Product reviews are a crucial way for companies to build consumer trust and to help customers make confident purchase decisions.

According to recent research from Bazaarvoice, consumers seeking reliable information about a product trust consumer reviews most – but this is not to say that online shoppers don’t value subject matter expert (SME) reviews for some product types.

Indeed, consumers place a lot of trust in SME reviews for some product types, in some cases preferring them to consumer reviews.

When buying electronic products, more than 4 in 10 (44%) respondents prefer to read a review from a subject matter expert over a consumer review, and the same goes for financial services (44%). A further two-fifths (40%) of consumers prefer SME reviews when buying automotive products.

Compared to these more considered purchases, fewer consumers are inclined to look beyond customer reviews when shopping for products like groceries (23%) and apparel (22%).

The preference for SME reviews for considered purchases may also be due to some decline in trust for consumer reviews: about 1 in 4 shoppers surveyed (24%) reported a decline in trust for consumer reviews. Read the rest at Marketing Charts.

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