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Online reviews trump search engine results, E-mail promotions, social networks, and mobile ads as the most influential source of information for shoppers.

This is the key finding from a new Baynote survey that studies the relationship between retail marketing tactics and shopping behavior.

Catering to Shoppers? Know That Online Reviews Influence Them the Most

Baynote’s “Third Annual Holiday Survey” includes the responses of 1,000 shoppers using tablets and/or smartphones. According to the results, 33 percent of online shoppers said that online reviews – from online review aggregators like Yelp, Google+ Local, Foursquare, and Amazon – influence them the most.

Meanwhile, Google search results (that include a pictured product or service by the retailer) rank second to online reviews in terms of influencing shoppers. Twenty-six percent of the respondents said that Google search influences them to make online store purchases.

E-mail promotions rank third at 25 percent, while – and this might come to you as a surprise – paper catalogs come fourth at 22 percent. Apparently, people still love this traditional form of marketing content. In fact, according to the same study, paper catalogs influence twice as many consumers as social networks Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases.

The Baynote study reinforces the view that online reviews and ratings – as opposed to social networks – are key to building consumer trust. In last year’s “Trust Factor,” an About.com study, reviews were identified as inspiring trust twice as much as general social networking “likes.”

(Check out: “Study Reveals How – and Where – Consumers Interact with Retail Brands”)

Peep the infographic below to see other sources of information that influence today’s shoppers:

track online reviews

“As retailers face more challenges than ever to market to all customer segments across a growing number of sales channels,” wrote Baynote’s Dan Darnell, “it is important to remember that optimizing the message, the platform and the delivery method is crucial in marketing efficacy.”

Following Darnell’s words of advice, retailers, marketers, and business owners must continue to find ways to manage and monitor online reviews, which – as proven by the study – consumers are relying on more heavily than social networks and other online sources of information.

Infographic credit:

MarketingProfs

Chris Campbell

Chris is the CEO of ReviewTrackers. He has helped tens of thousands of businesses hear, manage, and respond to what their customers are saying online.

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