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The following is a transcription of the Tailwind Flash Briefing published March 9th, 2020. Subscribe to our podcast through your favorite listening apps like Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

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Tailwind Digital Minute Flash Briefing for March 9th, 2020

Good morning, listeners, today is Monday, March 9th, 2020, and this is your Tailwind Weekly Digital Minute. I’m your host this week, Bri Larkin, Tailwind’s Marketing Coordinator, and joining me in hosting this week’s edition of the flash briefing and delivering the best information to you is Tailwind’s awesome intern, Zach Thompson.

Good morning, everyone! We’ve got a couple stories focused on the impact fake and inaccurate reviews are having on the e-commerce marketplace and how consumers are reacting to it as of late. Now we know that Monday mornings are always busy, and to be honest, we’re excited to get into this, so without further ado, let’s dive right in to our first story of the week!

Consumer Spending Report Indicates Billions Are Wasted from Reviews

TrustPilot has recently come forth since commissioning a report and survey focused on the consumer sentiment following spending in 2019. Carried out by UK-based research firm, Canvas8, over 6,300 adult internet users in the US, the UK and France were polled in 2019 to build insights from a strong sample size.

The report we’re speaking of indicates that potentially billions of consumer dollars have been spent and are presumed, by the consumers themselves that is, to have been wasted. With roughly 90% of all adult internet users interviewed admitting to relying on reviews to choose their products, it brings them to question the validity of the reviews in the first place when a product does not match expectations.

Currently growing in the consumer population, or so it is being reported by Marketingland Contributor, Greg Sterling, is a level of “dissonance or ambivalence amongst consumers” as authenticity and credibility begin to be questioned more often.

Some users have even gone far enough to say that manipulating user reviews to show up your product is a form of fraud and is driving potential customers to actually question whether or not vendors online can be trusted to keep their reviews honest.

Specifically in the U.S., the report has found that approximately 48% of all U.S. consumers are relying more heavily now on reviews to decide companies to do business with than two years ago. It was also cited in the report, however, that nearly half of all customers also believe that “too many companies are creating fake reviews online.”

An extremely interesting insight from these survey results is that a small majority of all survey respondents, (55% to be exact), prefer buying products with average ratings across a large amount of reviews to purchasing 5-star products that have only a few reviews. Essentially this means that users may be valuing quantity over quality when it comes to choosing their products.

What makes this important from a marketing standpoint is realizing that organically, review data isn’t enough to get the job done anymore despite being thought of as such a significant factor to purchases by consumers.

For marketers attempting to leverage review scores, Greg Sterling calls out a couple great insights that we’d like to also encourage moving forward. The first of these would be to “welcome critical reviews” of your product and not shun them.

The second of these would be to address criticisms in your reviews in a sincere way. After all, it was cited throughout the report that 67% of respondents would prefer to purchase from a company that has owned up to a small mistake and rectified it than one that hasn’t.

On that same note –


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Consumers Are Coming Forward Wanting Tougher Standards Against Review Fraud

A similarly themed survey carried out by agency, Bazaarvoice, is indicating that consumers are a lot more tired of “fake reviews” than one would expect.

The company has reported polling roughly 10,000 consumers throughout the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia to discover that 72% of consumers want retailers to “take stronger actions and create standards to prevent deceptive or fraudulent reviews.”

To be more specific, stronger actions to these interviewed consumers means severe financial penalties and high-level punishments that typically follow a company breaking standards. Speaking of standards, the first of these would be to allow businesses to only post reviews that come from verified purchasers.

Consumers are also asking for standardized product testing across the board as well as daily reviews of user-generated content to vet and verify reviews are not fake and placed intentionally.

The survey, much like the one we summarized in the first portion of this week’s brief, also explored how fake reviews impact consumer brand trust and resulted in: 54% of users saying they refuse to purchase if reviews don’t seem legitimate, 34% indicating they completely lose faith and trust in a brand, and 82% citing that a loss of trust in a brand is permanent and will cause them not to buy from the brand again.

To focus back on the penalties consumers  want to see. Respondents specifically in the US have been cited declaring they want penalties to come in the form of “roughly 15% of their annual revenue.”  As Baazarvoice points out themselves, this would be 4x the penalty set by the GDPR penalty formula.

Greg Sterling, in his review of the report, mentioned that “Marketers are often in a hurry to amass reviews, but it’s in everyone’s interest to police and not use unethical tactics to solicit them. Merchants that don’t ensure the integrity of their reviews may see short-term gain but likely will suffer longer-term brand erosion.”


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Well that just about sums up everything we wanted to share with you guys today in this week’s Digital Minute. To learn more about some of the topics we covered today and find our transcription of this week’s brief, head on over to Until next week, I’m Bri Larkin.

And I’m Zach Thompson.

Thanks for listening. 

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