Are the written reviews on eCommerce sites convincing enough?

Research conducted by LocalCircles across 220 districts in India.

Once upon a time, products were manufactured and sold to customers who really needed them by sincere salesmen who took the effort to provide a complete picture of what the product could & couldn’t do for the afore-mentioned customers. If you believe in the previous sentence, then I have a fantastic pre-owned automobile to sell to you!

There’s a reason why the first sentence started with ‘Once upon a time’ — cause that’s how most fairy tales start, don’t they? And that idea of customers being thoroughly informed about the pros and cons of a product by the manufacturer or its partners is exactly that — a fairy tale.

In today’s world, amidst the clutter of advertisements, marketing gimmicks, megaphone-wielding evangelists, and what-have-you, we have come to settle for ratings & reviews on eCommerce websites. Initially, these were a godsend — a single source of ‘wisdom-of-the crowd’ opinion that you could truly trust. After all, if more than a hundred customers had expressed good faith in the product, there was no reason why you shouldn’t. Then, of course, sellers realized the power of influencing purchases through these ratings and came up with a system to game them. They started offering buyers discounts, goodies, extended warranties, and more if you would give a 5-star (on a scale of 1 to 5 obviously) rating. And it worked! Very soon, ratings & reviews for products stretched into multiple paragraphs exhorting the incredible quality of it all.

Examples of how one of the business is trying to incentivize the customer to rate higher

And so, here we are — a world where we have thousands of apparent data points to guide us, and yet with trust levels at an all-time low. If the likes of Cambridge Analytica can build personal profiles of voters & then figure out what kind of posts he or she should be exposed to, and end up influencing the election results of one of the most developed countries in the world, it makes you wonder — who can we really trust and more importantly, how can we be sure?

This is where video reviews can help. Remember, there are multiple ways through which the slick snake oil salesman can try to hoodwink you. These include, but are not limited to, false or misleading product images, conveniently mentioning only the major pros of the product while sweeping the cons under the rug or averting discussion on the fundamentals of the product’s core function by using jargon to talk about other features. The validation for video product reviews is already clear to see — youtube videos of product reviews or unboxing of popular items, especially electronics, have huge viewership — easily running into the millions for the most famous reviewers. It is important at this juncture to note that the trust placed on the reviewer is very different. These reviewers or influencers as they are popularly known, are usually independent. And very often, they have become popular only because their USP is doing fair & independent reviews of products. Yes, brand ambassadors & celebrities who advertise are not completely out of the equation, but the value of these paid promotions has largely diminished.

It would be unjust to not mention the immense role of the reviewer/influencer. While there are a bunch of self-proclaimed influencers, in general, most of those with a large number of followers have arrived there due to their ability to connect — either with their personality or with their content or both. And it is precisely this trust that enables an influencer-led product review to have 76% more trust than branded advertisements.

At Baaz, we are taking this to the next level — video reviews done “live”. Here, there is no editing, no post-production to cast the product in a better light, no malfunctions that can be glossed over. The reviewer is right in front of your screen in real-time, taking you through the features and functions of the product as it is. The gamut of use-cases this opens up for both customers & brands alike is huge. For customers, the option to chat with the reviewer and ask questions in real-time, make secure payments to buy right there without juggling between several websites independently is extremely helpful, while for brands that back themselves to create products that really make a difference, the ability to have it reviewed judiciously, without worrying about how to choose the influencer, how to manage multiple influencers and at fraction of the cost of paid promotions is highly valuable.

So if you’re a brand — having a great product(s) or launching a new one — we can help you have it reviewed by our set of expert and trained influencers. After all, the means to get trust might change, but the importance of having trust between businesses and customers will not.



Going shopping in the new world

Going shopping in the new world

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