Here's an interesting article and discussion focusing on a recently published report which highlights the growing influence of online reviews on buying decisions:
Factors influencing online purchasing decisions
A recent survey, published by Eccomplished, looked at the buying habits of 2,000 respondents and came to the following conclusion:
Just under a quarter (23%) of online purchasers claimed they talked to friends and family in order to help them make a purchase, yet significantly more – nearly a third (31%) – cited having read product reviews or endorsements online. So the opinion of a stranger would appear to be more useful than that of a friend or family member when making an online purchase.
The importance of peer-to-peer word of mouth is compounded further by more shoppers citing having read comments on an online article (18%) than reading an article itself (14%) to help them make a purchase decision.
And providing further evidence of the power of ratings and reviews, four in ten (39%) of our shoppers claimed they would be likely to complete an online rating or review after making an online purchase, which is more than would make a recommendation to friends/family (35%).