As millions of shoppers flocked to get great deals over the Thanksgiving weekend and on Cyber Monday, we served up 1.2 billion impressions of customer reviews and customer-generated Q&A – that means that customer opinions played a huge role in helping shoppers determine what to buy.

We saw huge spikes on Thanksgiving night, as shoppers were planning their Black Friday shopping in stores. Studies show that 72% of consumers research products online before purchasing (e-tailing group, October 2008), and reviews have a huge impact on offline sales – for every $1 spent in online sales, the Internet influences $3.45 of in-store sales (eMarketer, 2007).

There was another huge spike in review use on Cyber Monday, December 1, when shoppers tend to do their holiday online shopping. We served more than 165 million reviews via Ratings & Reviews and 24 million customer-generated answers hosted through Bazaarvoice’s Ask & Answer solution.

Most significant? Review impressions increased 132% over Cyber Monday 2007, while sales growth is at 2%. So retailers without reviews are clearly losing market share.

As I’ve been saying for months – and our diverse client list proves it: reviews are no longer a “nice to have.” They’re critical to driving sales, especially as shoppers buy more carefully, and turn to trusted sources for making purchase decisions –other consumers like themselves.

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