Survey: Shoppers Judge Online Reputation

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Philadelphia — Dec. 15
Online reputation matters for the majority of North American consumers, according to research released by 1&1 Internet Inc., a Web host. The survey, conducted by MaCorr Research, of more than 1,000 North American consumers, found that 80 percent of consumers regularly check the Internet for material about an online retailer, or “e-tailer,” before committing to a purchase.

It appears that consumer-created content, such as online reviews or blog posts, has never been so highly valued, with nine out of 10 consumers reading online reviews or recommendations on a specific product before buying it. The research also found today’s consumers are eager to share their online shopping experiences on the Internet, with more than half (63 percent) willing to publish a review online.

In today’s economic climate, it is not surprising that shoppers are seeking more reliable and value-conscious experiences from e-tailers. However, it appears that the average consumer now takes into account the online image of the online retailers available to them. The survey shows that 91 percent of online shoppers admit to searching the Internet for material relating to an e-tailer in order to judge their ‘online reputation’ or reputability before clicking, “Order.” In fact, most consumers (89 percent) intentionally stay away from companies with negative online reviews and postings. A further two-thirds of consumers purposely buy elsewhere after reading negative reviews of an e-tailer.

“Consumers have clearly learned to do their homework before buying online,” said Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Inc. “It is significant that the average online shopper will now invest time in appraising a retailer’s online reputation as an integral part of their buying decision.”

In 2008, the most popular method of sharing online shopping experiences remains word-of-mouth, with more than three-quarters of consumers regularly sharing online shopping experiences with friends and family.

1&1’s survey also reveals that consumers are confident in opting for the Web during the holiday shopping season. About seven out of 10 consumers are confident they receive the same standard of service online as they do “over the counter.” For consumers, the biggest concerns regarding online retail purchases lies in the security of the Internet transaction.

About 49 percent of online shoppers are concerned about security, with another 34 percent concerned on the speed of delivery from the e-tailers.

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