Getting to Know the Products You Buy Online With Product Reviews

When you are shopping online for deals, sometimes you run into the fact that there is hardly any information about what you are looking for. Sometimes you have to look all over the place and perhaps the places that you have found that sell what you are looking for, aren’t the names trustworthy enough for you. Well, with reviews from people who have already bought, paid and used the products themselves from those vendors, you can get very good advice on the things that you want to spend your money on.

Shopping Online is the Future

People all over the world are turning to shopping online simply because they are busy and have full lives that leave them little time to go store hopping to find the best deals that they can on something. Instead, they have to truly trust the brand names that they know and love to get them online. When you read over these reviews, you can truly get a sense of how something works and functions, the kinds of problems that people have had with it and many other factors that you might never be able to get from a sales person in a store.

Getting the Truth about a Product

Those people in the stores want to make their commission and they aren’t going to tell you that something you are interested in falls apart after only a few days or that it has been recalled in some states. They just want to make money, so it’s much better to get good reviews online to know that you can actually spend the money that you want and get exactly what you are looking for.

Saving Time and Money

People really want to save both time and money and doing their shopping online, no matter what the occasion. If it’s for a gift or if it’s for something around the house, you will be able to get truthful and honest help and guidance reading other people’s reviews of the products that you are interested in. Imagine being able to find out that your favorite product has a really bad review and being able to find a replacement to it because someone else had the same issue, so you get exactly what you want after all.

Honesty is the Best Policy

No fancy talk, no crap from sales people; instead, you get honest insight and find out the truth about new and old favorites that you might have overlooked in your shopping experiences otherwise. So, no matter if you are a pro or if you are new to shopping online, you will truly be able to find out what you want to know through these Product Reviews.

Handy Shoppers’ Tool – Online Product Reviews

The internet is currently the hub of all useful and up-to-date information. Indeed, a lot of people spend time on the internet either working, dating, surfing, or shopping. The latter is far more prevalent due to the convenience and the ability to make great deals with affordable items. Indeed, you can make your purchase with just a click of the mouse, thus saving you on car fuel from having to drive to and from your house. Online shops are built for user-friendly navigation and it is a great time saver since you no longer have to wait in queue just to get your items paid. However, there are also a lot of downsides to buying items online such as the lack of opportunity to test or examine the product for you. Hence, online product reviews sites came in to provide assistance to online shoppers and increase the level of satisfaction when buying.

There are two useful tools available for the online shopper to make more effective online purchases: price comparison sites and online product reviews. Since the internet boomed in the late 90’s, there was an expansion of several businesses online such that they provide a centralized area for reaching their worldwide market. This has enabled consumers to conveniently enjoy online shopping and you can enjoy great deals. But for this purpose, focus must be given on the benefit of using online product reviews when buying.

You can find useful product reviews from trusted review sites that offer specialized information on certain niches. As with price comparison sites, online product reviews are intended mainly for educating the consumer about the best choice available to them. With a wide range of options and the accessibility of these products, it can be quite easy for one to be tempted to buying items they readily see. But the real question is, was it worth spending your money for? Online product reviews sites aim to avoid that question being answered with a “no”.

One must therefore begin the ability to enjoy its benefits by conducting a research on sites that offer reliable and honest reviews. You can access interactive pages that are highly comprehensible to make it easier to get the information one needs. The beauty about these product reviews is that they offer more than just price listings but an extensive amount of information to ensure that all aspects of the product are examined. Indeed, the aim here is to lay out the information – positive or negative – about a product’s features and functionality, with the objective of weighing whether the positive outnumber the negative.

As much as you’d like to invest on finding accurate reviews that provide significant information about a product you intend to buy, you must also provide that same amount of priority in finding these reliable sites. There are literally thousands of online product reviews sites on the internet, such that it is easy to fall victim to fake reviews. With these handy tools available, online shopping has gotten much easier without having to worry about the quality of the product you purchased upon arriving at your doorstep.

The Rise of Social Shopping and User Reviews

Why I think customer reviews and social shopping are important. Social shopping is an interesting concept which divides opinion amongst web commentators.

Most are agreed that social shopping is a specific type of web service with its roots in the social explosion of Web 2.0.

