Review culture and building consumer trust in an online world

Over the last decade, the world in which we live has gone through an accelerated digital transformation. From the phones we have in our pockets, to the internet, devices in our home, and even the way we interact with society- everything now includes an element of digital technology. But now more than ever, people are turning to the online and digital marketplace to purchase products and services.

This brings with it a new set of challenges as it is much harder to generate and cultivate trust as well as meaningful relationships between customers and providers. As we know, the trust between a consumer and the brand is extremely important. When a company can foster a genuine and honest connection with a customer, it creates brand loyalty and can lead to a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

laptop creditcard
Source: Pexels

Many of the signals people use to build trust involve interpersonal experiences. For example, eye contact, positive body language, a moderate pace and pitch of voice. These are difficult to replicate online. This can result in issues whereby consumers either purchase without developing brand loyalty and are therefore likely to switch between providers, or they are hesitant and do not buy as much, as often, or at all.

The answer to this has been an increase in review culture. Users and customers are keen to post reviews in various formats in the online sphere. These, in turn, are sought out by clients before they buy so they can get an idea of others’ experiences.

Special platforms

Following this increase in review culture and the demand for ranked services, reviews, ratings of products, and side-by-side comparisons, many specialised sites have popped up. For example, in the online trading sector, traders can now browse sites that show the best trading platforms, their features, and reviews, side by side. In a sector that is not only competitive but that includes the user depositing sometimes sizeable sums of money, building trust through sites like this is incredibly important.

Onsite reviews

Source: Pexels

Many platforms and online shopping sites now have a built-in review section. Here those who have purchased from the site can leave reviews and star ratings based on their experience. Sites like Amazon and eBay are great examples of this as building trust between client and user is very important in large, international market places.

Social media

Many customers will head to social media to see what people are saying about a particular brand or product. They might look at the comments and reviews on their Facebook page, or search for certain hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. This gives them access to live conversations about the product, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Blogs and articles

Last but not least, there are several sites (like this one) that specialise in the review of various products and services. Professionals or those with experience in a certain area will look at the item or brand objectively and provide their insights into how it works, customer service, value for money, and more.

As more and more of our lives take place online, so to will the sector adapt to meet our changing needs. Businesses will need to focus on finding other ways to build trust and nurture relationships with their clients. Fostering a review culture on multiple platforms is a great way to do this.