Customer Reviews and Conversions: The Key Connection in eCommerce Success

Article by Nitika Lobo | August 01, 2023


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customer review

Retailers are constantly seeking ways to optimize their websites for higher conversion rates. Customer reviews play a central role in purchasing decisions, and the logic according to which they are sorted significantly impact conversion rates, as a recent PowerReviews analysis shows.

There are many ways that eCommerce customers inform themselves before making online purchases, but customer reviews are among the top information sources. More than half of German online shoppers, for example, consult reviews by other shoppers before buying a product online. A recent analysis of 1,200 eCommerce websites conducted by PowerReviews now sheds light on the impact of different review sorting types on conversion rates. The findings provide valuable insights for online retailers on how the sorting logic of customer reviews can influence people’s purchasing decisions:

Conversion Lift of Customer Reviews by Review Sorting Type Worldwide, 2022

Sorting Reviews by Highest Rating: Conversion Lift of 181.30%

In the analysis of the influence of sorting types on conversion rates, highest ratings emerge as a clear winner, generating a remarkable conversion lift of 181.3%. This indicates that customers pay significant attention to positive ratings and are more likely to engage with products that have won top scores from previous buyers.

Most Recent Reviews Lift Conversion Rates to 171.90%

Sorting customer reviews based on their recency also have a very positive impact on conversions. Listing the most recent reviews at the top of the page raises conversion by 171.9%. But rankings with the oldest reviews on top have a positive influence as well, raising conversion rates by 134.4%. This suggests that customers value fresh feedback and recent experiences shared by others, while also considering the opinions of buyers who have tested the product some time ago.

The ranking criteria “most helpful”, “lowest rating” and “images” play a minor role in comparison, but still lift conversion rates by 116%, 100%, and 69%, respectively.

Which review sorting type is most promising for online retailers?

The data underscores the importance of review sorting types in online stores. Many online stores count on paid content in the review section. While those sponsored or "recommended" listings may generate instant revenue for retailers, the findings of the conversion analysis suggest that customers place substantial weight on ratings and feedback by others. Prioritizing products with the highest ratings over sponsored products, for example, significantly increases conversion rates, which ultimately also pays off in terms of profits. Retailers thus need to carefully evaluate their sorting algorithms to strike a balance between sponsored products and providing the most relevant and trustworthy information to customers.

Customer Reviews and Conversions: Key Takeaways

Customer reviews significantly influence online shopping decisions, with sorting by highest ratings leading to an impressive conversion lift of 181.3%, suggesting customers highly value positive ratings.

Sorting reviews by recency also significantly boosts conversion rates, implying customers appreciate up-to-date feedback, but also consider older reviews, highlighting the importance of a balanced review presentation.

While sponsored content can generate instant revenue, the data indicates prioritizing products with highest ratings over sponsored ones can significantly increase conversion rates, thus retailers need to optimally balance between sponsored products and trustworthy information.