How To Be A Smart Consumer When Shopping Online
There are countless items that you can buy online. However, when it comes to shopping, the best way is the most obvious - doing your research. Reviews should be one of your top priorities because they provide information about how others like certain products and services.
Don't Discount Bad Or Marginal Reviews
The more people who leave reviews about a product or service, the better idea you have before buying anything yourself. Fraud is very common in online retail where manufacturers and retailers harvest reviews or simply buy them without disclosure. How many times have you looked at a product listing that has 20+ five star reviews without a single negative comment? That simply isn't a natural pattern.
While you may think that the best reviews show that the product is the right one to buy ... but people tend to be subjective and so a 3 or 4 star review may contain information that is helpful or simply validates all the good reviews.
Will It Work For You?
When looking at products online, it's important to read the reviews before making a purchase. The reason being is that reviews can tell you a lot about a product – whether it's good quality or not, how durable it is, how well it works for different purposes etc. For example, if you're on the fence about your new mattress, look into a few reviews like the review of the Ghostbed mattress topper before you click check-out. Does the specs and promises in the review sound like it will meet your needs? Then, when you find the one that hits the nail on the head, add it to cart.
What Are Reviews?
Reviews on Amazon, for example, give customers useful information such as 'what's in the box?' if it's an electronic equipment purchase or what color or style or type of clothing was ordered, so consumers know exactly what kind of item they'll receive from their order. It may sound simple, but it's a review that can easily steer you wrong if not paying attention. Negative reviews are helpful, too, as long as they're constructive and truthful because those details might save you from making the same purchase mistake.
Watch Out For Red Flags
When reading through reviews, be sure to look for red flags such as vague language (I didn't like this at all) or unsupported claims (such as This is the best product I've ever used). If most of the reviews have these issues, there's probably something wrong with either the product or its marketing. It could also indicate a shell account (someone who's been paid to leave good reviews), so always use your best judgment when considering what other shoppers have had to say.
Check The Dates
Check the date of a review before taking it at face value. If something was purchased months ago and there have been no new comments or updates since then, you know that their opinion probably hasn't changed over time. This means if they disliked an item initially but still use it today, they either don't mind dealing with its problems or didn't have much luck trying to get a refund for poor craftsmanship or performance. Either way that should tell you how reliable these reviews can be.
Some review sites are more reliable than others. For example, Amazon is known for having very detailed and honest reviews from customers who have actually bought the product. Other review sites, like Yelp, can be helpful too but may not be as trustworthy because anyone can leave a review without necessarily owning the product. Therefore, it's always a good idea to do some research on the site before relying on its reviews.
Overall, reading online reviews is one of the best ways to figure out whether or not a product is worth your money. So, before making any purchase, be sure to do some research and check out the reviews.
- Written by James Hills
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