The purchase of any new product, from a new shirt to a mattress to a car, is always a gamble. As consumers, we want to know if the product we’ve found will suit our needs—and, more importantly, if we’ll enjoy it—so we consult reviews in order to make our purchase more of a sure bet.
In fact, millions of consumers are taking this mindset a step further with the help of video reviews to vicariously “try before you buy” and explore products through the eyes and experiences of digital guides. This fascinating evolution in consumer behavior has important implications for brands, and it demonstrates the power of creating experiences for consumers when showcasing products.
82% of American adults read online ratings or reviews “at least sometimes” before making a purchase according to data from Pew Research Center. They also turn to videos as a way of learning more about products before making the fateful decision to buy: In the past year alone, 40% of YouTube users took advantage of the platform to educate themselves about a product ahead of a purchase. These videos display the product more in-depth than a written review or an ad, and as a result, consumers turn to them for comprehensive information on products to shape their purchasing decisions.
Furthermore, consumers value commentary from reviewers who share their opinions of the product—the good and bad—as they demonstrate its capabilities on camera. Consumers are actually so enticed by creator commentary that watch times for “shop with me” videos on YouTube, in which creators film themselves shopping, have increased by 1,000% during the past two years. These videos fill consumers’ demands for thorough product information from trusted sources, which explains their spectacular surge in popularity.
Shoppers have a tremendous appetite for product information, and the proliferation of video reviews offers them an endless menu to explore. Brands can take advantage of this trend by creating opportunities for users to experience their products, either through videos of their own or innovative strategies like virtual and augmented reality, before it comes time to buy; after all, if the brand doesn’t provide consumers with the information that they’re looking for, then someone else will.