Amazon allows users to submit reviews to the web page of each product. Reviewers must evaluate the product on system from 1 to 5 stars. Amazon provides a badging option for reviewers which indicate the real name of the reviewer and indicates that the reviewer is one of the top reviewers by popularity. Users are able to comment or vote on the reviews, indicating whether they found a review helpful to them. If a review is given enough 'helpful' hits, it appears on the first page of the product. Amazon has specifically proved the power of this tool, with robust reviews that heavily influence sales. This approach lights the way forward for struggling brands. In 2010, Amazon was reported as being the largest single source of Internet consumer reviews.
Consumer Reports claims to empower 'consumers with the knowledge they need to make better and more informed choices' and claim to be free of commercial influences. It is a series of reports on various products and services utilized by consumers. The reports seek to provide consumers with a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of a particular product or service. Consumer reports are created by evaluating individuals' experiences with a product or service they have bought. These resources are alike in the sense they allow prospective consumers to view the reviews of those who have already experienced the product or service to make the most informed choice going forward.
I searched ‘humidifiers’ on both websites to compare my findings. The biggest difference between Consumer Report and Amazon Reports is the accessibility. Consumer Reports charges a heavy fee for unlimited access many not be able to purchase. I gained little to no information at all on what I searched. They have three standard packages a digital and print all year access costing fifty-five dollars not including taxes, an only digital package costing thirty-five dollars not including taxes and a one-month digital access for seven dollars and ninety-five scents not including taxes. Amazon doesn’t charge for any user to see reviews. I was able to get much more information from Amazon on the product I searched for than Consumer Report.
These sites help consumers with both internal and external sources but mainly external, the endless searching capabilities allow curious buyers who don’t know much about the product to dig deeper and consumers tend to get influenced along the way. Internal searches refer to a personal perception experienced by the consumer, such as hunger, thirst, and so on. Internal research refers to a consumer’s memory or recollection of a product, oftentimes triggered or guided by personal experience. This can happen when a person tries to search their memory to see whether they recall past experiences with a product, brand, or service.
External stimuli include outside influences such as advertising or word-of-mouth. External research is conducted when a person has no prior knowledge about a product, which then leads them to seek information from other sources such as friends/family and/or online forums, consumer reports or marketer dominated sources. An internal search cannot be conducted online but it can be executed there, for example, a man feels hungry or thirsty. He then decides to purchase food online which can then be delivered. The online element did not influence or persuade him to do anything he hadn’t already intended, it only served as a method of execution.
Product Evaluation means the suitability and safety for use by consumers are checked out. All products made are required by law to be safe to use. Online product evaluation has many advantages in terms of convenience and usefulness. The power of social influence in its various mediums show how this affects the intention and behavior of consumers in an online retail setting. Retailers present their product information and connect consumers through user reviews of products by suggesting that higher quality and more personalized information from these various sources will impact the standard which their product are held.
In a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment product evaluation are held to the same standard of safety but the knowledge of it being satisfactory or unsatisfactory is not as wide spread as online stores can be. That can be an advantage to more traditional establishments considering if a small minority of consumers don’t like their products or services the dramatic effect it would have on an online shop would be more subtle compared in lowering of their income or business.
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