The Impact of Online Consumer Rating/Reviews on Consumer Behaviors and Purchase Decisions

Consumer ratings/reviews play a key role in everyone’s purchase decisions today. Organizations must spend time and resources in measuring its impact on the buying patterns to better reach their customers. The organizations and firms find it easy to design their marketing strategies if they understand what affects the consumer behavior or buying pattern. It includes understanding the psychology of consumers as to how they believe, identify rationale, and select between the available substitutes. “Firms must also consider how society influences consumer behavior. There are several factors in the environment that have an impact on consumer perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors” (Perner, pp.1-14, 2008). An understanding and management of these factors may assist marketing professionals in helping consumers to decide in favor of their brands.
More and more consumers now base their decisions on product- related-reviews available on the internet before they buy a product. “The percentage of customers who follow online reviews have exceeded those that follow newspaper or magazine reviews” (Ahuja, 2009). For this purpose, most people these days use social networking sites and involve themselves in comparison-shopping. Most online buyers indulge in social networking in form of reading and writing blogs and customer reviews. Thus, people who shop from e-malls are more likely to give their opinions online as compare to those who use the regular brick-and-mortar stores for shopping.
One distinct feature of online reviews is that the information is available in high volume as compare to that one can get from traditional offline sources. It also contains information from many sources that is both positive and negative as compare to only getting either positive or negative information from a single source at a time. Analysis has indicated that online reviews are found in various forms and differ in