The arrival of the internet into all of our lives has meant that many aspects of the way that we shop have changed. For example, never before has so much information been at our fingertips. So, before we make any commitment to buy anything, from home insurance to a new washing machine, we are able to read reviews from others that can help us to make up our minds.
In one recent survey, up to 85% of the people questioned replied that they set great store by the reviews that they read online. In the same report, 77% of respondents stated that they had bought at least one item as a result of positive online reviews. Even more remarkably, 91% of people claimed to take the information they gleaned from online reviews more seriously than advice from salespeople in retail stores.
We’re more confident
This reliance on online reviews has had the effect of making us feel more confident in making purchasing decisions, especially in sectors that we may have no previous experience in using. A good example of this comes from the world of online casinos.
In an industry growing at a rapid rate, online casinos are in their hundreds, therefore, reviews from experienced players are highly valuable – especially to the initiated, as it can be hard to know where to start choosing where to play. As a result, there are now review sites that pick out the top online casinos. These not only provide unbiased reviews and give each one a rating out of ten, but they also highlight the welcome bonuses that are on offer.
They generally also provide a direct link to the casino in question to let the player sign up and start to play. This has revolutionised the way that both prospective and experienced players go about finding the most appropriate product, and this example has been replicated in various industries including retail and leisure, such is the impact of online reviews.
We’re more empowered
As well as the emergence of countless dedicated review sites, the arrival of ones that we, as consumers, can contribute to has also had a major effect. With sites like Feefo and Angie’s List, we are now able to share our feelings about the quality of goods and services like never before.
In fact, nearly 50% of internet users leave reviews whereas, before, their voices would have remained unheard beyond their social circle of co-workers, relatives and friends. Inevitably, this has exerted more pressure than ever before on businesses to provide better products and services if they don’t want to be singled out for potentially damaging criticism.
The really important change that has been brought about has been that now we are simply better-informed about the choices we can make. In the pre-digital age, much of the information we received came from sources like advertising.
But as this is becoming a more and more irrelevant form of communication for many businesses, reflected in shrinking advertising expenditure budgets, other powers are taking over. And, because the information we receive peer-to-peer is genuinely objective, we can justifiably feel that our purchasing decisions are generally more sound.
Of course, this does rely on the reviews we read being truthful and reliable – and more and more steps are being taken to ensure that this is the case. So, looking to the future, we’ll be able to put more faith in them than ever before, and that’s going to be good news for everyone.