From Boomers to Gen Z's: Unraveling the Generational Web of Online Review Habits

August 29, 2023

"They say with age comes wisdom, but does the same hold true for online reviews?"

In today's rapidly evolving digital age, businesses that truly succeed understand their buyer personas inside out. These personas aren't just vague constructs; they're amalgamations of preferences, habits, and most intriguingly, generational quirks.

So, why should a business care about how a Gen Z'er consumes reviews compared to a Baby Boomer? Let's dive deep, shall we?

Every generation brings its own set of quirks. From the discos of the '80s to the TikTok dances of the 2020s, the world shifts and changes with each new cohort. Similarly, the way they consume online reviews – a critical aspect of the modern purchase decision – varies significantly.

Why Online Reviews Matter

Think about the last time you bought something online. Was it on a whim, or did you scour through pages of reviews? The increasing centrality of online reviews in modern commerce can't be ignored, and this is why:

Evolution of Online Reviews

Gone are the days when you'd solely rely on your friend's word about a restaurant. Reviews have shifted from word-of-mouth to online platforms, giving everyone a voice.

Influence on Purchase Decisions

Over 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. But what’s fascinating is how different age groups interpret these reviews. BusinessWire's insight sheds light on this.

Shaping Buyer Personas:

Reviews don't just influence buyers, they mould them. A product with consistently bad reviews? It’s bound to shape opinions and deter potential customers.

But not all age groups view reviews through the same lens. Let’s unbox their peculiarities:

The Generational Divide

Silent Generation & Baby Boomers (1928-1964)

  • Overview: Born amidst World Wars and civil rights movements, they value trust and reliability.
  • Online Review Habits: The written word holds a charm for them. Established sources and detailed reviews? That's their jam.
  • Obsessions: If your review is short and snappy, it might just skip their radar. They’re here for the full story, authenticity, and experience sharing. Preferring quality over quantity.

Generation X (1965- 1980)

  • Overview: Ah, the bridge between analog and digital! They've experienced the joy of handwritten letters and the convenience of instant messaging.
  • Online Review Habits: A mix of expert opinions and user reviews guide their choices. You can call them the "Balanced Bunch."
  • Obsessions: They’re on a hunt for reviews highlighting product reliability and bang for their buck.

Millennials (Gen Y) (1981 - 1996)

  • Overview: Ever met someone who's nostalgic about dial-up internet sounds? That's a millennial for you!
  • Online Review Habits: They're all for peer reviews, but toss in a recommendation from an influencer, and you've got their attention. Don't just take our word for it! Check this out.
  • Obsessions: They're engrossed in video reviews, user-experiences, and, yes, they're the social proof aficionados.

Gen Z (1997 - 2010)

  • Overview: For them, Wi-Fi is a basic human right, and waiting for a video to buffer? That's ancient torture!
  • Online Review Habits: They seek authenticity, often on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. They’re less about the source and more about the content.
  • Obsessions: "Keep it short, keep it snappy!" Real-life applications and user experience are their primary lookout.

Gen Alpha (born after 2011)

  • Overview: Reality? Augmented. Experiences? Virtual. Shopping? Probably telepathic.
  • Online Review Habits: AR/VR reviews are probably on the horizon with interactive feedback experiences.
  • Obsessions: They're expected to crave instantaneous, immersive reviews. And who knows, maybe reviews in holographic form?

Blending the Lines – A Brand Through Generation of Reviews

Ever wondered how Coca-Cola, a brand born in the 1800s, appeals to Gen Z? Through clever adaptation to online review preferences. From long-form stories about the drink's history to snappy ads with catchy jingles, they’ve aced the review game.

Tips for Brands

Every brand dreams of capturing every age group's attention. Here's the cheat sheet:

  • Research is Key: Update those buyer personas! Understand evolving review preferences and capitalize on them. Remember, a neglected online reputation can harm your brand.
  • Diversify Your Review Strategy: Embrace a mix of video, image, and written feedback. Request reviews via email, SMS, QR codes, or WhatsApp. Unsure how to start? Pluspoint has got your back.
  • Engage with Reviewers: Feedback is a two-way street. Engage with both praise and criticism, as this shows how much their voice counts. Need tips? We've got some on how to handle bad reviews.
  • Stay Authentic: In an era of fake news, authenticity is a beacon. Embrace it.

Wrapping Up

Understanding online review consumption isn't just academic; it's commercially crucial. Each generation offers a unique perspective. Are you equipped to understand, and more importantly, capitalize on them?

Did you hear about the marketer who tried to appeal to every generation? He said, "I’ve got 99 problems, but a niche ain't one."

But jokes apart, it's a challenge worth undertaking. With platforms like Pluspoint, optimising the ways you can obtain more online reviews and create a great customer experience has become a walk in the park.

So, a shout out to local businesses, marketers, and product managers, the digital ball is in your court! Be proactive, diversify your feedback channels, and let's create fantastic customer experiences for all generations.