Other steps include sharing potential purchases with friends or family, putting something into a virtual basket – then the final hurdle of completing the transaction.
The research was commissioned by Vision Direct. Commenting on the findings, spokesperson, said: “As purchasers are spending so long scouring reviews, it is so important for businesses, especially those operating online, to be accurately and fairly represented.
“We recognise there are some brands which have reviews that cannot be trusted, as those writing them have been incentivised to do so.
“Implemented for the main purpose of generating favourable online appraisals, the concept of proposing incentives or hosting competitions can be misleading and skew authenticity.
“It’s encouraging to see platforms such as Trustpilot, starting to take great steps to ensure it is a level playing field for all by revising regulations and stopping all consumer incentives – to address a controversial grey area.
“With the prevalence of dishonest reviews online, the seven stages of shopping feels like a sensible way of ensuring a purchase – particularly one of value – is made well.
“You are then not just relying on reviews, but also word of mouth, social media, customer service and brand comparisons.”
The research also found 62 per cent of respondents think of themselves as ‘considered’ purchasers – who don’t buy without thoroughly researching the item first.
However, 14 per cent are happy to describe themselves as an ‘impulse’ buyer, who shops first then asks questions later.
But people would not consider something to be a ‘significant’ purchase if it fell below the £163 price point – and the last time they spent more than £100, they deliberated for eight days.
Although consumers are more likely to be suckered by an impulse purchase in a real-life store, than by something they see online (30 per cent vs 23 per cent.)
It also emerged that in order to ‘fully trust’ a brand, Brits want to receive their goods in perfect condition (45 per cent), experience super-quick delivery (26 per cent) and be on the receiving end of exceptional customer service (41 per cent).
But while 78 per cent of shoppers leave online reviews after using a company, just under half are more likely to do so if they are offered an incentive like money off their next order, or a chance to win a prize.
“It can be hard sometimes to know whether an online review can be trusted, particularly where your health is concerned. This is where the fifth stage of shopping – getting real-world feedback from people you know in real life – can be hugely beneficial.
“If somebody you know and trust is willing to recommend something that word-of-mouth review is worth its weight in gold to any manufacturer”, added the spokesperson.
THE SEVEN STAGES OF SHOPPING
1. Deciding on a need for something – 35 minutes
2. An online search for the product you want including social media sites – 33 minutes
3. Reading online reviews and going through recommendations – 29 minutes
4. Narrowing down between brands by comparing to other similar products for price and quality – 31 minutes
5. Share links with friends and family – 14 minutes
6. Getting something into your online or real-life basket – 19 minutes
7. Actually making the purchase – 24 minutes
TOTAL – 185 minutes – 3 hours and 5 minutes