E-commerce shoppers see bias in ratings, reviews of online products, says survey

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Published: October 7, 2019 1:53:55 PM

The draft e-commerce guidelines by the Department of Consumer Affairs released in September this year had cautioned e-commerce sites against false reviews.

Importantly, the majority of the voters in the survey said that they rely on such reviews and ratings before buying products.

Product reviews and ratings often come in handy for online shoppers in their buying decision given the lack of touch and feel in the digital channel even as the veracity of such reviews and ratings have remained questionable. Now, according to a survey of online shoppers in India with respect to product reviews and ratings, majority respondents have found positive bias on e-commerce sites for the majority of the products.

While 62 per cent consumers said that product ratings have a positive bias on most of the products, 57 per cent thought that product reviews are positively biased on maximum products, in a survey with 57,000 respondents from over 33,000 participants from more than 220 districts. The survey was conducted on community social media platform LocalCircles. Customers should look at the number of ratings for the product instead of focusing on a five-star rating “which has just been rated by 2-3 users,” the survey said.

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While customers check the date of the rating, often paid ratings are done in a short span of time of a week or month instead of over a longer period of time. The draft e-commerce guidelines by the Department of Consumer Affairs released in September this year had cautioned e-commerce sites against false reviews. The department had said that such companies should not “falsely represent themselves as consumers or post reviews about goods and services in their name, or misrepresent or exaggerate the quality or the features of goods and services.”

Importantly, the majority of the voters in the survey said that they rely on such reviews and ratings before buying products including 50 per cent voters who always go through them. This suggests that the platforms offering honest customer feedback will gain customers’ trust and competitive advantage in the long run. The survey also noted 85 per cent respondents seeking reviews and ratings from customers with verified purchase only to be allowed by online shopping portals.

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