In their purest form the best social shopping sites provide an open independent platform where users can add products, post a review or provide a product rating. The sites are service orientated, providing the tools for others to use and as such rely heavily on user generated content to set the agenda.

In essence the opportunity now exists for consumers to band together, discuss specific products and brands and provide an authentic alternative voice to the brand led marketing activity and conventional expert reviews we are all subjected to in other media.

By sharing product knowledge and experiences, creating useful content, an empowered community consensus can emerge, highlighting the gems and warning against the over hyped duds – the products which disappoint and fail to deliver.

This type of user generated content has a real value and satisfies an important element of the online shopping process – research, which accounts for 80% of consumer time when they are shopping online.

Social shopping sites combine social elements such as a social networking community features with aspects of shopping such as product reviews, ratings and deal hunting.

Some of the more agile social shopping sites are making use of the Twitter API and Facebook Connect to tap in to the online conversation, providing context for product related Tweets on Twitter and distribution of product opinion via Facebook.

Social shopping sites can be viewed as a value added evolution of the affiliate model – as they seek to monetize website content (the user generated product reviews and ratings) by sending traffic to third party merchant sites where they can purchase product.

My starting position is to agree with the mantra that “customer recommendation is the Holy Grail of Advertising”. We know this is true in the real world – if your friends and neighbours enthuse about their new car, lawnmower, laptop or digital camera – it will have weight, you take note.

The same holds online – reviews and recommendations are very powerful; especially those from people with status in a community, and those which are provided weeks and months after the purchase; only the scale and dynamics of relationships differ. The potential then of social shopping and what it offers us as consumers, product designers, specialist retailers and brands which really focus on and respond to their community is very exciting.

Some statistics and predictions from rantorave.

According to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets, consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of the study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”).

83% of shoppers said online product evaluations and reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. (Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company, July 2008).

76% of US retailers said user-generated content would have a greater impact on their marketing goals in the near future. (SLI Systems/Zoomerang, November 2008).

56% of UK website owners say that user-generated content lifts conversion levels; 77% say it increases traffic; and 42% say it increases the average spend on site.(eConsultancy survey of 360 website owners across all sectors, November 2008).

By 2020, 84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing’s primary objective, and 82% agree that collaboration with customers will prevail over marketing. (1to1 Media survey April, 2008).

Top 10 Social shopping sites: (note I am only allowed to submit an article with 4 links)

  1. Kaboodle – http://www.kaboodle.com a great site, arguably market leader geared towards female consumers. Now owned by Hearst Digital Media.
  2. ThisNext – another strong site with an emphasis on female consumers, this site feels like a great window shopping experience with expert Maverns on tap
  3. Tribesmart – http://www.tribesmart.com this site is making use of twitter and Facebook connect. There are some great tools such as the personal list builder and community messaging features based on the ‘Tribes’ idea. Like Veedow, Wists and Crowdstorm it could appeal to both sexes and this is potentially where the gap in the market is as Kaboodle, OSOYOU and ThisNext seem to have marked out a claim on the younger female market.
  4. Veedow – a slightly confusing site, a neat idea, still yet to realize it’s full potential in my view
  5. Stylehive – feeling less like a pure play social shopping site these days, it has a strong emphasis on wannabe celebrity fashion/lifestyle writers who you follow – it is not as vibrant as twitter although you can see where they are going with it
  6. Jungle Raft – a new entrant, included as it is a new concept with a clear proposition in terms of pulling the best deals from Amazon
  7. Stylefeeder – offers to help users discover products based on their unique tastes. The looks a little off the pace and has some annoying and tacky pop up ads. All a bit old skool.
  8. Crowdstorm – the site is a Digg type site for products, it is based on buzz and an expert opinion network- although it does seem to have gone quiet in the last 12 months
  9. Shopstyle – feels like an ecommerce site with price discounts on display. Lacks obvious reviews or community features although the stylebooks feature is really nice enabling people to put looks together and share these – the ‘sale alert’ feature could be useful though and the site has hooked up with Elle magazine in the past.
  10. Wists – a trending site about what is new and what people plan on buying

There are many others, sites like Shopcorn and Naturalbornshoppers to name but two.