top of page

Reviews are a gift.

Commerce should thank reviews for growth - and there's more to come

A ‘product review’ appreciation post - now and next.

We’d have bought a lot less snake oil and headlight fluid if reviews were a thing in yesteryear. Reviews are a gift.

Reviews - and the larger category of UGC - are a staple of our digital shopper journey, and according to shoppers (and per the Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index), carry two primary responsibilities: vouch for product quality and value. The latter factor is of increasing importance with increasing aged shoppers.

Shoppers are critics, and while looking to fulfill a need, must avoid being hoodwinked. And for the last few decades, that meant navigating to the PDP to seek counsel from a crowd of prior purchasers. Reviews earned their stars by helping to overcome the limitations of the digital channel, and thus fostering the growth of digital commerce.

But we’re seeing a noticeable shift in =where= we find that user-generated validation. Validation is increasingly happening earlier in the journey. As (social) ads shift from brand-created to user-generated (buyer testimonials, influencers, creators) much of that validation is happening at the point of attraction. It’s why folks feel funnel-flattening is here. And that condensed buyer journey is disproportionately happening with younger demo buyers where ~3 in 4 claim to have made purchases from social, though other demos are also buying there, too, of course.

The shift is ushering in a brighter digital future, with two emerging points of emphasis:

  1. More brand investment towards encouraging, facilitating, and harvesting user-generated content. While this isn’t new, the the commercial incentives are stronger now, with cost per visit up 12% YoY, and paid social is the only channel showing positive traffic gains YoY (per Contentsquare's Retail Digital Experience Benchmark). Look for brands to rebalance their investment to more closely match what 2 in 3 shoppers say they rely on: user-generated content.

  2. More syndication of review content into ad platforms. This doesn’t mean simply porting star ratings into an ad or product listing. There’s some precedent for this – X’s community notes are in effect reviews of content that counterbalance false claims. Coupled with the move towards AI-driven review summaries, ad platforms may have a new product on their menus.

Reviews will continue to work out of their office on the PDP, where plenty of shoppers still need convincing there. The conditions are ripe for a far stronger emphasis on UGC across the journey.

Source: Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index, volume 17

bottom of page