Why authentic reviews are key when shopping online

Aleš Randa

11 min

Online shopping is becoming standard for more and more people. But because they can't see the product in person, they rely on those who already have it at home to tell them how the product serves them and whether it's really worth buying or if they should look for something else. The younger the consumer is, the higher the chance that they will want to see reviews. Customers tend to find out as much information as possible about a product and need to know what it is really like. No one likes to return items online and if they can, they will do everything they can to avoid it. 


That's why they read reviews carefully. They look for those that have neutral and negative information to consider whether these factors are something they are willing to accept or not with a product. For positive reviews, they look for confirmation that this is indeed a product that meets their needs. 

The customer needs to see the pros and cons in order to make a safe decision and trust others to tell them. 

If a brand manages to motivate its customers to leave honest reviews, the chances of having more satisfied customers who will knowingly buy the product despite its flaws goes up. Average reviews carry a lot of weight and are very important in the decision making process. 

The 2023 Consumer Behavior Analysis looked at how consumers use reviews during their shopping process. 

99.5% of shoppers research their online purchases at least sometimes. Almost 87% do so regularly or always. 

Consumers choose websites based on the availability of reviews:

  • 77% of shoppers purposely search for rating and review websites. This percentage is steadily increasing. In 2014, only 57% did so. 
  • 74% of consumers report that ratings and reviews are a crucial way they learn about products they have never purchased before. 
  • Nine in ten consumers say they consider reviews when making purchasing decisions. 
  • Again this year, ratings and reviews are the most important factor influencing purchasing decisions. According to 93% of shoppers, they influence whether or not they buy a product. 
  • 99.75% of online shoppers read reviews at least sometimes; 91% do so always or regularly. 
  • According to 98% of shoppers, reviews are an essential source of information when making purchasing decisions. 

Reviews are particularly important for expensive and unfamiliar products: 

  • 45% of consumers will not buy a product if there are no reviews. 
  • 78% of consumers report that the more expensive the product, the more they read reviews. 
  • 98% of consumers will read reviews on a product they have never bought before. 

Beware of fake reviews! 

Whether fake reviews are positive or negative, it's a good idea to identify and deal with them. Both can damage hard-won brand trust. Negative ones will put customers off (which is usually why the writer wrote them), while positive ones will alert them that something unfair is going on. A fake positive review that a customer recognizes as such can then reflect badly on all the other genuine and authentic ones. What if that other five-star review with a spelling error that only praises you is also fake? A fake positive review can destroy a customer's trust in your brand far more effectively than a negative one. 

A competitor is to be suspected of leaving a negative fake review. A positive one will make the customer suspect you. And they're not going to buy something from a scammer. That's why it's a good idea to monitor reviews and try to spot the fake ones. Not the negative ones, but the fake ones.

How to identify fake reviews?

The technical parameters of a review can be the first indicator. 

  • Multiple reviews of the same type for one or more products left in the same period. Was there a fluctuation in the number of reviews and are they all suspiciously similar? 
  • Age of account. A newly created account with a single review may be an indication of a fake. But it could also be a real customer who created an account just for you. 
  • Matching or very similar names, nicknames, email addresses, IP addresses, locations, etc. 
  • Lack of details regarding your product. They may try to cover up their lack of experience with your product by telling you details of their life. 
  • Complicated words. When lying, one engages the brain more. It is possible that they will use more complicated words and sentence structures in an effort to come up with a lie. Beware, it could also be a person who is a poet in spirit or an aspiring writer. 

Please keep in mind that not everyone who uses a complicated word or has a newly opened account is a lying scammer. But if a review seems suspicious and multiple factors don't add up, go with your gut and check the review. You will be rewarded for your efforts with an authentic product page and reviews that will help others decide whether to buy from you. 

How to motivate to leave a review? 

Whether a person writes a review or not is entirely up to them. However, marketers and brands are not completely powerless and can use different techniques and methods to motivate customers to leave a review. The most effective way is to help the customer realize that they want to leave a review. No, it's not the easiest, but that's what your marketing team is for. 

If you have reviews, let them be seen

People like to be part of something bigger and tend to imitate the behaviour of others. If they see someone else's reviews on a product they're buying or on a page they're visiting, they're more likely to think they might write something after they've bought the product too. Not only will such a visible review have a positive effect on conversion (a single review can lift conversions by up to 115% in certain categories), but it can also inspire your customer to share their own thoughts. So, make space for them. Keep reviews and ratings mentions on the main page. Create an ad for reviews on your site. Make it nice, make it eye-catching, but most importantly, make it obvious that the sample review was written by a real customer and not your marketeer. 

