Global survey shows shoppers seek trust signals and third-party authentication for authentic user-generated content


In a recent study conducted by Bazaarvoice, a leading platform for authentic user-generated content (UGC) and social commerce solutions, the impact of fake reviews on online shopping has come into sharp focus. The study, based on insights from over 8,000 global shoppers and 400 brands, uncovered the increasing concern among consumers about the authenticity of the content they encounter online.

The key findings of the survey highlight the pervasive worry about various forms of fake UGC. A staggering 75% of respondents expressed concerns about fake reviews, followed by 69% worried about fake images, 68% about fake videos, 66% about fake questions and answers, and 69% about fake social media content.

Andy Chakravarty, VP of Research at IDC Retail Insights, emphasized the detrimental impact of fake reviews on consumer confidence, stating, "Fake reviews undermine confidence in online content, dissuading shoppers and negatively impacting the online sales of brands and retailers."

Consumers are demanding action, with 63% believing that brands should be responsible for addressing the issue of fraudulent content on their websites. Governmental bodies and third-party experts were also seen as important players in combating fake content, with 49% and 36% of respondents respectively supporting their involvement.

Interestingly, while consumers are actively verifying the legitimacy of online stores through various means, brands appear confident in their current strategies. A significant 94% of brands and retailers rate the importance of maintaining online content authenticity highly, with 76% expressing confidence in their existing tools to detect and prevent fraudulent or counterfeit content.

The study also explored potential solutions to the problem, with consumers expressing a strong interest in third-party authentication. An industry-leading third-party authentication provider garnered trust from 70% of respondents, compared to less than half (47%) expressing trust in a website to verify its own content.

In response to these concerns, consumers indicated a preference for trust signals. A 'trust signal,' such as a lock, checkmark, or symbol verifying the authenticity of ratings and reviews by an independent third party, was supported by 73% of respondents. Similarly, 66% expressed trust in a similar signal for social media content, and 60% for influencer content.

Zarina Lam Stanford, CMO at Bazaarvoice, highlighted the importance of authentic UGC, stating, "If shoppers can't trust UGC, it loses all of its value, and companies will lose out on sales." She emphasized the Bazaarvoice Trust Mark as a symbol of a company's commitment to authentic consumer feedback, backed by a neutral third party with advanced fraud detection technology and industry-leading best practices.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the call for transparency and authenticity in online content is becoming increasingly vital, with consumers urging brands to take decisive action against the proliferation of fake reviews.

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