerce shoppers across the US, UK, and Australia, ages 16 and up. After analyzing our survey results, it was clear that user-generated content and visual user-generated content — whether it be reviews, star ratings, photos, or videos — all play a large part in whether or not shoppers purchase specific products and from certain brands. So much so that, 61% of respondents across all three regions stated that UGC always influences their purchase decisions.

The power of user-generated content is equally important when it comes to product and brand discovery, and engaging new and returning customers. According to our results, when customers are interacting with their favorite brands, about 12% will read one or two reviews and nearly 58% of shoppers will read between three and five reviews before making a purchase. This is likely the case because of brand loyalty — loyal customers visiting your site for repeat purchases already trust your brand and know the quality of your products. Therefore, they only need to read a handful of reviews before making a purchase.

On the other hand, when it comes to brands that shoppers aren’t as familiar with, about 80% of consumers will typically read five or more reviews before making a purchase. This is why reviews are so important to building trust with new shoppers. With your most relevant reviews displayed directly on your site, you can turn casual shoppers into loyal customers.

How UGC drives customer sentiment
Chapter 02
How UGC drives customer sentiment

Reviews can be very influential for shoppers along the path to purchase. When shoppers are searching for a particular item, they can read product reviews to determine whether the item will meet their needs. Depending on what they find, they’ll either purchase the item or keep shopping around, and there are a few key factors that play a role in this decision-making process.

Photo and videos reviews inspire more trust

When photos and videos are included alongside written reviews, they can affect a shopper’s purchase decision — the more variety between written reviews, photos, and videos, the better. Customer photos and videos show new site visitors that you’re a reputable brand they can trust. Plus, 63% of consumers stated that they trust product reviews more when photos or videos are included.

And when shoppers see positive reviews from people who look like them — with similar body, skin, or hair types — it can also impact their likelihood of buying the item. In fact, 44% of shoppers say that it will always impact their purchase decision.

Positive and negative reviews help to showcase authenticity

Our survey also indicated that 35% of shoppers always search for negative reviews before making a purchase and 48% of shoppers will actively search for negative reviews from time to time.

This is most likely the case because bad reviews can make your positive reviews feel more authentic, which will lead your customers to trust your brand more. Actively searching for negative reviews also allows customers to weed out any negative details that may not be relevant to them. For example, let’s say that someone left a negative review about the color of a pair of shoes. If the shopper reading the review is more concerned about comfort than color, reading those negative reviews will help them make the purchase decision that best fits their needs.

On the other hand, when it comes to seeing both positive and negative reviews on a brand’s site, 25% of consumers are very likely to still trust a brand while 67% are somewhat likely to still trust the brand. Because of this, responding to your negative reviews is key to building that trust back up.

But simply responding to your reviews is not enough as consumers are still a bit wary. While almost half (45%) of the respondents stated that responding to negative reviews would positively impact a purchase decision, another 45% stated that it might positively influence a purchase decision. Because of this, in addition to responding to your negative reviews, it’s also important to analyze the negative feedback and act on it in order to improve the customer experience.

Optimizing your reviews widget
Chapter 03
Optimizing your reviews widget

According to our survey results, as customers are engaging with your reviews, there are a few areas within your reviews widget that they’re paying attention to the most.

  • Review recency: Over 50% of consumers surveyed stated that review recency affected whether or not they’d purchase an item. Approximately 40% of shoppers expect reviews to be no older than a month, almost 28% expect no older than a week, and about 23% expect to see reviews from a few days prior.
  • Review volume: When it comes to how many reviews you have posted on your site for a specific product, over 85% of consumers like to see when an item has anywhere between 50 and 500 reviews. If products have no reviews, over 30% of consumers stated that it would deter them from purchasing the item.
  • Star ratings: The addition of star ratings continue to play a crucial role when making a purchase decision as they give customers a quick snapshot of how the product has been perceived by past shoppers. Nearly 56% of consumers stated that star ratings were very important to their decision-making process, and 41% stated that it was somewhat important.

With these elements top of mind, eCommerce brands should ensure that their reviews provider makes it easy for them to collect as many high-quality reviews as possible.

How Yotpo Reviews can help you meet consumers’ needs
Chapter 04
How Yotpo Reviews can help you meet consumers’ needs

Yotpo Reviews have the features and resources that will allow brands to meet the needs of their customers. These features include:

Automatic and Manual Review Requests

One of the easiest ways to collect reviews is with review requests sent via email. According to our survey results, 63% of consumers stated that they prefer to receive review requests via email. On top of that, consumers appreciate personalized requests — 35% of respondents stated that personalized email review requests increase their likelihood of leaving a review.

With Yotpo Reviews, you can send customizable Automatic Review Requests that match the look and feel of your brand. Or, Manual Review Requests, which can be used to gather feedback from past shoppers or to request reviews for products that may not have as many. Because of our customizable email capabilities, brands that partner with Yotpo see a 6 to 8% review response rate versus the industry average of 1%.

Smart Prompts

If your shoppers are leaving generic reviews like “Love these shoes” or “Great top,” writing prompts could help. More than 50% of consumers stated that writing prompts and topic suggestions about shipping, quality, fit, color, and more make it easier for them to write a product review.

And Yotpo’s Smart Prompts feature does just that — it gathers high-converting topics from past reviews and suggests the topic as a prompt when customers are writing new reviews. With this feature, brands are able to generate a wide range of diverse user-generated content for their products.

