Customer ratings (those little stars) and reviews are well used by web designers and digital marketing agencies on shopping and community sites – users like them, and they influence us – yes they do. But why?
The key research on web design & persuasion by recommendations
As far back as 2007 De Vries and Pruyn studied the effect of recommendations on users buying digital cameras, and in a nutshell they found that when recommendations were provided for a particular item it sold 20% more than when there was no recommendation.
So why do I listen to strangers opinion online (I wouldn’t down the pub)?
Online ratings and reviews unconsciously trigger our desire for social validation. Social validation is the process where we look to what others are doing, helping us make a decision more quickly, we look to other people to guide us – the important thing to realise is that we do this automatically and unconsciously.
So on web sites like Amazon and App Stores when we are looking to make a purchase, we quickly evaluate the worth of a product based on reviews by others. If a page doesn’t have those customer stars and ratings on the first page, the page risks losing your attention very quickly.
Hey – I’m completely rational, logical… those stars only help me when I want help – I make the final decision…
For the most part we are all conformists, and the power of those little stars and reviews, and the triggers for social validation, are so strong that very few of us will be able to fight it and buy a product which has lower stars!
I know I like to do some research before buying – all those data sheets, statistics, pictures, graphs and specifications just allow me to tell myself I’m making a wise and conscious choice… but really this is in the main, post rationalisation of an unconscious trigger on social validation.
Of course the problem now is that most popular products on Amazon and similar sites now seem to have 4.5 or 5 stars, interesting…
If you would like to chat about how S8080 could help improve your web design and user experience, call 01792 485566 and ask for me, Matt Howard, or email email@example.com