The amazing impact of reviews in e-commerce

Reviews matters!

The positive impact of using reviews to sell products online is already a well-established fact. I think few people who have been professionally active in e-commerce would dispute it. But all the same, let’s take a look at some of the findings from some trustworthy surveys and reports.

Reviews gave an 81% increase in conversion rates in the CE segment
In a recent study, Yotpo (yotpo.com) found that online consumers who were shopping for CE products and read reviews had a 81% higher conversion rate than consumers who didn’t look at reviews. In an extremely competitive segment such as electronics where the price is arguably the most important factor, I think that 81% really tells us a story.

Consumers trust reviews 12 times higher than marketing messages
Product reviews and seller reviews are excellent tools in helping consumers feel more trust. Few consumers these days really trust the marketing message of either the seller or the manufacturer. In fact, a survey of US Internet users concluded that consumers trust reviews 12 times more than descriptions from the seller or manufacturer (econsultancy.com).

65% feel reluctant to purchase a product with less than 10 reviews
In a survey performed by Steelhouse.com, a whopping 65% of consumers answered that they would not feel confident buying a product with fewer than 10 reviews. The ideal number of reviews for maximized conversion depends on the type of product and product price but in an Amazon study from 2013, it was found that products that had twenty-one or more reviews converted two times better than those with fewer than twenty reviews.

“Be the first to review” is not a phrase you want on product pages
On Amazon, products that have 1 review get twice the traffic and convert 65% better than products that don’t have reviews. The first review is thus the most important but the conversion increase curve is steep up to 5 reviews, where the likelihood of a purchase is nearly 4 times higher than for a product without any reviews (Spiegel Research Center).

Reviews are even more important for higher-priced products
In general, reviews are even more important for higher-priced products. This was the conclusion by PowerReviews (powerreviews.com) who concluded that for higher-priced products, the average conversion increase was 380% compared to 190% for lower-priced products.

I could go on forever (really I could) but let’s take a moment to ponder why the effect of reviews is so high? What is it really that makes reviews so important to us online consumers?

The importance of feeling trust

I always come back to the word “trust”. The Internet can be a scary place considering things like the ever-ongoing frauds, hacking attempts and more lately the “fake news” stories. But somehow, at large, we humans have retained the ability to trust each other, even online.

If people didn’t trust reviews, they would have no impact on sales, and this article wouldn’t exist.

credibitily and trust

“Trust” is that little word that carries so much weight in e-commerce. When we shop online, we want to feel sure about a variety of things; that we have chosen the correct product, that the price is good and of course that the seller is legit and has a solid organization in terms of delivery and returns.

Product reviews is the e-tailers tool to tell the consumer; “hey, don’t take my word for it, listen to the hundred other consumers just like yourself who love the product”.

Similarly, for seller reviews (reviews about the e-tailers overall shopping experience) e-tailers which have a high average rating from consumers is really a very solid stamp of approval, especially when the rating comes from well-known and respected unbiased sources like Trustpilot, eKomi or Google shopping.