Research Purchases With Product Reviews


Whenever I’m purchasing a product I haven’t used before, I try as hard as I can to find out more information about the product.  Of course, I look through some of the product information, but one of the things that I have found most helpful is to research product reviews by other customers who have experience with this product.  Doing so has helped me in a variety of ways, and can lead to money savings through a variety of means.

What are some of the benefits of reading product reviews?

  • It gives you practical information on the technical information available – We recently purchased a new TV, which is a fairly expensive purchase.  When looking at the product specs, the information clearly outlined what type of inputs and outputs were available on the back of the TV.  This is something that is important if you plan on connecting any external devices, such as DVD players, gaming consoles, or other devices, as you want to make sure that you can properly plug in devices which you own or plan to own.  The technical sheets give this information in a very technical manner, but by reading the product reviews, I was able to see from a user-based experience, how the back of the TV was configured and how it would best be used.  Other users who had the type of equipment I had spelled out in great detail how it worked for them, and some of the things that were good to know.  Product reviews can take the technical information available and translate it into working terms that can help you better understand the item you’re considering.
  • It can make you read something that you might otherwise miss – Last year, I needed to patch a couple of very small holes in a piece of canvas that has outdoor exposure.  I typed a few terms into Google and came up with a couple of product names that seemed to fit the bill.  When I went over to Amazon, I typed in the name of the product and thought I was ready to go. I took a moment to scroll down and read the reviews, where I found out that there are two different varieties with practically the same product name made by the same company.  One was for canvas and the other was specifically for items other than canvas.  I didn’t realize it but by typing in only the information I had, I’d wound up on the product page that would not have helped me.  This would have been my oversight, but it would have resulted in me ordering and paying for a product which I did not need.  Reading the review allowed me to learn from the mistakes of others, and I ended up ordering the product I needed, saving me the cost of the wasted order.
  • You get to read real actual reviews – This one is the most obvious, so I didn’t post it first, but you get to read the thoughts of people who have actually used it.  No product page is going to give you the shortcomings of a product, but those types of things are really what potential buyers are looking for.  By reading through reviews, you tend to get a bit more practical information and can see exactly what people have experienced.  One rule of thumb is that (looking at Amazon’s 5-star rating system), I tend to skip over the 5-star and 1-star reviews.  It’s obvious that those people either truly love or absolutely hate the product in question, and while they certainly have their reasons which may be applicable, I find that the 4, 3, and 2 star reviews actually paint a better picture that matches the information that I’m looking for.

Where do you find great reviews?

I’ve found a number of different sites can generate good reviews:

  • Amazon – They sell so many products that they seem to have the most product reviews.  Still, you will find many items that are listed which have no reviews.
  • WalMart – They often have reviews of products that they sell, and let’s face it, WalMart sells a lot of products.
  • Review sites – There are a number of sites available dedicated to allowing customers to review products.  Usually what I do is go to Google and type in what you’re looking for, followed by the word ‘review’.  This tends to find any sites where you might be looking for reviews based on real customer experience.

In short, I think it’s great to get as much information on products you purchase.  I’d specifically spend most of my time looking at reviews for bigger ticket items or products which are new to you.  You’re probably not going to get much value in looking at a review for something you buy regularly, although sometimes you will find that things have changed that you might not even be aware of, so depending on how much time you have, you can never go wrong with looking up product reviews.

Thank you for reading.

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