For a guy who despises shopping, doing it online is a felicity. I can avoid the crowd of people checking for bargain. I don’t have to transfer shops to find a stock for my 12 size feet. My choices are varied – selections extend to different brands and designs viewed on separate windows all within five minutes. And I can do it anytime of the day!
A repulsing shortcoming of online shopping is people won’t see the actual product. They can’t try it and see how it looks on them. They won’t know for sure if it will deliver the promise of the brand. But user reviews will address this this issue.
Online review is a place for buyers to rant a frustration or grant a satisfaction. These people probably have the same need as you that the product can suffice. And if the general consensus of the review is positive, then it will raise confidence towards purchasing.
This word of mouth marketing is arguably the most effective method of promoting a product. The Local Consumer Review Survey in 2012 found that 72% of buyers trust online reviews like they are personal recommendations. It is as if the whole community is a friend voicing out a valuable consumer opinion.
A new study from the University of Melbourne, Australia took a keen interest on online reviews. If the first review of a product or service is positive, it lingers on our minds. The negative reviews that may come later in the page won’t matter as our opinion is already influenced by the positive one we’ve read.
This gives companies a leeway for manipulation. Yelp, an online review database of local businesses, was sued claiming that the website makes offer to clear out negative reviews IF they advertised on the website. Writer Todd Rutherford used to pull in $28,000 a month writing false positive reviews for books. Competing hotels submit negative reviews against each other on TripAdvisor and Expedia. It is a dirty venture.
For us customers, we better skip the first review or just be wary of the influence of that first positive review on us. Let’s be critical of too good or too bad reviews that may not reflect the sentiment of a normal customer. But even knowing these, it would still be laborious to sort out the bogus reviews from real rating.
How important is customer reviews for your online shopping?