Don't think of online reviews as something extra for consumers, a small piece of the puzzle that they use when deciding what to buy. The truth is that they're far more important than that. They're a critical part of the process, with nine out of 10 consumers choosing to read reviews before they make a purchase. It's clear that they value the input of other shoppers and even, to a degree, allow those shoppers to make their decisions for them. Reviews are seen as a way to get an inside scoop so that one does not have to rely only on what the company says -- as companies are naturally biased toward their own products. Reviewers, in theory, are not.