When it comes to buying products online, we are continuing to consult the opinions and experiences of other shoppers. An estimated 97% of customers now consult online reviews before making a purchase, meaning that positive reviews are more important to brands than ever before.
However, this also means that some less ethically-minded companies are dedicating significant resources towards tricking customers with fake reviews in the hopes of boosting sales.
This means that it is crucial for consumers to be savvier when it comes to reading reviews, with the ability to spot red flags becoming a central part of the shopping experience. With all this in mind, here’s how to spot a trustworthy online review, and how to detect a dubious one.
1. Pay Attention to the Tone of a Review
This might be the most important thing to be aware of when browsing online reviews. The way something is written and the overall tone is a huge indicator of whether or not it is trustworthy. For example, if you’re looking for hotels, pay attention to how the negative reviews are actually composed. If they are angry, filled with expletives, and mention people by name, it is possible that the reviewer has a personal agenda against a certain company or individual and is abusing the review system to this end. You should always trust reviews that are written calmly, professionally, and with clarity.
2. Look at the Timing of Reviews
With the use of fake reviews by brands on the rise, checking the timing of multiple posts should help you suss them out. A lot of dubious companies use software to generate lots of generic reviews within a very short timespan. That means that if you see a series of product reviews that were all posted within a few hours of each other, with big gaps in between clusters, they are more likely to be fake. If the reviews do not have a time stamp on them, that is another reason to be suspicious.
3. Defer to the Experts
With all product reviews, it helps to use sites where you are guaranteed to find some expertise from people who know what they are talking about. For example, if you’re shopping for a specialist product such as snus, which can largely only be bought online, then you’ll want to check a review site that specializes in that product and can give you the information you need. This review here, which goes into detail about a particular snus product and even says what kind of customer would be better off buying something else, is exactly the kind of content you should be looking for.
4. Prioritize Depth and Detail
Finally, it is important to remember that the devil is in the details. While a lot of customers might not be willing or able to write detailed accounts of products, it is not difficult to find the ones that are. Before making a purchase, it is important to be equipped with a wide range of perspectives and as much information as possible, which is why you should always gravitate to the long-form reviews when scrolling through.
Smart online shopping means being savvy with online reviews. Remember these tips before making your next purchase to ensure you get real value for money.