Like word-of-mouth marketing, online reviews offer an eCommerce business free advertising as well as a catalyst for better sales.

There's no better tool for encouraging online shoppers to open their wallets for an unfamiliar brand than a positive review.

According to Forbes, 90% of online consumers read online reviews, which affect the purchasing decisions of 67% of them.

It's human nature to want to know what other people have experienced and use it as a basis for your next move.

Nice words and five-star ratings on a product signify it's good value for money, while an ugly feedback is a signal that you should go to the next option.

A report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) shows an estimated £ 23 billion of annual consumer spending in the UK is influenced by online reviews.

Unfortunately, fake reviews are rampant these days that it's difficult to tell them apart from those coming from genuine customers.

What's even worse is that identifying the person or entity behind each fake review is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Who could the possible culprit be?

Well, we have two suspects:

  • A frustrated competitor who wants to gain the lead
  • A bitter customer who wanted something you failed to provide

Bogus information deprives consumers of the real deal and puts online retailers in a bad light.

It's completely all right to leave a negative review so long as it's based on one's personal experience.

To address this long-standing issue, the British Standards Institution (BSI) published a new international standard for online consumer reviews and called it ISO 20488.

What's stipulated by ISO 20488?
The new voluntary standard requires anyone who posts a product review online to provide their contact details so that retailers can check whether they're a genuine customer or not.

Reviewers can, of course, still post anonymously so long as they furnish their contact details.

An inappropriate or fake review can be flagged by an online retailer, while the person who posted it has the right to respond.

ISO 201488 is certainly going to produce a win-win result as it allows every eCommerce business to screen reviews, while leaving customers to honestly share information on a product they've purchased.

David Fatscher, head of sustainability and services at BSI, further explained:

“Millions of us depend on consumer reviews to guide our purchases, and they are a valuable tool to build trust in ecommerce.” ISO 20488 is an answer to the current thorny issue of online reviews, where a lack of standardized guidance has left consumers in the dark as to the accuracy of a review. ”

Plus, it can keep competitors, who want to gain the lead by painting a bad picture of your business, at bay. Don't you think?