Online Feedback Significantly Influences Consumer Purchasing Decisions, Opinion Research Corporation Study Finds

PRINCETON, N.J.--()--While the Internet opens doors for retailers around the world, online customer reviews can quickly close them, according to the latest survey from Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company (NASDAQ: IUSA). The survey revealed 84 percent of Americans say online customer evaluations have an influence on their decision to purchase a product or service, but only 28 percent of respondents say they have posted their own feedback on the web. These facts are nearly identical to those published in 2008.

“Our findings suggest that a very vocal minority may have an oversized influence on buyer behavior,” said Linda Shea, SVP and Global Managing Director of Opinion Research Corporation’s Customer Strategies Practice. “Nevertheless, when negative customer feedback is served up in a very public forum, it has great potential to tarnish the reputation of a brand and therefore any future revenue stream.”

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents, virtually identical to the proportion in 2008, checked some type of online review forum when looking to purchase a particular brand of product or service. Interestingly, a sizeable number of respondents (50 percent) relied on online reviews in the first stage of their buying cycle. “This is critical for companies to understand as they fight to be considered by consumers and look for ways to be ever-present through a variety of channels and media outlets,” Shea continued. “Taking a more proactive approach to participating in, monitoring and controlling online reviews may very well be one of the many ways organizations can influence both consumer consideration, and, ultimately, the buying decision.”

The most popular types of products or services investigated online were:

     

2008 Results

     

2009 Results

     

Trend

Travel, recreation or leisure 82% 80% -2%
Electronic goods 80% 78% -2%
Household products and services 66% 70% +4%
Clothing 55% 60% +5%
Automotive 55% 56% +1%
Personal Care 40% 45% +5%
Food 24% 36% +12%

“In a challenging economy, it is no surprise to see online investigations of products and services increase in categories that represent the basics of consumer spending such as food, personal care, clothing, household products and services. Companies who offer products and services in those categories should find ways to get involved in and leverage these forums to their advantage,” said Shea.

Commonly checked online forums included company websites (71 percent); online rating systems (57 percent) and government/consumer advocacy sites (54 percent).

About Opinion Research Corporation

Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGroup company, is a full-service, global market research firm offering action-oriented advice and intelligence to clients worldwide in the areas of Customer Strategies, Corporate Branding and Reputation, Employee Engagement and Market Planning and Development. ORC is also a partner of CNN on the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, conducting national, speech reaction, state and flash/overnight polls for the most trusted name in news since April 2006. To learn more, visit www.opinionresearch.com.

About infoGROUP

infoGROUP (www.infoGROUP.com) (NASDAQ: IUSA), founded in 1972, uniquely combines business and consumer information, marketing services and research solutions for sales, marketing and business professionals around the world. Our data and marketing solutions help companies of all sizes find new prospects, deepen relationships with existing customers and reach businesses and consumers at home, at work and on-line. infoGROUP business data is also used by the top internet search engines and vehicle navigation systems to power their Point-of-Interest and business search capabilities. Our research solutions are used globally by organizations to solve complex problems, measure effectiveness and understand the attitudes and needs of their customers, citizens, employees and other key stakeholders.

infoGROUP headquarters are located at 5711 S. 86th Circle, Omaha, NE 68127 and can be contacted at (402) 593-4500 or by visiting www.infoGROUP.com.

Contacts

Caroline Harris, CJP Communications
212-279-3115 ext. 222
or
Kelly Loontjer
Director of External Communications
402-596-7574
kelly.loontjer@infogroup.com
or
Carolyn Werbler, ORC USA
609-452-5258

Contacts

Caroline Harris, CJP Communications
212-279-3115 ext. 222
or
Kelly Loontjer
Director of External Communications
402-596-7574
kelly.loontjer@infogroup.com
or
Carolyn Werbler, ORC USA
609-452-5258