On product pages, make sure the reviews are not difficult to find. It should be impossible to miss them. Reviews and ratings are considered by 94% of customers when making a purchase. So make them visible.

Make it easy for reviewers 

Writing a review shouldn't be a mystery. If a customer wants to leave a review, they should know what to click on and where to go as soon as they arrive on the page. If they head to a product page, they should intuitively find a button that will let them write a review right away. Also, simplify the whole process as much as possible. The more the customer has to fill out, the more likely he'll get bored halfway through and leave. 

Stars are better than nothing 

Some people want to make a statement, others just want to tick a few boxes and show their satisfaction quickly and effortlessly. Let them do it. Give them the option to rate only stars and humanize this otherwise anonymous rating by writing their name or nickname. You can also use stars to rate multiple categories and criteria. It's still "just" clickable, but well-crafted categories can help your marketing and analytics teams evaluate an otherwise low-specificity review.

There are never enough options

Offer your customers as many options as possible. Let them have the option to leave a photo with their review without it being mandatory. Let them write a review, or let them just click a few relevant categories. Give them a clear, easy, and straightforward choice. 

A large number of people also have their favorite sites and platforms that they trust and are comfortable with. And that's where they'll want to go and leave a review. It could be your website, but it could also be, for example, Heureka.cz, Mall.cz or their favourite online electronics store. Make sure your customers have the option to leave you a review on their favorite platforms 

If they can’t post their review on their favourite site, they often won’t go and search the internet for a place where they could. Maybe, they'll postpone the search for later and - they'll probably never get around to it. 

Out of sight out of mind

The best chance of a customer leaving a review is within the first three days of receiving the product. The product is new, it's fresh, they're just trying it out and they're happy to have it in their home. Some don't even think to write a review, others don't feel like looking up how to do it and where to go. And what are they going to write? 

Send them an email. It should feel personal and human. And it should make their job easier. One click on the link will get them right to where they just need to fill the form out. Better yet - allow them to rate and star the product right in the body of the email. They won't even have to change apps or browser windows, and they can do it while drinking their morning coffee or riding the train. Your marketing team will surely figure out how to write such an email and how to have the subject line as attractive as possible so that people actually click through.

Reward them for honesty and quality

For some, the success of their reviews can be a reward (and motivation). The best review of the month posted on social media or on the main page may not sound bad to them at all. The brand sees them, interacts with them, appreciates their efforts, and gives them a piece of the glory. As for others, they may feel rewarded by something more... materialistic. A discount big enough for their next shopping experience, or perhaps being entered into a prize draw for something special. Even that can persuade them to click through the email and then leave a review. After all, we're still trying to convince the customer that leaving a review is a good idea and that it's something they want to do. 

We work on a similar principle here at Testuj.to. For leaving a review, the customer gets a free or discounted product. We motivate them to leave honest, authentic reviews. Because they get the product up front, receiving it is not conditional on their review rating. That way the consumers write what they really think after testing the product, and the brand gets a series of reviews that help boost their brand trust and future customer conversions. 

With our testing, you can get authentic reviews on most of the strategically important e-commerce partners in 7 Central European countries. 

Ask them 

Take advantage of your loyal community and the relationships you have built. Many people don't realize how important reviews are. If you have a good relationship with them, ask them, for example, through social media, to write a review of a product they have from you that they love. Sometimes just a simple request is enough. But don't forget to point out that you're after authentic, honest reviews. If there is something that can make your product and your brand better, let them write that too. And passersby will trust the reviews all the more when they see that there's an occasional con and it's not just mindless praise. 


Reviews are an important factor in deciding whether to buy a product or not. The more authentic the reviews are, the more likely it is that someone will buy the product and be really satisfied with it, and maybe even leave their own review. Convincing customers to leave a review for a product may not be easy, but if your marketing team approaches reviews as something that needs to be sold to the customer, it will surely be a success. 

Reviews are very important to consumers and nothing will undermine their trust in a brand like suspecting that some reviews are fake. That's why it's a good idea to monitor them and check that they are from real people who have had an experience with your product. 

Make sure that reviews of your products are visible and that it is easy to leave them. If you can do this, you, your brand and your product will be a real success with your customers. 

To learn more about how you can get authentic reviews with Brand Testing Club, contact us.


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