If you ever search through e-commerce sites like Amazon you might find it surprising that there can be more than 1,000 reviews on an extension cord (https://goo.gl/KIBmLG) and only a handful of reviews for the TV that some consider the best to buy this year. Does it raise important questions such as what drives consumers to write a review? Is it because of the product itself or is there something more to it?
Clay Shirky, an author specialized in Internet technologies points out that writing a review is more like writing fan mail (or even hate mail) for a product, and people who post are not expecting anyone to read them. This is why there can be so many reviews for a simple product like an extension cord. Consumers do not care about simplicity- they just want to express how they feel. They do it without thinking that someone will take the time to read it.
Diving deeper into what motivates a consumer, Kelly Fay marketing institution conducted a study among 1,300 reviewers, that showed more than 70 percent want to help companies improve their products. In addition, 79 percent expressed the desire to write product reviews in order to reward a company. So it is not only about taking the time to write fan mail. The consumer is also thinking about the company and how the review can have a positive impact on the brand.
So why do people write reviews? In the end, there can be multiple reasons, but the most important part to realize is that they now have the greatest opportunity to voice their opinion. Social media encourage users to open up and express anything they wish. It empowers consumers to play an important role in the success or improvement of a product. It also opens doors to the different roles people can have online. From being able to reveal their love or hate for a brand to assisting in enhancing their products.
Companies need to be on the other side of the door, welcoming these reviews and having the necessary tools to be able to easily understand them.