Retailers can turn happy customers into brand advocates and they should be doing more to embrace user-generated content on their websites, according to new research.

A report entitled 'The Pursuit of Happiness: The Road to Customer Advocacy' from reviews and ratings technology company Reevoo also argues there is significant selling power in good customer feedback. The study found that one in five UK shoppers are now happy to publish a review online after making a purchase, but Reevoo says retailers can do more to leverage the positive comments.

Some analysis of over 1.7 million reviews collected by Reevoo in 2014 suggested that websites containing user reviews convert 3.2 times more sales on average than those without – but only when the reviews are verified to be genuine.

Bill Tancer, US author and the general manager of global research at Experian Marketing Services, recently published the book 'Everyone's a Critic: winning customers in a review-driven world', which also looks into the growing importance of user reviews in the business environment.

In the publication, he estimates that more than 70% of consumers consult online reviews and take them very seriously, suggesting that unhappy customers can often have more swaying power than a guidebook, magazine or newspaper. The book aims to show business owners how they can leverage online reviews for the betterment of their organisations.

It appears to be a hot topic in retail right now, and with shoppers continuing to show a willingness to share personal insight via the likes of Facebook and Twitter or on company websites, there remains an opportunity for businesses to tap into the potential power of peer-to-peer recommendations.

Peter Simpson, CMO at Reevoo, said: "Through reviews, blogging or social media, consumers are increasingly talking about their shopping and brand experiences across the digital landscape.

"Rather than ignore these conversations, retailers should be embracing them – good and bad – to enhance their marketing activities and improve every aspect of their business."

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Reevoo

Experian Marketing Services