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e-Ranker.com is a consumer advisory site that ranks and reviews the top 5 products in a wide variety of categories. Each product is ranked in terms of design, price, feedback and overall quality. Behind each review is a stringent research process that allows us to provide you with in-depth information you need before making a purchase.
Up until very recently, historically speaking, if you wanted to buy something, you would have to get dressed and drive to a store near you.
Calling the place and having the item delivered was the closest thing to convenience. The way you’d scope out and examine the retailers catalog was by receiving it via snail mail and flipping through it’s pages. Having to manually tear out, or devise some personal method to bookmark favorites.
Combine the advent of electricity, cables, computers, modems, and a little thing called the internet and voila – we have e-commerce! Ever since the internet opened up to commercial use back in 1991, companies flocked to the digital world to make their marks. Since then thousands, if not millions, of businesses have secured their domains and opened up shop online. As a result, the traditional shopping experience has evolved significantly.
In fact, one of the most common things people do these days is shop online. Alongside liking pictures of animals and updating our social media pages. How can we not, it has become a leisure time activity that can be done from anywhere at any time. We have more goods and services at our disposal than we could have ever imagined at the mercy of our excited fingertips.
As big as e-commerce is, due to the projected rise in the global internet penetration rate, the future of it promises an even bigger digital marketplace. More buyers, more sellers, more transactions. There may even be another paradigm shift at some point in the future; we don’t know for sure, but we can examine trends and confidently forecast some probable outcomes.
Let’s Take a Look at What the Future of E-commerce Has In Store:
Delivery Methods Get Creative
Our instant gratification needs get further met when sellers put even more effort into ultra-fast delivery and cutting edge logistics.
Mobile E-commerce Will Double by 2020
Mobile is on pace to take over more than half of e-commerce transactions; as smartphones and internet become more readily available on a global scale.
Mobile Payment Becomes Easier
New payment processing tech with higher levels of cryptography and encryption will ensure continued growth in secure and convenient mobile payment processing.
Conversational E-Commerce Takes Off
Live chat has the highest customer satisfaction percentage at 73%. Compared to traditional means of phone support (61%) and even e-mail (44%).
How Online Reviews Benefit Consumers
According to a local consumer review survey conducted by Bright Local, the amount of consumers reading online reviews has gone up from 88% in 2014 to 92% at the end of 2016. More importantly, 84% of the people trusted online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Naturally, positive reviews made people trust the business and it’s goods and/or services more.
Online Reputations Mean Everything to Businesses
In the modern marketplace, businesses are more self-conscious about quality and superior customer service than ever before. A positive online rep has become one of the most powerful marketing assets, thanks in large part to online reviews.
Ways in which constructive online feedback helps a business:
- Promotes the positive message
- Provides insight into services
- Conveys the personality of the business
- Builds trust
- Improves presence in search engines
All of the above factors play a major role in the amount of money the business makes, which is why businesses strive for positive feedback.
Online Reviews Drive Competition
With 94% of consumers saying they would use a business with a four star rating, and over half saying they would use a business with a three star rating, we can see just how important it is for business to create a positive customer experience. This means that the businesses have to step their game up a notch and produce the absolute best products to the best of their abilities and resources.
More Competition Is a Win for the Buyer
What does this mean for you, the buyer? It means more bang for your buck, in the shape of better, higher quality products. Think of companies that are the sole provider of something, meaning they have a monopoly on the product or service. What incentive do they have to continuously better the end product if you have no choice but to buy from them? Very little.
But reviews have changed the game. When enough buyers voice their opinions on the poor quality of the product, a competitor emerges to take advantage of the situation and try to appease the dissatisfied buyers by providing them with a better alternative. Perhaps even at a lower price!
Reviews and Ratings Save Time & Money
The social proof inherent in customer reviews and thoroughly researched rankings help potential customers in many ways, such as:
- By cutting down the research for a product
- Avoiding negative first-hand experiences
- Addressing concerns before parting with your money
- Making a faster decision with greater confidence
On average, a consumer will look at over 10 sources of information prior to buying. With the growth of online reviews and review sites, consumers are now better equipped than ever to voice their concerns and keep the manufacturers and retailers honest.
