How to Move Beyond Online Reviews and Shop Smarter

Neeraj Chand 13-12-2018

Customer reviews are a significant factor in making a decision to buy a product. You must be reading dozens of online reviews of a product on sites like Amazon as you try to decide.


But fake reviews have also entered the equation and turned the entire process of researching through reviews on its head. You can no longer rely only on online reviews to give you a full and honest picture of a product’s performance. But that doesn’t mean you have no weapons left in your arsenal.

Here are ways to shop online and buy quality products without relying on reviews.

1. Watch Demonstration Videos

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Image credit: Toshihiro Gamo/Flickr

Youtube is full of channels dedicated to carefully testing every new product on the market for their audiences. These videos make it much harder to hide the flaws of a product. You get a complete idea of the product’s features and specifications, while also getting to see how to properly use it.

Tip: And then, once you become knowledgeable about the product yourself, you can record professional review videos How to Record Professional Video Reviews for YouTube You've got new gear that you want to tell the world about. YouTube is your preferred medium and you already have a few popular videos. But how do you get started with video reviews? Read More  and post them online.


2. Make Use of Return Policies

Certain companies, like eBay, have enough confidence in their products that they are willing to provide a return policy How to Return an Item on eBay If you need to return an item on eBay, keep reading. Here's the full eBay refund process explained. Read More in case the product does not meet your needs. Take full advantage of this policy to buy products and test them at home.

If you find them lacking, you can return the products and get your money back. Of course, not every company offers a return policy. But many of the reputable companies that sell bigger or more expensive products do.

Tip: You can also ask a friend who owns the product you want if you can borrow theirs for a few days. Spend that time carefully examining the product and its abilities, and then make your final decision regarding your purchase.

3. Make Use of Wish-Lists

This suggestion might rub some people the wrong way, but it does have its practical merits. If you’re not sure about buying the product yourself, you can put the item on your wish-list so a friend can gift it to you.


After all, everyone at some point becomes the recipient of unwanted gifts. This way you can save money on a product you’re not sure about, while also getting a present that will be of actual use to you. Just don’t put too expensive an item on the wish-list unless you’re friends are filthy rich, or just really, really grateful for your friendship.

4. Opt for Cash-on-Delivery

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Image credit: John Jones/Flickr

It has become a new trend to pay for everything online. It is the more convenient choice, but it also makes it difficult to turn down a product that you ultimately decide not to buy. If you are facing such a conundrum, opt for cash-on-delivery instead.

Once the product reaches you, open it before paying and examine the product. After you are satisfied that it meets your expectations, you can pay for the package. On the other hand, if you decide not to buy the item, you can simply opt to not hand over the cash and let the deliverer take the package back.


5. Keep an Eye Out for Fake Reviews

Not every review you read online is fake. There is a wealth of information you can glean from reviews if you know how to filter out the fake ones. Some points to remember for spotting fake reviews are:

  • The language is way too positive or negative, meaning the reviewer was paid by the company or has a grudge against the company and its products.
  • The username carries way too many numbers, meaning it is likely one of many similarly-named bot accounts set up just to post a review.
  • The review reads like a list of the product’s features, with little or no discussion of its personal use by the reviewer.
  • The reviewer mentions not actually buying the product, but ‘planning to’ since he or she has heard such great things about it.
  • The review keeps mentioning the product’s full name to help improve its search engine optimization score.
  • The review carries links to other products or websites.

Tip: You can find out if you can trust a particular review on a product site by making use of sites specially designed to detect fake reviews How to Know If You Can Trust an Amazon Product's Reviews Amazon product reviews are hit or miss. Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes they're fake. Here's a tool you can use to check the integrity of a given product's reviews. Read More .

6. Visit Online Forums

Online forums are a great place to find out more about a product or service. Forums by definition are places where people who care passionately about something can get together to discuss a topic and exchange notes. Every product you find online has an internet forum that you can reach by typing “forum+(subject)” into Google.

You can lurk on threads on the forum relating to the product you want to buy, or you can simply start a new thread to discuss your possible future purchase with members of the forum and ask them for their advice.


Tip: Look at general subreddits like Online Shopping and Amazon TopRated or product specific subreddits.

7. Read Comparative Reviews

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Image credit: Daniel Go/Flickr

Another highly informative method of researching reviews is to read comparative reviews 5 Sites to Find Product Reviews, Compare Anything, & Decide What to Buy These sites make it much easier to find cool products and trustworthy reviews so you can make the best purchase. Read More . These are reviews where a product’s features are discussed in relation to a similar product that is used for the same purpose. The good thing about these reviews is that you get to know about several similar products that might be of more use to you than the one you intended to buy.

Shop Smarter Every Time

There is now no excuse to make an important purchase without doing thorough research first. You now have more buying options than ever before.

The practice of buying products from overseas has also become cheaper thanks to free international shipping 20 Online Shopping Sites With Free International Shipping Plenty of online shopping sites offer free international shipping. Which can save you a fortune when shopping online. Read More policies. Use the internet to buy smarter and buy better than ever before.

Related topics: Amazon, Online Shopping.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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