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The Evolution of the Online Shoppers

Today's online shoppers are highly intelligent and, over time, have evolved into expert decision-makers when it comes to the world of e-commerce.


Today's online shoppers are highly intelligent and, over time, have evolved into expert decision-makers when it comes to the world of e-commerce. What we have gained in terms of ease and options, we have lost out in terms of personally trying out products before making a purchase. This is where reviews come in. Consumers' trust in online reviews is at an all-time high; with excellent product copy and brand authority, reviews are a significant factor in a consumer's decision-making process. This also means that as our dependence on reviews has gone up over the last decade, so has the presence of online illegal fake reviews. As a business, it is your responsibility to step in and protect your customers from these fake reviews and ensure they have the best retail experience when interacting with your brand. While purchasing fake reviews may seem significant in the short term, companies like TripAdvisor and Amazon have shown the long-term, disastrous consequences that fake reviews can have on your business. The age group used in this study is also the major demographic shopping online. 92% of people shopping online between 18 – 34 have said that they have seen at least one fake review in the last year. This statistic shows how prevalent illegal fake reviews are in our digital space today and highlights how savvy and vigilant consumers are in filtering out fake reviews from genuine ones. Suppose you are selling a product or service to individuals between the ages of 18 – 34. In that case, you are selling to a generation that grew up with the internet and has developed a sense of digital 'street smartness' that is hard to deceive. This means the present and future of e-commerce/ involves individuals who are wary of online reviews and are at the same time heavily influenced by digital word of mouth. This dilemma is perfect for retailers looking to provide their customers with the best shopping experience while using ethical methods. If this isn't enough reason for you, as a retailer, to start tackling illegal fake reviews, the long-term potential reputational damage should get you started on this journey today! Listed below are some dead giveaways online shoppers use to detect a fake review. How To Detect Fake Reviews?

  • Surface Level Reviews - If you have used a product or service, your reviews will be detailed and more in-depth. Fake reviews, on the other hand, are generic and focus on attributes of a product that can be picked up without personally using it. For example, someone who genuinely used a new computer dock might describe it as "This docking station allowed me the ability to get the typical KVM and helped me switch my audio interface between computers as well." A fake review might sound like, "Great design! Best dock out there!"

  • Polarized Opinions - If the review system on your website or online marketplace comes with a rating system, then most often than not, fake reviews will either carry a one- or five-star rating. Illegal fake reviews aim to either strongly persuade the public to buy a product or to make sure they dissuade anyone from making that choice – there is no in-between.

  • Exclamations and Exaggerations - According to MIT research, repeated exclamation point usage is a crucial characteristic of reviewers who have never made a purchase. Fake review providers use multiple exclamation points because, like the polarized rating scale, it denotes heightened emotions tied to the review. This deceptive tactic could work with individuals who relate it to the colloquial way we all speak online. If it isn't used carefully, though, it is a glaring giveaway of a review that is potentially fake.

  • Incorrect Spelling and Grammar - Many companies outsource their fake review services to countries where English is not their native language. In addition to questionable spelling and grammar, using colloquial English phrases that are natural in other countries worldwide is a clear giveaway that a review might be fake.

  • Spike in Reviews - If all the reviews for a particular product or service have been written within a short frame of time, it can be because that is when a company hired the services of a fake review provider to provide fake reviews online.


Fake reviews affect business and credibility.

Fake reviews affecting credibility became a massive sensation in 2013 when Samsung was fined for paying people to review HTC products negatively. When this news broke out, customers who were loyal Samsung users started to shift away from the brand for its disreputable competitive practices. Seven years on and multiple other fake review scandals later, individuals shopping online are highly vigilant of the reviews they see online. While it's easy to gain potential customers' interest online, trust, on the other hand, is harder to achieve in the e-commerce space. Especially for newer brands online, having a handful of reviews that can guide customers to make informed decisions will be more lucrative than spending thousands of dollars on advertising. We live in an era where the economy of trust is more important than ever – companies that don't play along can suffer heavily. In February 2019, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) imposed a fine of $12.8 million on Cure Encapsulations Inc, a company selling weight-loss supplements on the Amazon Marketplace. The accusation? The company was found to be paying a third-party website to leave illegal fake reviews online. Though the monetary repercussions were gigantic, the company's biggest loss was losing its ability to make weight-loss claims without clinical trials for every product it produced. Here's What You Can Do to Provide Your Customers With The Best Shopping Experience:

  • A lot of websites and marketplaces offer the option of viewing the reviewer's online profile. As mentioned above, word of mouth is the best way to create conversions online, as we are always looking for the opinions of our peers. Reward authentic content by providing badges or other online incentives that make your reviewers know you appreciate their honest reviews.

  • Provide your customers with both positive and negative reviews. The pressure to create a perfect online image can often force brands to remove all negative comments – don't do that. By displaying both the good and the bad, you allow your customers to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.

  • Use ethical methods of procuring reviews like adding rating and review widgets to your social media pages, email marketing to target customers who've made recent purchases, and transferring pen and paper reviews in brick-and-mortar stores to digital format. This extra effort put in by retailers will help gain the trust of your customers, who will start to trust your brand and see you as a reputable company.

It has become clear that retailers today sell to a knowledgeable audience. Not only is it necessary for you to have the best product and excellent customer service, but you should be able to provide your customers with reviews that have been ethically sourced and that give a fair representation of your offering. Companies like Revioly spearhead this e-commerce initiative by providing customers with a platform where they can provide insightful reviews that can add value to others shopping online. Procuring in-depth, objective, and credible reviews is necessary for SEO and to make you stand apart from your competition on online marketplaces like Etsy and Shopify. They also help to build brand loyalty amongst your shoppers. With that being said, what are some ways your company has gone on to source fair reviews?


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