You might be well aware of the increasing influence of Fake news on people, but have you thought about the impact of Fake Reviews on brands and consumers?
If you’ve been a consistent online shopper on various e-commerce stores, you must have definitely come across some fake reviews. The primary objective of such fake reviews is to hinder your decision making by trying to improve the purchase rate of the products you want to buy.
Turns out, from the past year, fake reviews have reportedly taken the centre stage in retail news as reported by a survey conducted by BazaarVoice.
It has become an increasingly top-of-the-mind issue for both consumers and clients. From hiring fake review writers to using their own employees to write reviews to industrial fake review bot farms, several companies have gone above and beyond to build a stronger online reputation using these shady tactics.
These fake reviews are reportedly affecting the ability of almost all online shoppers to make decisions confidently regarding their purchases as ratings and reviews are their primary metrics of evaluation.
The key findings which were extracted from BazaarVoice’s survey are the following:
- 55% of consumers suspect reviews to be fake when they see similar wording in multiple reviews. That is immediately followed mismatched product and reviews which makes 49% of consumers question authenticity. Bad grammar or misspellings at 35%, as well as too many five star positive reviews at 35%, also triggers consumers about fake reviews. This shows that consumers have become quite adept at figuring out fake reviews and are now constantly looking for various types of red flags in product reviews.
- The survey also revealed that shoppers were more likely to lose their trust in a brand if they found out the brand or the company is partaking in the shady activities such as using their employees to rate their products (42%) and using other customers to post fraudulent reviews on their behalf (34%).
- 36% of shoppers reported that they would not buy a product with fake reviews, 28% consumers will stop trusting the brand, 27% of them would not trust the site’s other reviews whereas 25% of consumers will stop purchasing from that website altogether, therefore, showing that fake reviews heavily impact a consumer’s buying choices.
- About 31% of consumers believe that their trust in the brand helps their buying decision even on discount days. 27% of the respondents said that if they don’t exactly trust the brand yet, they’d need to be offered at least a 50% discount to get them to buy from the brand. This shows that building a trusted community of buyers is essential to be able to grow in the e-commerce space and fake reviews definitely won’t help brands do that in a faster way.
- 43% of the respondents want to have a system that allows only genuine buyers to post reviews in order to combat fake reviews. 38% of shoppers suggested that all the products being offered by the brands should go through a pre-launch screening by legitimate consumers and that there must take place daily audits to pull all fake reviews from the product page.
- A fine of 16% of the brand’s revenue was suggested by the survey takers when they were questioned about what appropriate measures should be taken to punish brands which are actively participating in such fraudulent activities. This clearly portrays that consumers feel very deeply about the violation of their trust and believe brands should face significant consequences for doing so.
This survey by BazaarVoice was made possible by them taking into account a sample size of 10,000 shoppers from countries such as the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Australia.
This is not the first time when the issue of fake reviews on eCommerce platforms is making waves. Last year it came to light that few sellers on Amazon were paying anything between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 for posting fake reviews to agencies offering such shady services.
Major Takeaway For Brands From This Survey
It’s high time that brands present a more transparent picture of their internal activities when it comes to building a solid and genuine online reputation. Consumers are becoming smarter by the day and they will definitely not tolerate a brand trying to leverage shady practices to gain their trust into buying a product that’s of low quality or not up to their mark.
Customers, however, are well aware of such malpractices. In another study, albeit a bit old, it was found that a majority of online shoppers don’t get influenced much from the reviews and ratings posted below each and every product listed. Be it genuine or legitimate, reviews and ratings have a very minuscule influencing impact on their buying decisions.
Brands and companies who have long been partaking in these activities should first begin by weeding out all fake and fraudulent content from their e-commerce websites as consumers have a right to be able to trust the reviews and ratings they encounter in the product pages.
Fishing out fake reviews and fake ratings is not a difficult task for e-commerce companies who are very well equipped with the tech skill sets to do the job. All it needs a commitment and genuine effort to shut doors to scammers. Brands and retailers need to tirelessly work to be able to get rid of fake reviews and other content to ensure that their consumers or shoppers can turn to ratings and reviews as sources of genuine metric for judgement. This is ever so important as of right now because the consumers’ trust in media and marketing is continually on the decline.