4-Star

Our world is shifting towards a model of decentralised trust, with expert opinions giving way to the power of aggregated popular opinion. The online retail experience is rich with user generated product reviews, which according to Deloitte, 81% of us read before purchasing a product. Presently this is a competitive disadvantage of physical retail, but new models which merge the two are in prospect, including Amazon’s latest bricks and mortar offering: Amazon 4-Star. Opening in New York last week, the store will only stock items that are rated 4-stars or more in their online store and will stock certain areas of the store with products that are specifically trending in New York. In-store displays include online reviews, latest deals and items typically bought together, bridging the gap between offline and online experiences. The question of how valuable the online score is remains. Most people are likely to trust an objective consumer who has actually used a product, over an incentivised salesperson. However, online reviews tend to reflect a narrow group of consumers (~1% of all consumers); motivated to post through either a really positive 5-star experience, or a negative 1-star one, and these are increasingly boosted by fake reviews. Hence, whilst a 4-star rating feels like it should be above-average, it is in fact below the Amazon average of 4.4 stars.