Editorial & Advertiser Disclosure Global Banking And Finance Review is an independent publisher which offers News, information, Analysis, Opinion, Press Releases, Reviews, Research reports covering various economies, industries, products, services and companies. The content available on globalbankingandfinance.com is sourced by a mixture of different methods which is not limited to content produced and supplied by various staff writers, journalists, freelancers, individuals, organizations, companies, PR agencies Sponsored Posts etc. The information available on this website is purely for educational and informational purposes only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any of the information provided at globalbankingandfinance.com with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. Globalbankingandfinance.com also links to various third party websites and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of the information provided by third party websites. Links from various articles on our site to third party websites are a mixture of non-sponsored links and sponsored links. Only a very small fraction of the links which point to external websites are affiliate links. Some of the links which you may click on our website may link to various products and services from our partners who may compensate us if you buy a service or product or fill a form or install an app. This will not incur additional cost to you. A very few articles on our website are sponsored posts or paid advertorials. These are marked as sponsored posts at the bottom of each post. For avoidance of any doubts and to make it easier for you to differentiate sponsored or non-sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles on our site or all links to external websites as sponsored . Please note that some of the services or products which we talk about carry a high level of risk and may not be suitable for everyone. These may be complex services or products and we request the readers to consider this purely from an educational standpoint. The information provided on this website is general in nature. Global Banking & Finance Review expressly disclaims any liability without any limitation which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of such information.

WITH THE RISE OF INCENTIVISED REVIEWS, AUTHENTICITY MATTERS MORE THAN EVER

By Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, VP Marketing EMEA at Bazaarvoice

Following a recent report analysing 7 million Amazon product reviews, which revealed extensive bias in incentivised reviews, the industry has come under pressure to re-evaluate customer feedback process. Incentivised reviews, which work by providing the reviewer with the reviewed item for free, or at a discounted price, are considered to affect the final result, as, in fear of getting ‘blacklisted’ from certain brands, reviewers may not always disclose the ‘incentive’. In fact, doubts persist regarding the integrity of review content, regardless of the type of website where it is displayed-  Bazaarvoice research reveals that 50 percent of consumers express concerns that one or more of the reviews they read online is fake.

As human beings we instinctively seek out our peers’ opinions as the main source consumers consult before making a purchase decision. Nevertheless, with consumers placing their trust, and cash, on the opinions of their fellow shoppers, it’s crucial that brands and retailers ensure this content is 100 percent authentic. Offering an incentive to customers to share their thoughts can help brands source valuable feedback. However, it’s important to be transparent when incentivising has taken place – otherwise efforts could result in a negative, rather than positive effect on brand reputation. Manipulating reviews violates the most basic ethical practices a company can hold, as they can falsely affect consumers’ purchase decisions and damage the company’s reputation.

Consumers have a fundamental right to trust the content they encounter, and moreover, businesses have a responsibility to ensure this content is legitimate. In order to safeguard this right, the industry needs to address the underlying issue that allows for this type of fraudulent behaviour. This can be achieved by displaying an industry mark, such as a trust mark, alongside consumer reviews. This will essentially ensure that the content is verified, by monitoring for keywords that imply a product has been sponsored and not clearly labeled and so on. Those in receipt of the mark are therefore able to demonstrate their commitment to authentic consumer feedback. Through this approach, brands will be able to increase consumers’ trust in reviews – in fact, 47 percent say they “would be more trusting of reviews” if presented with such a trust mark, and 84 percent stated that they would feel more trusting if they knew they were screened for fraud, moderated, and displayed by a neutral, credible third party.

Brands and retailers need to take a lead in calling for transparency and commitment to deliver a positive shopping experience, capitalising on the authentic content already being generated daily by armies of brand advocates. Tracking and analysing this feedback, negative or positive, is vital for research and development, and can transform data into valuable insights that can drive business decisions and provide context around customers, products and services, from highlighting supply chain efficiencies to guiding product development. Authenticity is fundamental to the value of reviews, and companies must recognise that and do everything within their power to ensure all feedback is genuine. Through this approach, brands will be able to build trust, acquire more content and ultimately elevate themselves above the competition.