Product Reviews: Are More Always Better?
We know going from 0 reviews to 1 review improves conversion rates by 20%.
But there is something I’m curious about. Here is the scenario–
Choice 1: 20 hours of effort to collect 343 reviews for your product page.
Choice 2: 200 hours of effort to collect 34,134 reviews for the same product page.
Given that 343 reviews is itself impressive which option would you pick? Choice 1 or 2?
This isn’t a trick question. We genuinely don’t know the answer
As a consumer, when I go to Amazon to make a purchase, if I see positive reviews in the many thousands, that gives me confidence to make the purchase without a lot of thought.
If I see several hundred positive reviews for the same kind of product, I would still feel reasonably confident in making the purchase.
That said, I see myself as a savvy buyer. I do look at the quality of the reviews as well. If I see thoughtless reviews in the tens of thousands, then those reviews are suspect and that could sway my confidence as a buyer.
As a buyer, the difference between 300 and 30K is not as important to me as the quality of the reviews.
As merchant, if I had a choice to spend 20 hours or 200 hours, I would most certainly go for 20 hours. Who has 200 hours for that? Assuming both circumstances would produce the same quality reviews, 300 versus 30K would likely produce the same result IMHO.Reply
Hi, Jordan. I agree with your comment. Since time is a cost function I too would go for 20 hours of work over 200.
No buyer is going to actually make use of 30k reviews.
But, if a site does have 1000s of reviews there are a few useful tactics–
Amazon has a nice search function for products with lots of reviews: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAyAoEBcpd1B9pM52aD_R34V3xg1spUocK0
That would be a useful way to allow the user to quickly search for reviews that matched their criteria.
Casper.com also does something interesting where they allow users to drill reviews by keyword: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAx-x72CWIVNr6InAqAkI5q9-69gyZit_H0Reply
I really think it depends on the product. Let’s say a hammer vs a suit. I want as many reviews as possible on the hammer as if there was a flaw in it’s construction it would have been discovered. If it is suit, there might be a few drawbacks from too many reviews. It might be dated and out of style since it has been around long enough to get so many reviews or it might be too popular where I could walk down the street and see three other people wearing it.Reply
Good point, Tony. You seem to value the newness of the review. The challenge is that even if the item is a hammer and has 5,000 reviews how would you drill down? I’ve seen 2 examples that I like. Let me know your thoughts on these tactics:
An Amazon one can “search” within reviews: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAyAoEBcpd1B9pM52aD_R34V3xg1spUocK0
Casper.com also does something interesting where they allow users to drill reviews by keyword: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAx-x72CWIVNr6InAqAkI5q9-69gyZit_H0
Would these features help you on a hammer page with 3,000 reviews?Reply
High review contribution volume suggests it’s a best-seller. So as the brand or “seller” within a marketplace — the 200 hours is worth the investment for the social proof, especially if competing products have 3-digit review counts at best. This is amplified if the platform in question’s algorithm favors review volume and/or sales velocity (which it likely does).
But this really depends on context and how costly the “hours” of investment are. If your product is good, you’re not investing time in soliciting positive reviews (and if you’re buying them or otherwise gaming the system, just stop!) If you’re smart, you’re automating review requests post-purchase and providing some added value to your product or experience that earns glowing reviews.Reply
Linda: This is amplified if the platform in question’s algorithm favors review volume and/or sales velocity (which it likely does).
Rishi: You always bring a ninja level expertise to the table. Love it. Expand a little more on sales velocity, you mean selling frequency benefits from higher review count?
Linda: If you’re smart, you’re automating review requests post-purchase and providing some added value to your product or experience that earns glowing reviews.
Rishi: I’ll have a contrarian post out in the next few days (Case Against Automation). Will share the link with you when it’s live.
Thanks so much for your input on this post. –RishiReply
For velocity I mean the sales volume precedes the review submissions. While the sales-to-review ratio may vary on different sites and for different products (I once heard a stat Amazon attracts 1 review per 1300 sales – though that may be outdated now and of course there are many variables involved) the optics to the customer when there’s 3K reviews for product A vs 300 reviews for product B is product A is a better seller. For customers (especially on mobile) who don’t want to wade through pages and pages of reviews, massively higher review count between similarly rated and priced products can be an effective heuristic to make a quicker purchase decision.Reply
Ah, yes. I agree.
Linda: I once heard a stat Amazon attracts 1 review per 1300 salesReply
Rishi: I heard the same stat. Jared Spool I believe.
I agree with another commenter – it depends upon the product. If it is a household or inexpensive item, the 3,000 number would influence me. But if I am shopping for a higher end item, like a piece of jewelry, I might assume it appeals to the masses – which probably wouldn’t appeal to me.
I sell fine jewelry, and my customers often tell me they don’t want an item that thousands, or even hundreds, of other people are wearing. They want something more unique. So a few reviews would do the trick for my niche.
Plus it seems foolish to spend 200 hours trying to get reviews on one product.Reply
Ron: I sell fine jewelry, and my customers often tell me they don’t want an item that thousands, or even hundreds, of other people are wearing. They want something more unique.Reply
Rishi: Now that’s a really unique perspective. I hadn’t considered that angle. Thanks for sharing.