It is no secret that we live in a day and age where online shopping is the most convenient, and often most affordable, option. However, the cheapest options aren’t always the best. Several sources claim upwards of 50% of merchandise is sold by 3rd party sellers. In and of themselves, making a purchase through a 3rd party seller is not a bad thing--but there is a level of research involved that you don’t need with a well-established company. To ensure you place your money into a product you can trust, check out these tips and tools to determine the credibility of any Amazon seller.
Check the Reviews: When checking the reviews of the product you want, there’s more to it than just how many stars. The number of reviews is important too. The more there are, the more you can be sure they are from a large client base than the business’s friends or employees. However, even when the product reaches 50 or even 200 reviews, distribution of stars is just as valuable. All 5 stars is a red flag just like all 1s. No product is perfect, and the reviews should reflect that. Mostly 5s and 4s with a small percentage trickling down is just right. Finally, pay attention to the date of the reviews. Bad reviews are telling, but if they are all from 5 years ago, they might not hold much stock anymore.
Check the Overall Seller History: Click on the name of the seller to go to their store page and see what else they sell. If they only sell a few items, they might be too new to have proven themselves. Or, if none of their other products are similar to the one you are interested in, they might not have the knowledge of quality you seek.
“Bestseller” Denotation: Does your desired product have the orange “#1 Best Seller or New Release” flag? This is a good sign that Amazon itself trusts this product enough to promote it.
Fakespot: If you don’t know the brand, the reviews are all you have to go off of. But often the product doesn’t live up to the hype. That’s where Fakespot comes in. Their system analyzes patterns and trends in the reviews as a whole, and the reviewer themselves to see if they are genuine--or perhaps just an employee in disguise. Like any young company, the early reviews can be hard to come by, and Fakespot’s grades can change as more reviews come in. Did a product you are interested in get an F? Check back when they have more reviews and it might go up.
ReconBob: New to the market, this Chrome Extension is already taking the internet by storm. This free extension interacts with your browser whenever you shop on Amazon. Next to your desired product, you will see either a green “Approved” rating, or a yellow “Be Cautious” rating. (In rare cases, you may encounter a purple “Bob’s Choice” promoting a highly recommended product). In the case of the cautious products, you will be shown reviews that are often not shown or promoted to help inform your decision. The same process is true on the seller’s page. Underneath the curated best reviews, the ReconBob algorithm will also present useful reviews for your consideration--including reviews hidden under the benefit of being a “Fulfilled by Amazon” partner.
ReviewMeta: Another source for analyzing reviews is Review Meta. Post the url of the product in question, and they will also give an overall score of the reviews--as well as give a small report featuring the most trusted and least trusted reviews. They have several grading categories such as Phrase Repetition, Unverified Purchase, etc that they give individual ranks to--either Pass, Warn, or Fail.
With all these resources at your disposal, there’s no need to shop uninformed anymore. Combine the tips and tools to have the power in your transactions and shop with confidence. After all, you work hard for your money, and you don’t want to waste it.
Do you have any other tips or tricks you use to spot fake reviews or less than trustworthy sellers? Leave a comment below!