74% of online shoppers prefer customer photos

Almost three-quarters of consumers prefer to see previous customers’ photos and videos in product reviews carried on social media and retail websites, rather than professional shots from the brands themselves.

Over 8,000 consumers across the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, France and Germany were surveyed about their attitudes to user-generated content (UGC) by Bazaarvoice, a company that provides software that allows brands and retailers to collect and display several types of authentic user-generated content on their e-commerce websites.

The research showed 62 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy if they can view both photo and video content from previous customers.

Joe Rohrlich, chief revenue officer at Bazaarvoice, said: “Relatable voices commenting on and reviewing a product instil trust in a brand and product amongst other consumers online. The more realistic and authentic audiences feel the review content is, the more confident they become when deciding to make a purchase.”

Facebook was the most popular destination when it comes to influencing purchases (25 per cent) and the most likely social platform for consumers to purchase a product on (26 per cent).

Amongst 18-34-year olds, Instagram was the most popular destination, with 31 per cent using it as their “main source of inspiration” and 27 per cent saying it is the most likely place for them to buy.

Younger shoppers demonstrate a particularly strong preference for visual UGC on social media, as 73 per cent of 18-34-year olds prefer it when brands use visual UGC for social media outreach compared to an average of 64 per cent across other age groups.

Overall, many want to see new visual UGC content from brands on social media more frequently than they do on websites - almost half (47 per cent) of consumers want to see new UGC content on social media “at least 2-3 times a week”, with 10 per cent of those expecting updates “multiple times a day”.

Visual UGC is most important for products that are typically higher in value, as consumers seek evidence and certainty about its quality, as well as the accuracy of the description before buying.

For over a third of consumers (36 per cent), technology and electronics is the most important category for reviewing photos and videos from other customers prior to purchase.

When it comes to trusting the authenticity of a review when making a purchase, the quality of other customer reviews is the top priority (45 per cent) compared to how recently a review was posted (32 per cent) or the number of reviews a product has from previous customers (23 per cent).

For one-in-five (21 per cent) a “quality review” is judged to be one that includes photos and videos as well as text, more so than a “well written review with good spelling and grammar” (16 per cent) or a review that clearly states when a product was purchased (11 per cent).

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