Trustpilot mentioned in the news, and what it means for you!

Trustpilot mentioned in the news, and what it means for you!

Breaking news: Trustpilot was referenced in a TODAY show segment yesterday morning!

The segment discussed a recent trend within online shopping in which clothing vendors advertise designer clothing and accessories for bargain prices. Consumers are convinced to purchase based on the seemingly incredible deals, but when they receive the items they’re cheaply made, ill-fitting, and look nothing like the advertisement.

Click here to view the original TODAY show news segment

Originally covered by Buzzfeed, the story explores numerous examples of online retailers using stock photos of high-end items, or photos stolen from high-traffic social media accounts, to advertise goods on social media platforms, notably Facebook. However, the images shown are completely misrepresentative of the products later delivered.

The segment recommends consumers consult trusted resources like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau to ensure they’re making informed buying decisions when shopping online, especially when considering a purchase from an unfamiliar company.

Consumers fooled by these bait-and-switch scenarios have taken their grievances to social media groups and review communities, to warn others of these websites’ scammy tactics.

The TODAY team offers a few handy tips to avoid deceitful retailers when buying clothes online:

Source: The TODAY Show

Source: The TODAY Show

They recommend:

  • Don’t be tempted by flashy pictures

  • Check reviews

  • Do your research

  • Trust your gut

We couldn’t agree more! As the eCommerce community rapidly expands, shoppers increasingly have more options. When considering buying something online, whether it’s a new party dress, phone case, insurance policy, or home security system, you have seemingly unlimited choices of where to purchase, and the technology to do so in a matter of seconds (Amazon one-click shopping anyone?!).

Since online shopping requires paying for an item as of yet unseen, for better or worse, the consumer is responsible for verifying the validity and trustworthiness of the retailer.

Trustpilot was created to solve precisely this problem - to help consumers make informed buying decisions, and empower businesses to leverage their customer feedback to build trust in their brand.

As we (figuratively) wrote the book on building online trust, we wanted to build on TODAY’s advice to empower consumers. We wholly agree that research is critical and customer reviews should always be consulted when considering purchasing from an unfamiliar company. However, this advice does come with fine print: not all reviews are created equal. To be truly confident in moving forward with your purchase, you need to find genuine, authentic reviews.

But how can you tell if a review is authentic? Glad you asked!

To determine authenticity, you need to consider the source and qualities of reviews. Let’s start with the source:

  1. Your search engine of choice (e.g. Google)

    Your first stop should be the same place you go to find answers to all of your most urgent questions - no, not your mom - Google! Start by searching branded review terms related to the company you’re researching: “The Cool Company reviews,” “Cool Company customer reviews,” or “thecoolcompany.com reviews.” However, you must proceed with caution - there are sites out there that ONLY collect negative feedback on businesses, and fail to present a holistic view of companies. Also, keep in mind that finding nothing related to a company’s reviews can be just as much a red flag as finding negative reviews - this could indicate the company doesn’t yet have a solid customer base or business model, or that they have used manipulative tactics to keep negative reviews out of the search engines.

  2. Online review communities

    Next, pop over to a dedicated review community. Think Yelp, but for online businesses. We might be biased, but we think Trustpilot is a great place to start to get a quick snapshot of a company’s feedback, as well as to understand more thoroughly the experiences of previous customers, if you so choose. There are also other excellent review sites you can use to cross-reference what your Google search uncovered. If you’re concerned there might be a problem with a retailer, Better Business Bureau is an excellent source as they offer detailed accounts of specific complaints filed.

  3. Social media

    In lieu of another selfie, scan Facebook or Twitter for the brand you’re investigating. Check the company’s Facebook page for recent comments, search Twitter for any mentions of the company name, and browse away.

  • Now that you’ve discovered reviews, here’s how to verify they’re worth reading:

    1. Check the dates - reviews should be fairly recent and posted on a regular basis, not all from 2013 or all from the same day. There are exceptions to this rule, as highly seasonal businesses like schools or holiday decorations will have reviews stacked at certain times of the year. Be wary of no dates whatsoever - that’s like a newspaper publishing an article without a timestamp - the content loses context and meaning if you don’t know when it’s from.
    2. Look for a name associated with the reviewer. Even if the name is Anonymous or just a first name, having an actual person tied to the review gives it legitimacy.
    3. On the site, check if companies are able to respond to reviews, and if they’ve done so. At Trustpilot, we allow every business in our community to respond publicly to their reviews - this is a critical step in encouraging a conversation between businesses and their consumers. If the company has responded, read their responses. As consumers, we realize that sometimes things go wrong during a purchase - the best way to judge a company is how they react and respond in those instances.
    4. Make sure the reviews have content. A rating on a numerical scale is simply not a solid enough measure to decide who to trust. Is my idea of 3-star review the same as yours? What experience did I have with the company before I left that 3-star review? What is the context of my experience that made me choose 3 stars, instead of 2 or 4? Open form reviews allow customers to discuss what stood out most during their experience with a business. The preferred format is a rating plus a review - this gives you a quick indicator of satisfaction with the meaty content of actual feedback.
    5. Verify the quantity of reviews, in the context of the company. If a high transaction company only has a few reviews, you don’t have a representative set of customer feedback. Do keep in mind that consumers are more likely to leave reviews for businesses they have spent a lot of money with, or worked with for a long time. This should be reflected in the total review count.
    6. When reading reviews, third-party validation is a must. If you’re an online consumer, you’ve probably seen reviews or testimonials provided by a business on their website. There’s no way to judge the validity of these reviews unless they’ve been verified by a third party with no stake in the company (a trusted review community, for example).
    7. And last but not least, if you see a company with ONLY perfect reviews, or only terrible reviews, be somewhat skeptical. It’s only natural that a company wouldn’t deliver perfectly every time for every single customer. This doesn’t necessarily imply the reviews are fake, it could just mean the company hasn’t collected feedback from a representative sample of their customers. This isn’t grounds for immediate dismissal, but it should certainly encourage you to do additional research before providing your credit card info at checkout.

Ultimately, consumers should trust their gut to decide whether or not to buy from a new merchant once they have done the necessary research. Perhaps the world would be a little bit better place if we all subscribed to the old leave-a-penny, need-a-penny mantra as it applies to reviews: need a review, read a review; have a review, leave a review. :)

P.S. Shout-out to Buzzfeed and the TODAY show for the awesome feature!

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