I’ve never been able to buy the first thing I see. Why? Perhaps it’s because I come from a family of researchers. Yes, we research everything before we commit to purchase, no matter how large or small, both in terms of cost and size.
I used to think that Which? was the ultimate in ‘consumer research and testing’, the mantra for most of my purchases. And I still like to know what their ‘best buys’ are and read their opinions on products, but my trust has shifted to that of my fellow consumers, or at least to those who take the time to post their views on websites like eBuyer.com (a site I’ve used for a few years now).
To buy, or not to buy…
However, now I find that my ultimate decision to buy or not buy rests with what reviewers on Amazon.com have said. And afterwards I find it’s an absolute pleasure to also post my own views.
And while many companies lag behind Amazon – whose product reviews and associations are excellent – others are finally jumping on the bandwagon. Though I’m sure it won’t be long before Amazon takes things to the next level.
I also use discussion forums which have a well-deserved reputation as a ‘trusted source’ not just for research but for purchasing. Once again I find my trust lies with the opinion of my fellow consumer.
In general all businesses need to be more aware of the power of online reviews and the value of consumer opinion in the purchase decision process.
My online path to purchase
- Decide on a product I want to purchase
- Check Consumers Association website for physical product testing (more than most consumers have the time or effort for)
- Check forums
- Check online shopping sites for reviews
- Check price comparison sites, also considering details of aftersales and warranty information
- Finally check discount codes and cashback sites
Online shopping should make my life easier, but due to my need to research I might’ve created a lot of extra work for myself. But I always get the right product at the right price, which has never been more important than now.