Almost two-thirds (64%) of Australian consumers are more likely to browse for new products online compared to in-store because it is easier and more enjoyable, according to new global research from product review and user-generated content (UCG) provider, Bazaarvoice.

Although the majority prefer to browse and discover new products online, consumers are more likely to make spontaneous purchases while shopping in-store (64%) compared with online (50%).

Convenience is the top factor that makes online an appealing destination for browsing (61%), followed by the ability to research reviews (49%) and ease (44%), highlighting a need for greater online trust and confidence through the use of UCG, which has the power to transform browsing into buying.

Brands images on a website are more likely to lead the discovery and purchase of new products among over one-third of consumers (34%). Further, 65% of shoppers are likely or very likely to rely on photos and videos from other shoppers to help them qualify a product online, while three-quarters (75%) of shoppers looking up ratings and reviews from others who have purchased the same product.

Bazaarvoice managing director Asia Pacific, Kate Musgrove said the research shows that UGC and social commerce helps to replicate the joy of in-store discovery online, and is a powerful and necessary tool for brands to instill trust.

“This goes well beyond ratings and reviews, as the high percentage of consumers using visual content to qualify a product means they are choosing to trust other people like themselves, rather than content curated from a brand. Quality UGC allows smarter shopping for consumers and business growth for brands and retailers,” she said.