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The Measurable Impact Reviews and Ratings Have on Sales

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
August 21, 2017
  |  1,511 views

How much of an impact do reviews and ratings have on online sales? Does the number of reviews and ratings matter? Are reviews and ratings more important for higher-priced products/services?

Northwestern University's Spiegel Research Center and PowerReviews recently tackled those questions in an in-depth research study.

The researchers examined detailed data from two online retailers of primarily lower-priced product categories and a third online retailer of higher-priced gifts to determine the relationship between reviews/ratings and purchase behavior (see the full report for the complete methodology).

Including reviews on product pages measurably boosts sales, and conversion rates steadily rise with the first few pieces of feedback, the analysis found.

The conversion rate on a page that includes five reviews is 270% higher, on average, than that of a page with no reviews.


The benefits of including more reviews diminish quickly once a base number is reached, the analysis found.

For one of the e-commerce sites examined, nearly all of the increase in purchase likelihood came from the first 10 reviews, and the first 5 reviews drove the bulk of the increase.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Janice Roberts Mon Aug 21, 2017 via web

    Fascinating research - I am wondering if the better conversion rates associated with the higher priced retail goods site would support a hypothesis that my specialty, enterprise tech, would also be impacted positively by on-site reviews.

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