sales from product reviews
January 28, 2016 | Shares:

How to Get the Most Sales from Product Reviews [Data]
4 min.

You may not be able to control everything about the reviews you receive – you can’t, for instance, demand a certain star rating, but there are plenty of ways you can use the reviews you get smartly to drive more sales.

Reviews convert.

But there are many factors that influence how reviews will affect your sales.

You may not be able to control everything about the reviews you receive — you can’t, for instance, demand a certain star rating — but there are plenty of ways you can smartly use the reviews you get to drive more sales.

How?

We took a look at data from over 150,000 eCommerce stores using reviews to identify when product reviews lead to the most sales.

The biggest takeaway? It’s not enough to just have reviews.

Brands that are getting ahead of the curve understand the importance of approaching reviews in a strategic way.

Here are some conclusions we reached after looking at the data about how you can create strategies to increase sales from reviews.

#1: Review Quantity and Quality Impacts Conversion

Clearly, five-star reviews are more likely to drive purchases than one-star reviews. But just how much does the number of stars make a difference?

Data comparing average star rating per product and number of orders stores receive shows just 4% of purchases are made for products whose overall rating is less than 3 stars.

reviews sales data

So the majority of purchases happen for products with 4 or more stars. But even here, there are big differences in sales.

Products that have an average rating of 4-stars receive nearly 12 times more orders than those with an average rating of 3 stars. Products with an average rating of 5 stars have 126% more orders than those with 4 stars.

This shows that total star rating can make or break your business.

If you’re thinking this means you shouldn’t show any negative reviews, you’re wrong — negative product reviews can actually help you sell more.

People don’t trust stores that have only perfect reviews. Shoppers are more inclined to purchase when they see negative reviews and can understand the cause for the low rating. They may be able to put up with slow delivery, but if the product stops working after a month, that could put them off from buying.

Brands should display negative reviews and respond to them in order to build trust with customers.

But what about negative reviews impacting your sales? In order to dilute their effect, you need to get more overall reviews so the total score will be good.

Okay, so that gives us another issue: how do you get more reviews? Which leads to our next conclusion…

#2: Not All Products Are Reviewed Equally

There’s plenty of things you can do on your end to get more reviews. You can encourage customers to write reviews by making it easy for them to write and submit, asking for customer reviews on the right product at the right time, and asking effectively.

But not all products are reviewed equally. For one, the data shows people write more reviews on products that are highly rated.

Also, people also write more reviews for expensive products. As you can see in the graph below, the more expensive the product, the higher the review conversion rate.

reviews conversion sales data

People seem to be more likely to write reviews for items they see as highly valuable – whether it’s because they were primed to think the product was great because it had good reviews, or because they spent more money on the product.

In order to get reviews for products that are less expensive or don’t currently have a great review score, learn how to get more reviews for products no one wants to review.

#3: Review Distribution: You Need A Few Reviews on Each Product

Conversion rate is also dependent on how many of your total products have reviews, as well as how frequently you get new reviews. Stores should be aiming to consistently get new reviews on a wide variety of products. This signals to shoppers that your products are relevant and the reviews are recent and accurate.

Take a look below at how conversion rate correlates to the amount of newly reviewed products.

reviews conversion sales

This is also important when considering an often overlooked factor in conversion from reviews: even review distribution. Too often, stores have a few all-star products that get tons of reviews, but they ignore the products without reviews.

However, the products that are difficult to get reviews for also impact sales, which is why it’s important for online businesses to have even review distribution.

Think about it: if you have a few products getting tons of great reviews, the data shows they’ll also get tons of sales. And these sales will lead to more reviews.

Customers are then deterred from buying products that don’t get attention, because they think because they don’t have ratings, they probably also don’t have sales (which is true). In order to get sales across products, you need to make an effort to get reviews for products no one wants to review.

#4: CVR Depends on Traffic Source

Traffic from different sources converts differently. Reviews can help you get the traffic that matters, like highly qualified organic traffic.

As long as your reviews are indexable by Google, you can use them to bring qualified traffic. Reviews boost long-tail keywords to bring organic traffic that’s much closer to purchasing. Long-tail keywords are so powerful that they drive the majority of Amazon sales. In fact, 57% of Amazon sales come from long-tail keywords.

