Trust a large technology company

Critical influence of reviews on trust in online trading

In today's world, we encounter a lack of trust almost everywhere. Be it in authorities and institutions at the heart of our society, in technology companies and their latest achievements or in brands whose products we buy every day: in the meantime, we often no longer know who or what we can trust. With one notable exception: trust in our fellow human beings is and will remain unshakable.

Even if reviews are not the only remedy for dwindling trust, they are now ubiquitous - as pioneering beacons that facilitate online purchase decisions by giving consumers the opportunity to benefit from the “wisdom of the many”. But which ratings or rating environments promote and which damage consumer confidence?

Trustpilot wanted to get to the bottom of this question. With Canvas8, the rating portal has commissioned a well-known agency for behavioral research to determine the influence of ratings on trust in the Internet sphere.

The resulting study * provides important insights into the expectations consumers have of reviews and review portals so that they can help them make better purchasing decisions.

Censorship destroys consumer confidence

Allowing companies to censor their reviews can damage consumer confidence. For example, 7 out of 10 people are concerned that companies may censor negative reviews, and 62% of consumers say they would stop using a portal if they found out that reviews could be censored. 40% would see their freedom of expression restricted as a result, and 49% fear that as a result they might spend their money on the wrong offers.

Perfect is not ideal

Too good to be true: People tend to distrust perfect star ratings. Over half of consumers consider reviews that do not have the full number of stars to be more authentic. 56% of consumers shortlist a 5-star rated product or service, but do further research before making a purchase.

Be open-minded about feedback

Companies and brands that make a visible effort to satisfy their customers appear more trustworthy: 64% of consumers prefer to buy from a company that is open to customer feedback and reacts to it appropriately than from a company that looks perfect. For 53% of the consumers surveyed, a realistic mix of positive and negative reviews is the most important incentive in their decision for the respective company.

Score with topicality

Many people realize that companies can change over time - for better or for worse. That is why they attach great importance to the most up-to-date customer feedback possible: 64% of consumers state that they place the most trust in a company with a higher number of current reviews, even if the total number of its reviews is lower.

Future prospects

And what does the future hold? E-commerce continues to grow, and with it the benefits and importance of reviews. While consumers appreciate the group consensus and diversity that reviews offer them, they can sometimes find it difficult to differentiate between real and fake content. Making it easier for consumers to identify the reviews that are most relevant to them helps to increase trust online. Particular attention is paid to the three A's: authenticity, topicality and open-mindedness.


* Methodology: The study was carried out in December 2019 by Canvas8 with 2,000 respondents each in Great Britain, France in the USA and includes qualified research and findings from internationally recognized academics (Stanford University, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).