How Do Online Product Reviews Help Consumer Decision Making?

With the growth of online shopping on the internet, online product reviews sites are of great help in the decision making process for consumers. After all, they cannot gain physical access to a particular object one is considering to buy, such that they merely utilize the information provided for them by these sites to come up with a decision.

Online product reviews are known to be the latest emerging marketing strategy on the internet. Aside from the sites intended mainly for posting reviews about certain products, old or new, in the online market, there are also forums wherein people who have recently used the product can provide useful information for decision support on other consumers. In some cases, the feedbacks listed on the site can forecast the actual performance of the product or model upon launching on the market. After all, the pre-release marketing has been considered as one of the strongest factors that could indicate actual performance, especially with the high level of accuracy that reviewers have provided.

At its core, online product reviews sites are intended to provide product information and is geared more towards personal usage experience at the core of the review and evaluation of the product. Each aspect of the product or model is analyzed to suit each individual user’s needs and preferences. Whether users value affordability, utmost functionality, ease of use, or innovation of technology, each of these aspects are evaluated during product reviews for an idiosyncratic match. It is also a great way to promote the word-of-mouth marketing and create more buzz about a certain product.

For the reviewers, they use varying metrics to come up with a benchmark for a particular product or model. It is therefore a valid way to provide useful information for different population segments and come up with realistic feedback.

Aside from consumers, sellers also make good use of online product reviews. It allows sellers to come up with the counteractive marketing strategy to respond to the consumer reviews published on various sites online, which particularly tackle on two basic questions: when and how. The information provided on the consumer review utilizes two aspects of information regarding the product: the information attributed to the product and the information formulated by the buyer or tester of the product. The latter type of information has more weight since it expounds on the actual product performance aside from what the product claims to do or deliver.

The timing of release for consumer reviews for certain products therefore set as a strategic variable that both parties (consumers and sellers) can use to their advantage. Of course, how one person utilizes the information provided in the review is dependent on the individual preference and criteria that a consumer has created for them. Hence, one can notice the increasing amount of online product reviews currently available on the internet since they serve as a good source of information for those who want to make intelligent buying decisions. Just make sure that if you are going to utilize this information is to look at the site’s credibility to ensure that the consumer review information you got is valid.

Clues to Help You Chose Between Product Review Websites – A Lesson in Internet Shopping

For this example, let’s assume that you wish to learn to play the piano, and are searching the Internet for information. You will find many choices and many review sites which discuss even more choices. Your analysis process should include all of the points(clues) discussed here. This article is more about the selection process than the product or vendor.

In case you didn’t realize it, the typical Internet Product Review site will likely steer you to the product which nets them the highest commission. Shocked? Don’t be – this is absolutely normal marketing in every aspect of life. It’s all about maximizing their profit. However, and fortunately, not everyone does this. There are some obvious and some subtle clues which will help you decide who to trust, especially shopping on the Internet. Don’t be fearful – be informed. Read on.

Been shopping in town lately? Dealt with any commissioned sales folks lately? How about those, oh so helpful folks who keep asking if you found everything, and or, do you want to super size your order? Trying to maximize the store’s profit really is normal and widely practiced. Nothing to be concerned about yet.

Speaking of commissions – In all Internet purchases, the seller, also known as the vendor, pays the salesperson (known as an affiliate or associate) a small commission. The lowest is about four (4.0) percent. The price to the buyer doesn’t change – it costs the same where ever you go. (The price can vary a tiny bit in the physical product areas, for example – keyboards and pianos. This is due to volume wholesale purchasing and distribution costs. The sales commission doesn’t factor in this.)

The commission usually automatically goes to the last affiliate site you visited before you clicked through to the product detail / sales page and made a purchase. This is tracked automatically by the computers with little chunks of data called “temporary cookies.” The vendors who transmit the cookies to your computer explain it all on their privacy or terms and conditions web pages. It is nothing to be concerned about. It’s very normal and business like. Most people have never actually read these pages.

So, the Big Question – what distinguishes a trustworthy product review site of any flavor? Listed here are critical clues. Some are more obvious than others – all are worthy of your consideration.