For example, when luggage brand iFly was looking to collect higher-quality reviews, they started using Smart Prompts which allowed them to gather more detailed information in their reviews. After analyzing these key details from their customer reviews, iFly strategized on how to keep their happy customers returning and how to improve some of their products for future shoppers. Within 40 days of using Smart Prompts, the brand collected more than 1,000 detailed reviews.

Photo and Video Review Requests

If there’s one thing that our respondents made clear during this survey, it’s that they really like to see photos and videos alongside written reviews. And when you incentivize shoppers to add photos and videos to their reviews, they’re more likely to do so. While 47% of consumers surveyed said that discounts and coupons would incentivize them to leave a review, 54% said that discounts or loyalty points would incentivize them to include photos or videos alongside those reviews.

Our Photo and Video Review Requests allow your brand to collect photos and videos seamlessly from your shoppers to further impact the path to purchase. UK-based pottery brand Emma Bridgewater found success with Photo and Video Review Requests. With Yotpo, the brand collected well over 2,000 customer photos and they’ve displayed these customer photos for more than half of their products. By collecting photos with their reviews, Emma Bridgewater has made an impact on both customer engagement and their conversion rates.

Reviews Carousels

When shoppers see a display of reviews and other forms of user-generated content throughout a brand’s site, it increases the likelihood of purchasing an item for nearly 50% of consumers.

The Reviews Carousel feature allows brands to fill this need by importing a revolving display of customer reviews and/or photos to high-conversion areas such as their homepage, checkout pages, and product detail pages.

Australian-based clothing brand, Princess Polly was really looking forward to partnering with a solution that would allow the brand to gather more customer photos. And once the brand started using Yotpo, they were excited to see how quickly customer photos started to pour in. By displaying these customer images in key conversion areas — such as their product detail pages to showcase how other customers have styled their products — Princess Polly was able to make a huge impact on the path to purchase for their shoppers.

Review Syndication

If shoppers see positive reviews on social media, it increases their likelihood of purchasing the item with 52% of shoppers saying that they are very likely to make a purchase.

Review Syndication capabilities make it easy for brands to amplify the reach of their reviews by pushing them to third-party marketplaces such as shops on Facebook and Instagram. Syndicating UGC to social media platforms can make the path to purchase that much more seamless, and it can help to boost product discovery.

For skincare brand Hero Cosmetics, the goal was to create a smooth shopping experience for their customers on social. After syndicating their reviews to shops on Facebook, Hero Cosmetics created a frictionless path to purchase. They also began to see a huge spike in orders with a monthly order growth rate of 150%.

Beyond social, you can also amplify the reach of your hard-earned user-generated content on other platforms like Walmart.com. By syndicating your reviews to Walmart, your brand can increase sales, reach new customers, and even boost brand trust.

4 tips for collecting and displaying customer content
Chapter 05
4 tips for collecting and displaying customer content

With all of these insights, it’s clear that the time to take action on impacting the buyer’s journey is now. Here are four key takeaways from our survey that your brand should consider when collecting, displaying, and amplifying customer content.

1. Collect as much UGC as possible

Review volume and recency are important to consumers. Because of this, ensuring that you’re collecting enough reviews for each of your products is not only a good practice, but it’s the best way to keep your customers engaged and returning to your site for repeat purchases. Additionally, be sure that your reviews are as up to date as possible; otherwise, shoppers may decide to go in another direction.

2. Incentivize photo and video reviews

Customers like to see themselves represented in the reviews that they’re reading as it allows them to determine whether the item will fit them and their needs. Seeing photos of people with similar characteristics as them goes a long way in filling this need. If you’re looking to collect photos and videos within your reviews, consider incentivizing this additional customer content with coupons or loyalty points that can be used toward a future purchase.

3. Display, respond, and act on negative reviews

Don’t hide your negative reviews — some consumers are actively searching for negative reviews during their path to purchase. But keep in mind that it’s not enough to simply display those negative reviews on your site, responding and acting on reviews can go a long way. Your shoppers want to see you take action to improve their experience and your products. Plus, doing so will help you build brand trust with your customers.

4. Showcase your customer content

Customers like to see positive reviews and customer photos on your site as well as on social media. Therefore, finding ways to ensure that your best customer content is front and center can help to impact the buyer’s journey in a more positive way. When shoppers see UGC, it can inspire them to visit your site and see what else you have to offer.

Remember, finding ways to impact the customer path to purchase isn’t a one and done task — it’s a continuous process that requires listening to your shoppers and understanding their needs.

Why UGC is important in eCommerce

Collecting and displaying user-generated content allows brands to connect with shoppers, build community, and increase buyer confidence. And when you pair your UGC with a tool like Yotpo Insights, you can analyze feedback alongside your customer photos and videos to further understand brand and product sentiment.

During the decision-making process, user-generated content and visual user-generated content play a huge role in whether or not shoppers will buy from you. Because of this, understanding how you can use UGC and VUGC to your brand’s advantage and make the most of it during the buyer’s journey can help your brand grow. Schedule a demo with us today!

Interested in Yotpo?
Schedule a call with one of our eCommerce experts to learn more.
Thank you.
We'll be in touch in no time! In the meantime, take a look at what our customers are saying about Yotpo.
Yotpo customers logosYotpo customers logosYotpo customers logos
Laura Doonin, Commercial Director recommendation on yotpo

“Yotpo is a fundamental part of our recommended tech stack.”

Shopify plus logo Laura Doonin, Commercial Director
Yotpo customers logosYotpo customers logosYotpo customers logos