The power of reviews: harnessing user-generated content to drive consumer trust

30th August, 2023

Our fellow shoppers have taken on a new role – that of the critics and storytellers. In this digital age, buying decisions are often influenced not just by flashy advertisements, but by the real experiences and opinions of people just like us. It's a trend that has reshaped how we shop and the way businesses connect with us. Retailers have to keep in mind that the authenticity, brought in by customer reviews, will attract a larger client base and establish a trustworthy connection with buyers. 

When we are browsing the internet in search of the perfect product, customer reviews become a fool-proof method of choosing just the right thing - and being sure of it. The validity and credibility of a product review are built on the trust established between the two customers - the reviewer and the reader. Reviews have a human authenticity which encourages us to believe them and use them as guides. For a retailer, reviews are a golden source of authentically delivered information about the product which tends to be more a powerful tool than precisely picked marketing words. 

An excellent example of thought-through review use is Patagonia. The activewear brand doesn’t stop at simple star reviews - their ‘Worn to Wear Stories’ page showcases customer’s adventures in Patagonia gear. By mixing the brand’s main focus - outdoor activity - with real-life examples of customers’ experiences, Patagonia manages to create a trustworthy connection with future buyers. Patagonia’s ‘Stories’ is an exciting collection that encourages customers to get out and get active while also promoting the brand itself. Reviews with photographic evidence serve as an example of the product in action which establishes a valid understanding of the product quality and its functionality. These stories are filled with genuine human emotion which makes them memorable and honest, helping Patagonia transform a simple review into a smart marketing strategy while staying genuine and on brand. 

Incorporating clients’ stories with the product is a trend that many retailers follow. GoPro, has a News and Community page on their website, showcasing their products in action. GoPro puts a strong emphasis on its cameras’ durability and resistance to extreme sports, which is why the reviews featured on their website are accompanied by videos filmed on the GoPro camera. The thrill behind a biking race or the excitement of a parachute jump are encapsulated in the POV perspective shots that GoPro proudly presents. This attracts like-minded individuals, who are looking for a trustworthy camera and gives them a chance to see the product in action. GoPro’s stories showcase not only regular users but also celebrities and actors who enjoy using their products. These reviews, mixed in with regular testimonials create an encouraging atmosphere of adrenaline and motivate new buyers to finalize their purchase. It is an excellent opportunity to be a part of this community and be able to share your story as well as create a sense of trustworthiness of the brand, whilst they promote their product in an organic way.

These brands highlight that the use of reviews with the effective use of images is successful in influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions. By adding a visual to the text, you can captivate the attention of your buyers more and provide them with a more authentic understanding of the product. Creating a separate page for your customers’ reviews includes them in the conversation about the product and allows them to influence others through their experience. A similar technique can be seen on Amazon’s website - not only can buyers check how popular the product is through Amazon’s choice, but they can also rely on real-life evidence of the product’s functionality. The ability to add a photo or a video of the product in action to the review allows customers to connect with each other through the product and establishes additional trust in the platform. By letting buyers express their thoughts about the purchase, brands and retailers establish transparency in the customer-seller relationship. 

Sometimes retailers need to take a step back from pushing their own narrative and allow their customers to participate in the dialogue about the product. By letting clients voice their own opinions in their authentic words brands and retailers can increase their own popularity and create an honest and trustworthy image themselves. 

Retail PR