As you can see, sites that used reviews saw a positive increase in traffic from organic.

reviews SEO data

The amount that reviews increase overall sales depends on a variety of factors. Using these data insights, you can strategize to increase the impact of reviews on your sales.

Yotpo eCommerce Benchmark How do you stack up to your competition?Get your free copyData from over 150,000 eCommerce Businesses
Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

  • Desden

    Thanks for this Aimee! We have a fair amount of reviews built up on our websites, but what I would like help with is how to use them to drive traffic, more than they already are…I do post them on twitter and facebook..would be great to be able to post to instagram and or pinterest as well! Are there any other creative ways to use them, and if so, how?

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Hey Desden! It’s great that you’re posting them on Facebook and Twitter – what engagement are you seeing with these posts? Are you also asking your customers to share on their social channels (perhaps in exchange for a discount on a future order)? We’ve found that’s a really powerful way for brands to drive traffic, because then you’re able to reach all of the customers’ network as well.

      Also, have you looked into paid advertising using reviews? Social can be tricky these days, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Paid ads w/ reviews can give you that extra boost to get seen by the right people.

      Have you checked out our traffic ebook (https://www.yotpo.com/traffic-ebook/)? Did you find it helpful? Feel free to reach out to me aimee@yotpo.com with any more questions!

  • Desden

    One more question, how do I know if my reviews are indexable by Google..?

    • Nitsa Sparkle

      I stand to be corrected but I think reviews are only indexable on the Powerhouse plan ($699) where it is referred to as inline SEO. Check for yourself, pick out some fairly unique text from some reviews, put it in inverted commas and do a google search. Repeat with different review text. If you can’t find it in any of the results then it’s most likely it’s not crawlable by Google.

      • Desden

        Thanks Nitsa. Do you use the powerhouse plan? Do you find it to be helpful? We are currently using yotpo on 3 different websites, I love having the reviews there, but not sure its doing anything for traffic at all.

        • Nitsa Sparkle

          Powerhouse way too costly for me! I find yotpo useful as I know customers read the reviews, I use a shopify app called Lucky Orange that records how people move about the site (great app) and so I see them checkout the reviews. But in terms of SEO if the reviews can’t be indexed they can’t help SEO. Be interesting to see a reply from Aimee on this point.

          • Thanks for your help, Nitsa!

            In terms of organic searches, there are two ways reviews can help:

            – Inline SEO you were discussing above
            – Rich Snippets which appends your star rating and # of reviews to organic product search results — this is HUGE for click-throughs from SERPs

            And, of course, they add a tons of value to Paid search ads via Seller Ratings and Product Listing Ads.

          • Nitsa Sparkle

            Hi Talia,
            Certainly agree abour rich snippets, can be tricky to implement but found Yotpo support very helpful. Some UK users might be confused about SERPs as it’s a common acronym for State Earnings Related Pensions.:-)
            Aka Search Engine Rating Perfomances.

          • Haha — thanks for clarifying for our UK readers, Nitsa! I actually meant Search Engine Results Pages ; )

          • Aimee from Yotpo

            Hey Nitsa! Was Talia able to answer all your questions? Thanks for helping Desden out with your insight – it’s great when our users can share their insight and experience with one another.

        • Hi Desden!

          You can see all the traffic coming via reviews in the Yotpo dashboard.

          Reach out to me at talia@yotpo.com and I’ll make sure your Account Manager gets in touch to show you.

          Thanks!

  • Scott Hart

    Hi Aime, Thanks for the article- Can you refer us to a YOTPO resource / guide showing us how to enable GOOGLE indexing of our reviews? Also, any best practice advice in regards to encouraging our customers to post up some brutal reviews! 🙂 We have been concerned that our reviews may be seen as fake, as since we began using YOTPO about a year ago, we have had around 150 reviews submitted and every single one has been 5 stars. They are verified, but I agree that we need to have a few critical reviews to lend some credibility to the content.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Scott,

      Sounds like you guys are doing really well with reviews!

      Typically people can tell the difference between real and fake reviews pretty easily — so even if they are all positive, but real, I think you’re in good shape : )

      For more info on Google indexing (we call it inline SEO), write me at talia@yotpo.com.

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