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Each time consumers glance at an online review and then click the item in question into their shopping carts, we see the transformative powers of e-commerce reviews—namely, how first-person insights and recommendations dramatically influence purchasing decisions.

At the same time, we also observe another lasting effect of e-commerce reviews—the profound impact they've had on how today's consumers actually shop.

At Influence Central, we conducted a research study of 500+ women consumers that looked at how online product reviews influence shopping habits, whether consumers trust online reviews, and how recommendations affect purchasing decisions.

The study reveals just how significantly online reviews have shaped consumer behavior: Some 85% of consumers say they consider e-commerce reviews extremely/very important when making a purchase. Moreover, 77% report buying a product online after reading online reviews about it, and 23% say they would go to a brick-and-mortar store to make their purchase after reading online reviews.

From how consumers approach a purchase to their confidence in the buying process, here are the Top 7 ways e-commerce reviews have transformed consumers' shopping behavior.

1. Transforming the Retail Experience

Today, consumers embrace online reviews: 73% say they always/most of the time seek out reviews on specific products they want to buy.

Traditionally, the retail environment centered on salespeople who provided product insight and information—all designed to encourage product purchasing. But now? When making a purchase, 91% of consumers consider an online review more important than input from a salesperson in a store.

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image of Stacy DeBroff

Stacy DeBroff is founder and CEO of Influence Central. A social media strategist, attorney, author, and speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. Reach her via stacy@influence-central.com.

LinkedIn: Stacy DeBroff

Twitter: @stacydebroff