As a Millennial…
I am an avid online shopper. I seldom settle for something at retail value in a store when I can find a better price amongst the endless options available in huge online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
That being said, the learning curve for online shopping is a process that involves speculation, countless return shipping labels, and simple trial and error.
Trial and error is fine when talking about sub $20 cell-phone cases or perhaps a bold new flavor of Keurig cups but not when talking about Buffalo’s local dealerships for where you wish to make a serious financial commitment.
I think you are with me when saying “error” is something every shopper wishes to avoid.
So what’s my big secret?
Regarding my experience as an online shopper, I find it important to make note of what was my per say “game-changing technique” and that was a resource that was in front of my eyes the entire time, Reviews.
So I know what you’re thinking… I just read 250 words about why to read reviews, I already read reviews, so I’m fine.
My argument is as follows; just because you read reviews, do you really know what you’re reading for?
I challenge you to think about it like this…
Think about how you used to gather information about products or services you were considering in the past.
For me, I gathered information for buying decisions by reading consumer reports or articles in publications & newspapers.
This process I would only turn to if I couldn’t get enough recommendations from my friends, family, and colleagues based on their experiences.
But the ad had nothing bad to say about it
Admittedly, all of the sources mentioned above are subject to biases; whether it be sponsored publication or heavily influenced by advertising.
In your experience, when was the last time you left a review?
If recent, was it due to incentive provided by the company being reviewed to provoke (or control) your actual opinion?
If yes, don’t worry, most people would consider it worth the 5-star review to forgo their honest opinion of their experience given you can score a discount or service voucher.
Nevertheless, the attempt business’s make to try and control the feedback about their operations can actually be more harmful than facing the critics’ head on.
Without further ado…
8 Rules for Reading Between the Reviews:
1-Toggle the “Most Helpful” & “Most Recent” Filters: These filters are crucial so that you can not only see what reviews people found helpful due to legitimacy, but also the reviews over a timeline. Looking at reviews over a timeline is crucial so that you can spot repetitive fraudulent reviews or the negative or positive progress of what’s being reviewed towards better or worse.
2- Be wary of overly positive reviews: We’ve all seen it, there’s nothing but 5-star reviews, they must be awesome. Not saying they aren’t (because we are), I am merely suggesting you read until you find a negative review to get a whole idea.
3-Be wary of overly negative reviews: It’s a shame to see, but every industry has companies who would rather slander their competition instead of bettering their establishment.
4-Quantity over Quality: As demonstrated above, the quality of reviews is important but can be misleading. More times than not, customers aren’t going to be articulate writers with well-versed commentary. That being said, if there tends to be a lot of the same opinion, it can generally be proven true.
5-Be skeptical of Reviews with too much detail: Reviews that seem to be written with extreme detail of things that tend to look like just what the consumer would want to hear can be subject to paid review boosting companies. Reputation management companies take the things companies want to be said about them and do just that.
6-Discount the list of features’ reviews: We’ve all seen the reviews that list every attribute in the book about the product/business being reviewed. That being said, it is good to know the features you are looking for before your research.
7-Comparison is Clutch, but not common: As dealerships, we like to play nice, but every so often you get the person who went from a very bad experience to a good one which always leaves an emotional, but constructive review.
8-Be that Quality Review: You can help the online review community yourself by laying our informative, comparative reviews that portray the product/service/company in easy to read language.