Will online reviews work in an offline setting?

We all know that consumer reviews work online, so it makes sense to apply this tactic in an offline setting, on TV, print ads and elsewhere. 

I’m writing this as a result of the recent launch of Reevoo Everywhere, a new product designed to enable brands to use reviews across different channels, but it’s perhaps surprising that this hasn’t been tried before, or at least not so I’ve noticed.

So, can this tactic work, and how can brands use reviews offline?  

Why reviews work: the stats

  • In a survey of 5,003 consumers, 84% of respondents said that online feedback and research helped to influence their purchase decisions. (Google, 2012)
  • 88% of consumers ‘sometimes or always’ consult reviews before making a purchase. (Reevoo, 2012)
  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011).
  • Site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with UGC. (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO. (eMarketer, February 2010).

How can brands use consumer reviews offline? 

In stores

In one section of our recent How the Internet can Save the High Street report, I suggested the value of using online reviews in stores. 

Some already do it, with expert reviews at least. For example, Majestic Wines will show reviews from wine experts like Malcolm Gluck which can help steer customers towards certain wines, though this isn’t the same as consumer reviews. 

It can also be achieved via mobile, by directing mobile users at product pages containing reviews. Also, the showrooming that some retailers fear can actually be beneficial if customers are finding reviews online that help their in-store purchase decision. 

While retailers should be looking at strategies to appeal to mobile users, it’s also a good idea to use reviews at the point of sale, where the majority of customers will see them. 

Here, Tesco uses reviews in its phone shops: 

Print ads

This PC World print ad shows online review scores next to the Windows 8 PCs it’s promoting. I wonder whether, if people are unaware of Reevoo’s scoring system, this will be any use.

One thing that these offline reviews are kissing is the ability to drill down into the detail and see the pros and cons, the scores by different product characteristics, and to actually read the reviews themselves.

Of course, this is hard to do offline, though in the Tesco example above there is a little more detail. I think a prompt to use a mobile to head to the review page may help here. 

TV ads 

I was impressed by the recent Kia TV ads, which focused on the positive ratings its cars had received from buyers, and encouraged them to head online to check out said reviews. 

Kia managed to get the all round implementation right, such as recognising that many people would be watching the ad with mobiles to hand, and creating an optimised landing page.  

It also uses these reviews in its showrooms:

Another way of using reviews offline…

This example, taken from Dave Gowans’ excellent post on conversion techniques from the 1920s is just superb:

It’s a great way of using reviews offline without showing them. Of course, for this to work the product must be good, and a Google search must reflect that, which it does:

Still, if you have great reviews online, why not shout about it? 

I’d love to see some other examples of using online reviews offline, please let me know in the comments…

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Will online reviews work in an offline setting?

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