Let’s face it! Since even supermarkets have started delivering to homes,
it’s tempting to order all the essentials through an app rather than going
to the store personally. We login to our profiles, open the list of the
products for purchase, pay using a debit card, Paypal, or something of the
sort, and we wait. The only thing we have to do is sit comfortably on the
couch watching the last episode of our favorite TV series until the
“delivery man,” a little out of breath, knocks on the door, shopping bags
in hand. We live in the era of e-commerce and services where everything is
just a click away; a historical period that has brought about a radical
change in less than 20 years not only in the way we buy, but also in the
ways of relating, moving, and experiencing feelings publicly.
From Advice to Feedback
How many times before a purchase do we turn to a family member or a
close friend to ask for advice?
And how many times do we put our trust in accounts of various buyers who
have already purchased that product and who perhaps have left a positive
review with 5 stars to the seller by writing satisfactory reviews in the
feedback page to convince us to buy that product?
At this point, we are constantly bombarded on our social networks and on
our browsers by a huge amount of advertising that advise us what, how,
when, and why to purchase a particular product – spurred above all by the
fact that sometimes 100% of the feedbacks on the object and on the seller
are positive. Are we sure that what is written is true? Is there no doubt
that that comment is not, in reality, sincere but rather hides something?
The Impact of Reviews during the Purchasing Process
The reality is that we are easily subject to someone else’s influence. Who
can tell what impact reviews have on the online purchase process? Regarding
this issue, it is interesting to have a look to the study conducted by the
Trustpilot review platform from last March. A sample of 1,800 individuals
was given a survey aimed at finding out how people use reviews and how much
they manage to influence the buyer in the price/purchase comparison
The worrying fact is that “9 out of 10 people take into account the
opinions of others during purchases
and that 41% check the review sites before buying something, so there is no
doubt that customer reviews condition decisions related to the purchase.” But what if false reviews were to influence us?
The Internet offers enormous possibilities to compare prices and products.
Traditional advertising no longer has such a great capacity for persuasion
– especially for the new generations. What marketing strategy can a vendor
implement today to get the attention of consumers and sell their products?
The answer is simple: checking the reviews.
This check is based on a simple methodology: “everyone wins.” You buy a
product, leave a positive review on the platform, and are then reimbursed
for the full purchase, which remains in your possession anyway. An
additional payment for this favor of leaving a positive review is also
Scouring the web and social media, you can find many groups that deal with
the so-called review market and guarantee a
return commonly called cashback. Here’s how it works: we ask for
admission or we write directly to a specific group; the inscription
connects us with a seller that offers a list of products or services that
can be accessed (Witailer.com); once the product or service has been chosen
and the seller has received the ok, it will be possible to finalize the
purchase, leaving a 100% positive feedback immediately after. In a few
days, we will be re-credited with the amount plus, maybe, some compensation
through the previously agreed payment system.
The phenomenon of fake feedback and cashback is influencing many companies
in the e-commerce market, including Amazon, Ebay, and Tripadvisor which are
trying to implement actions that contrast the black market of reviews. This struggle, albeit
difficult, aims to protect honest buyers who would like to make trades in
peace, considering the reviews might be honest.
Are There Actions to Mitigate the Risk of Fake Feedback?
Currently there is no effective method to help identify false reviews.
The only available tool is the common sense of the buyer! When you intend
to buy an object or dine in a specific restaurant, for example, you should
avoid falling into the trap of excessive positive reviews and take the time
to analyze the negative ones first, which can most easily be left by “real”
people who honestly – and without rewards – decide to express their
personal opinion on the matter. It seems a foregone thing but, in a digital
world full of forgers, finding honest people who, through their accounts,
give credible feedback, turns out to be a real utopia. Is it worth risking using only online stores, then? Or
could a solution be to go back to “vintage” ways of in-person shopping?