Have you ever read a book review before you bought one?
Have you ever read a hotel review before making a booking?
Have you ever read a review before buying an online product?
Simply, a review helps the potential buyer become familiar with what the product is about, gives them an idea of how they might react to it and determine whether this particular product will be the right product for them.
The importance of product reviews can be narrowed down to one word: TRUST. Before making a purchase, you trust that your experience will be good. While other factors including price, likability and quality, play a part of your purchase decision, trust is still the most important.
This is true of shopping in brick and mortars, but it is even more important when shopping online. Not being able to see an item in person reshapes how we can engage with a product.
And while trust can take time to build in person, building trust online is even more difficult. That’s why, according to a Salsify survey of online shoppers, the main reasons for trusting a brand online are previous experience with that company and good online reviews.
Which brings me to the following point, how do you judge whether the online product is not a scam? The last things you want to do is pay for a product that you will never see.
A five-star review is an obvious win, but there are some unique ways that the content of reviews may indicate it is a scam
It’s all positive. It’s useful to note that while good reviews are important, “negative reviews are essential to building consumer trust.” It’s unrealistic to get a positive, glowing recommendation for a product or service from every buyer. If all the reviews for a product online are terrific, you need to be wary.
No customer reviews. Be wary of online stores pages that are very new, selling products at meager prices and don’t have any customer reviews. Sometimes the conversation on social media about the company is one-way, and comments are made by the page owner only and not from customers.
Google it. Type the company’s name and “scam” into Google and see if there are any complaints about the site
There are also other tell-tale signs that can help you judge whether the site is a scam
Great Deals. If you see a deal on an item that seems a little too good to be true, it probably is. Do some price comparison shopping before you click “purchase.
Suspicious website. Be wary of sites you haven’t heard of before or that haven’t been online for long. More importantly, compare the name of the company with the actual domain. They tend to be precisely the same. If you see extra words in the URL like “deals,” “sales” or “super discounts,” as well as additional characters, there’s a good chance the website is a scam.
You can’t pay with a credit or debit card. Watch out for sites asking for insecure payment methods (direct bank transfer or wire transfer).
Shady contact information. If the site has no means of contact or uses a generic email address such as yahoo email address, be cautious. Trusted retailers typically use their company name or the site’s domain name in their email address. Try calling the number if you suspect something isn’t right. If you don’t get an answer during regular business hours or the number isn’t in service, the site probably isn’t legitimate.
Unclear refund policy. A trustworthy retailer will tell you how and where to return a product you’re unhappy with. Fake websites, on the other hand, will often have refund policies that are difficult to understand, hard to find or non-existent
Try fakespot.com – A free URL analyzer that protects consumers while saving them both time and money by using AI to detect fraudulent product reviews and third-party sellers in real-time.
Try ReviewMeta.com – A free Amazon that filters out reviews