Online reviews, and consumer decision making

Published on 25/04/2018

Online reviews, and consumer decision making

How often do you take the time to read the reviews of a product or service before placing an order or making a reservation? According to various surveys, it turns out that many consumers always read product or service reviews before making an online purchase. Of the top factors affecting our decision to make a purchase, these ratings and reviews rank second only to price.

Today, we spend much of our time online. Thus, Internet users are encouraged to rate and evaluate products and services to consumers. The same is true for the evaluation of physicians and medical services.

We all lead busy lives, and our daily schedules leave little time to browse the stores for the products we want, or to find a tour package or medical service door-to-door. Online services and purchases are fast and convenient for consumers, while saving them time. This is an invaluable service.
However, this convenience comes at a price. Buying goods online usually goes hand in hand with uncertainty about the quality of the products purchased, or the services obtained.

As more and more aspects of our lives are transferred to a digital medium, these reviews, also known as “electronic word of mouth,” are becoming increasingly important to the consumer and the provider.
If you run an online business, you are well aware of the importance and impact that good reviews can have. Thus, a good evaluation can contribute to the development of your company. On the other hand, a bad evaluation can literally destroy it. When looking for the best hotel for your family vacation, do you choose one at random from the list? Or do you systematically read the various hotel reviews before selecting the best one for you and your family?

Similarly, when searching for a physician, or trying to make an appointment with one, patients like to see ratings for the provider.

Why do we want to look at evaluations before making a choice?

The impact of an authentic critique

The experiences of other people are of great importance. We believe their words. Therefore, it influences our behavior as consumers. A personal recommendation helps us to verify the reliability and quality of the vendor or service provider. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal and YouGov, 91% of people read online reviews, while 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

An honest assessment can help you in many ways. Indeed, this one can provide reliable information relating to the service or the product which you wish to buy or obtain. In addition, this evaluation can reassure you that you are indeed making the right choice, encourage you to make a purchase, and offer you a sense of security.

That’s why good assessment increases our confidence in our judgments and choices, and this role is all the more important when it comes to obtaining services related to our overall health and well-being.

Reliable product information

First of all, an authentic consumer review helps you know if it is worth buying the item in question. Good products always have many positive reviews based on personal experiences of the users. Similarly, products that consistently receive poor reviews will certainly not get your attention.

What’s more, a mix of positive and negative reviews increases the credibility of both the website and the product or service, which encourages us to trust the vendor.

For example, useful information can be gleaned from finding only positive reviews for a certain medical practice on one site, but seeing a series of negative reviews for the same medical practice on other websites. You will assume that the doctor’s office in question is deleting negative reviews, and will choose not to trust the doctor.

A combination of positive and negative reviews provides information about the reliability of the service or product, and promotes trust.

According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, positive online reviews influenced the decision to purchase a product for 90% of consumers. At the same time, 86% of respondents said they had been discouraged in the past by negative online reviews.

A comfort

One of the main reasons we read online reviews is to reassure ourselves that we are making the right choice. It’s no secret that our purchases are based on our emotional choices. Rational thinking only serves to justify our emotional choice.

Sometimes we simply “fall in love” with a certain product, believing that it will meet our expectations. Then, we read the positive reviews of this product, in order to justify our expectations, and to reassure us that we are making the right choice. This is called the anticipation effect – a cognitive bias that unconsciously influences our behaviour.


Those five yellow stars next to a medical service or the hotel you want to book a room in, lead the reader to believe that their service is safe, reliable, and of high quality. This evaluation information is the guarantee of the company’s transparency, as it provides simple and direct information. These evaluations also try to reassure you about your booking decision. In addition, they build your confidence. In addition, good evaluations stimulate the awareness that we are making the right investment, which leads to a feeling of euphoria, and improves our self-esteem.

As consumers, we need to have confidence in the choices we make. Other people’s opinions can strongly influence not only our decisions, but also our preferences and our judgment. In today’s digital world, this is becoming increasingly important, as the opinions of other consumers, expressed through ratings and reviews of a wide range of products and services, can determine our decision, and guide our behavior. Thus, online assessments have the power to ensure safety, justify our choices, and build confidence in our decisions.

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