Not All Reviews are Created Equal
Because of the justified power they wield over a businesses future success, online reviews have come under siege. Businesses with sound moral standards are examining the constructive criticism their customers provide them, and work diligently on fixing flaws and producing better products. But other’s have decided to take a different, less ethical approach: fake or manufactured reviews.
Fake (Manufactured) Reviews
Ever since enough data was gathered to truly understand the impact of positive reviews in tilting the profit scale of a business in an up or downward direction, owners and sellers started thinking of ways to game the system. Thus a thriving marketplace for fake reviews was born.
Quick facts on fake reviews:
- Fake reviews are serious business, with people from all over the world marketing their service in generating fake reviews for businesses on various freelancing websites and forums.
- Some studies suggest up to 30% of online reviews are faked.
- Some studies suggest a very low correlation between ratings & quality.
- Amazon has started filing lawsuits to combat fake reviews.
- Negative fake reviews can seriously hurt a business.
- It can be hard to spot fake reviews without doing a lot of digging. Even if you think you can spot fake reviews, Cornell researches say their studies conclude you probably can’t.
You can see why it is no surprise that 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any criticism at all in the reviews section; and why Amazon is starting to file lawsuits. Manufactured reviews are a serious business with serious repercussions.
Figuring Out Which Reviews to Trust
Don’t let the above discourage you, there are still way more legitimate reviews out there than false ones. You just have to keep it all in mind and be a little more skeptical in your approach. Don’t assume everyone has your best interest in their agenda, train your mind to spotting the manufactured hype and you’ll become a seasoned web shopper.
Quick ways to conduct a “Trust Test”:
- Only give weight to the verified purchase reviews.
- Use a tool such as Fakespot to check for reliability.
- Check the sellers own website in addition to the review site you’re on.
- Check the profile of the reviewer, are they biased or do they have a good track record?
- First time reviewers who have only bought the one product they gave rave reviews too should be looked at with skepticism. (This is not always the case, but deserves a second look).
- Read more than one review and if you can read as many as possible before buying
- Think about the style it’s written in. Normal people don’t write reviews too formally.
- If it’s too over the top positive or way too negative, it might be fake. Most reviews are somewhere in between.
Here’s a list of 30 more ways to spot the fakes from Consumerist.
One other thing to keep in mind is detectable sarcasm, which could mean the review was left by a troll whose sole aim is to get pleasure out of harming the business, or even you the consumer. Should you see a bunch of similar looking reviews, including similar wording, reviewers, etc. Proceed with caution.
Becoming a Smart Web Shopper
If you’ve done nothing other than read the above, you’re already a step ahead of many other web shoppers. Knowledge is power, as they say, and in the case of online reviews, knowledge is also a money saver. Consider the fact that on Yelp alone, there are around 27,000 reviews posted each minute. The volume alone is overwhelming, not to mention the substance. Knowing how to spot the real from the fake, as we’ve outlined above, is critical for your efficiency and sanity!
Have a Network of Resources
No matter how much of a go-getter, or figure it out all on my own, type you may be, when it comes to the immense world of e-commerce, a little help goes a long way. The best part about it, is that you can choose your help. By selecting a few trustworthy websites and adding them to a bookmark folder to reference whenever you need something verified.
When it comes to online reviews and rankings, sites such as ours, which dedicate their entire existence to providing consumers value in the format of the best market options available to them, whilst saving them time and money, are a good start. But always do you own research and make up your own mind, even with our website. When scouting for a review site, be sure to check and see if they have any vetted interest in the product you’re after. In some cases you’d be surprised to find that the sole purpose of that site is to promote the product in a concealed and an utterly biased manner.
There are regulations that require the disclosuure of such affiliation to the consumer. Scan through the websites disclosure, privacy, and/or terms & condition pages to verify.
Shop With a Healthy Dose of Skepticism
Too often we go into auto-pilot mode when shopping online and leave our skepticism at the door. Next time you’re browsing around Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay, or whatever marketplace you happen to be on, try to work on training your mind to exit auto-pilot and witch back to manual control.
The golden rule of online shopping and reviews is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is just that. But also, if something is too harshly reviewed and shunned, it’s not always as bad as the internet makes it out to be. Use the tools and knowledge we’ve provided you with above, and though not everyone is out to get you, a little skepticism can ensure that the ones who are fail at their attempt.