Fake reviews are weighing heavily on consumer’s minds when it comes to shopping habits and are looking for brands and the government to take action, according to the results of a new study from leading platform for full-funnel authentic user-generated content (UGC) and social commerce solutions, Bazaarvoice. 

“Fake reviews undermine confidence in online content, dissuading shoppers and negatively impacting the online sales of brands and retailers. Validating authenticity of product reviews improves the customer experience, giving shoppers peace of mind as they make informed purchasing decisions,” IDC Retail Insights vice president of research, Andy Chakravarty said.

The survey found that all (100%) Australian respondents said they shop online at least once a month with clothing and accessories most commonly purchased (65%) followed by groceries (43%) and electronics (42%). 

Australians are more concerned about fake reviews than the average global consumer at 78% and 75% respectively, with 72% concerned about fake social media content compared to 69% of global consumers.

More than two in five (43%) respondents said they have ‘some distrust’ or ‘no trust’ in influencers as well as 36% of Australians feeling neutral. 19% of respondents have ‘some trust’ in influencer content, but only 3% said they have a ‘high trust’ in it. 

Over three quarters (77%) of brands/retailers do not currently use any fraud detection software today for transactional fraud. Australia was the only country who placed the onus on the government (64%) above brands and retailers (60%) when it comes to solving issues of fraudulent content online.  

While consumers want them to do more, almost all (97%) brands and retailers said that they rate the importance of maintaining online content authenticity in e-commerce business high, and the majority (77%) are confident in their current strategies and tools for detecting and preventing fraudulent or counterfeit content.

However, Australian consumers are doing a lot of work to verify the legitimacy of online stores byusing trusted online shopping platforms (67%), researching the brand online (60%), checking for secure website indicators (51%), reading customer reviews (42%), and recommendations from a friend or family member (46%).

This study underscores the absolute necessity of user-generated content (UGC) being authentic, according to Bazaarvoice chief marketing officer, Zarina Lam Stanford said.

“Brands and retailers need to ensure that their customers trust the content they consume online. If shoppers can’t trust UGC, it loses its value, and companies will lose out on sales. Trust signals like the Bazaarvoice Trust Mark is a symbol of a company’s dedication to authentic consumer feedback on its products. It’s also a signal to consumers that the content they’re consuming is protected by a neutral third party with sophisticated fraud detection technology and industry-leading best practices.”