A new study conducted by comScore and the Kelsey Group shows consumers are willing to pay up to 99 percent more for a product that has received an excellent online review. Respondents in the study also said online reviews had a significant impact on offline purchases. The highest category was hotels, with 87 percent of people indicating that the online rating was a major factor determining where they ultimately stayed. In addition, 97 percent indicated the reviews were accurate.
Other categories in the study included travel, legal services, medical, home, restaurant and automotive. All these categories had a similar and significant correlation between good online reviews and consequent offline purchases. People indicated they were willing to pay double for legal services that rated 5 stars over what they would pay for 4-star rating. They were willing to pay about 50% more for a 5-star hotel than a 4-star hotel.
These are big numbers! Yes, marketing and advertising are still important to get your brand on the radar screen, but branding is becoming increasingly dependent on experiential factors. This includes the experience that people have when they use your product or service (which determines the rating), and the experience they have at online sites that review and report these ratings.
More than 2000 Internet users were queried in the study.