Online shopping has revolutionized the retail marketplace. Over the past two decades, consumers have become familiar with online reviews and have used these insights as they shop. In the first quarter of 2018, e-commerce was responsible for 9.5% of total retail sales. This market share has more than doubled since 2008 when online shopping was 3.75% of total retail sales.
E-commerce reviews are a vital part of shopping online. The average customer can access the thoughts and experiences of thousands of other shoppers before making a decision. Here are 8 advantages of reading online shopping reviews before you make a purchase.
1. Price Comparisons
When people search online customer reviews, they are often interested in the price of the product, as well as whether it is a good value for the money. Online reviews can help a customer sort out the sellers offering good deals from the unreliable opportunists.
2. Quality Judgment
Online reviewers can be outspoken about the quality of the items they have purchased. When an online customer is unhappy with a product, it’s more likely that they will post a review. This can cause reviews on some products to swing toward negative ratings. Overall, searching for quality products when searching online reviews is a smart move.
3. Check Availability of Items
Reviewers also weigh in on how long it takes to receive a product. If a customer is disappointed in the speed of shipment, they will generally speak up. Online reviewers also discuss the quality of shipping materials and packaging.
4. Check Whether Products have Advertised Features
Online reviewers are also forthcoming about whether a product has the features that are advertised in the product listing. They can be ruthless when they feel that the features and benefits of a product have deceived them.
5. Additional Information
Some online reviews include such helpful information as directions, parts listings, and how-to videos explaining the correct uses of the product. This information is generally added by sellers but can also be contributed by shoppers after the fact. This value-added information can greatly help consumers who are considering a purchase.
6. Aggregate Review Sites Provide More Information
Third-party review sites combine the information from several sites’ reviews as well as first-hand information to create valuable sources of knowledge. While many sites are above board, it is worth considering that some third-party review sites have only gotten their information from one source and have never experienced the product firsthand. These sites can be difficult to spot, so it’s necessary to be skeptical when reading third-party review sites.
7. Read Negative and Positive Reviews
A complete picture of a product is available when you read both the negative and positive reviews of a product. Balancing the pros and cons of a product can help a consumer make decisions about his or her purchase. It is often possible to read into the reviews and make a judgment about the quality of the product.
8. Discover Product Options
Online reviews are very helpful when it comes to determining what options the product offers and how they differ. For example, a review might be able to tell you which computer monitor is right for your needs based on the size and features. Looking for different product options is much easier when you can compare multiple reviews of similar products.
Finally, take some online reviews with a grain of salt. Especially on the larger E-commerce sites such as Amazon, be aware that some unscrupulous sellers are paying for their reviews. Minimize the impact of these false reviews on your shopping experience by searching for verified purchases. This will lower, but not completely remove fake reviews from your consideration.
When you use reviews to improve your shopping experience, you’ll find that you save money. Finding the best product for the price is a great advantage of comparing online reviews. You’ll be able to determine which are the most important features, and you’ll be able to balance the information in negative and positive product reviews.