Shopping online is convenient, but also is not without its inherent downsides, either. That’s why more than 77% of consumers will actually take the time to cross reference a merchant and or product with a notable product review site before they click the “buy” button. Certainly, Amazon has made this a far easier affair with their integrated reviews, but only to a certain extent. However, as the Wire Cutter reports, there are so many fake Amazon reviews or paid ones from so-called “verified buyers” that you just can’t trust them all that much to begin with. So where can you go online to find reliable product and merchant reviews before you buy? We’ve got you covered in today’s guide.
The go-to destination for unadulterated product and business reviews is Consumer Reports. For decades, this medium has been tagged as the highest authority. In the olden days, before the internet, Consumer Reports came in a printed medium at a bargain subscription price. These days, though, it’s your one-stop review source. With a growing field of writers with specialty niches, it should be one of the first places that you consider when determining the validity and efficacy of a merchant, brand or product.
Another destination to gain insight into products and merchants is Viewpoints. Think of this place as a modern and more user-friendly version of Consumer reports. They cover a wide array of products, brands and merchants, and provide detailed reports that come free of charge for you, the user. While they do accept sponsored placement – where companies pay to have a professional report created – they only promise to review the product, and do not give favorable ratings to products just to earn an easy buck.
Wired Product Reviews
If you are shopping for electronics, gadgets or software, look no further than Wired Magazine’s product reviews section. A collaborative group of expert writers and editors gives you the no-holds-barred take on just about every type of electronic or tech related item you could fathom. You’ll get unbiased feedback from people who have actually used the product. Does that gaming headset have a flimsy earpiece that breaks? Is that TV really as high-def as the manufacturer claims it to be? Know for sure before you invest by referencing this site first.
What to Look for at Online Stores
You don’t have to cross-reference every purchase that you make with online product review sites. Some online retailers have built in verified product reviews, and trust us, they are a lot more reliable than the adulterated ones that you’d find on Amazon. Here are a few services that help shopping carts add product reviews that you can trust. If you see them on a store you are shopping at, know that the reviews you are reading are legit and trustworthy.
- YotPo: If you find yourself at an online store that offers customer reviews of products and they are verified by a service called YotPo, then you can know these are real reviews from actual buyers of the products you are considering. This plugin for retailers helps them get more reviews by increasing the average order value from having verified reviews.
- Broadly: Easily the biggest competitor to YotPo is Broadly. Merchants use it because it adds more content and real reviews to their online store, which in turn helps close more sales. Consumers love it because they know that they are reading real reviews from actual customers that help them determine whether or not the product or service they are considering is a good fit.
- Trustspot: Similar to the above two review services is TrustSpot. Look for their branded logo on any product reviews you are reading to know that they are trustworthy. They integrate into merchant’s shopping carts to verify purchases and then email actual customers after the fact to request reviews.
One last thing to consider is getting a product review add-on for your web browser. One of the most popular ones for Firefox is called Review Meta. This add-on runs in the background in your web browser and culls information from thousands of online product review websites in real-time when you are shopping for products. Just activate it when hovering over the product to see the most recent verified reviews. It’s a fast and easy way to shop with confidence online.
It’s frustrating buying a bunk or defective product and realizing that you were duped out of your cash in the end, not to mention having to deal with the process of returning it to the merchant. Instead, take the time to use some of these resources and know that you are getting what you were promised from the start.