  • First and foremost is your gut level comfort level as you look over a site.
  • Can you identify a human with an address and contact information?
  • Does the reviewer discuss any negative aspects of the product? Few products are so wonderful that nothing negative can be found and pointed out to you, the shopper and possible customer.
  • Does the review include information and opinions not found on the vendor’s site? (All reviews where the reviewer is an affiliate for the vendor will have links for you to click on, taking you directly to the vendor’s site. Perfectly normal and to be expected.) In case you never thought about it, consider this: Vendor’s love affiliates – they are outside non-employees with no benefits, etc. who get a tiny reward (called a commission) only after a sale occurs. If no new information is on the review site, could well be that an actual review did not take place. Major clue.
  • Study the information provided, validate the customer testimonials if possible, and make your own decision. Use your normal decision making process. For example, I personally read the testimonials very carefully when researching products. Do they sound authentic – not made up. Can they be verified? Will the seller provide you contact details if asked? This is rare, but sometimes occurs.
  • Frequently digital download products are sold with 100 percent money back guarantees. The full details are always part of the information / sales letter. They are commonly placed right at the bottom end, right after the price information. Guarantees are always a very important part of the purchasing decision. Another clue to trustworthiness. Doesn’t matter on review sites – but it does matter on the vendor’s site.
  • A good reviewer owns many, but not necessarily all of the products he reviews. When you are are deciding, remember to keep in mind what your situation is (your own wants, needs, desires, etc.) It’s about building trust and confidence. Do you feel pressured? Another major clue.

So, after lots of searching and looking at several – many websites and competing products, let’s assume you have made a product selection decision and are ready to buy. Please consider giving a vote of confidence to the affiliate review site that actually provided you with useful information. Please go back to that review site just before making the actual purchase. That is what triggers that ‘cookie’ thingy I mentioned earlier. And that results in that small commission we talked about. And that is what motivates affiliates to produce meaningful review sites.

I trust that I have enlightened you a bit. Shopping on the Internet is quite safe, especially if you pay attention to the clues. As always, the final choice is yours. Now you know more about how to sort through all the choices and chose the best product for you.

When you find the right one for you, you can purchase it right away. (Remember that often the best product does in fact, cost more. Also normal.) No waiting – parking – standing in line – all the joys of Internet shopping. Fear not – Enjoy.

How to Attract Product Reviews for Your Website

If you have a website that sells one product or the other, getting product reviews from your customers will definitely be one of your headaches. This is because 79% of your potential customers will look for reviews before making a purchase. As a result of this, you should formulate strategies that will ensure that customers leave feedback on products they have purchased. Here are some ways to go about it.

It is an eternal truth that people tend to participate in activities with opportunities of being rewarded, hence, offering incentives to customers for leaving reviews will encourage them to leave feedback on products purchased. It can be in form of discount on subsequent purchase, freebies, shopping points, gift certificates and so on. You can also appeal to them to leave comments because there are some people who are compelled more by self-sacrifice than by incentives.

Furthermore, design your site in such a way that it will be easy for customers to provide reviews. Let the review form be easy and simple to fill, and provide fields that they can easily supply answers to. After every purchase, endeavor to follow up with a customer through email until he/she provides a feedback. However, do not seize that opportunity to resort into spamming because it can damage your reputation. After about 2 to 3 emails on that subject, it is better to stop further emails so that you don’t offend your customers.

In addition, endeavor to provide qualitative service to your customers so that many of them will be willing to drop reviews. Even though you can’t satisfy everybody due to human error, strive to satisfy majority of them so that they will be eager to leave positive feedback. Remember that unhappy customers can actually damage your reputation by leaving negative reviews, so, do all you can to offer qualitative service.

Forming a group of product testers can also fetch you a quite number of positive reviews for your products. Invite some of your customers into this group and you have gotten for yourself regular reviewers. Identify customers with great influence and invite them to be your regular reviewers. You can offer them some incentives because your business stands to gain a lot from the good reports they write about your products.

Let your products be of high quality or else your review page will be full of negative comments, and if you think you can over-moderate it, internet users know third party review sites where they can get unbiased comments. Consequently, quality should be your watchword and you will experience sales beyond your expectation.