The e-retail impact of customer reviews

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 21, 2008

Most online retailers are finding that product pages are the best place to put customer-generated reviews, rather than placing reviews on separate pages or sections of the e-commerce web site, according to a research paper conducted by the E-Tailing Group and sponsored by online customer review solutions provider PowerReviews.

In researching the white paper, entitled 'Merchant and Customer Perspectives On Customer Reviews and User-Generated Content', the company surveyed dozens of e-retailers to gather insights into how online reviews have been implemented and used, and what measurable business results they have had.

Key findings
Among the study's main findings on the use of customer-generated review content among e-retailers:

  • 59% of the merchants interviewed cited "customer experience" as the most important factor in deciding to add customer reviews to their e-commerce web site;
  • 79% of merchants said the product page is very successful as a product review hub. In contrast, the web site's home page had varying degrees of success, with only 37% reporting strong successes;
  • Merchants using online reviews indicated that there had been less consumer reliance on the customer service function because the reviews answer some of the questions that would otherwise have to be handled by employees;
  • The generally unbiased nature of customer reviews (where they are obviously transparent and trustworthy) was found to engender consumer trust, which translates into more loyal, lifelong shoppers;
  • Merchants were generally surprised by the number of positive customer reviews. Many reported having initial fears of only unhappy customers posting negative comments, rather than satisfied customers posting good reviews. However, the feared bias toward negativity had not materialised for any of the merchants interviewed.

Reviews well received
According to Jay Shaffer, vice president of marketing for PowerReviews, "This survey highlights the good reception that customer reviews are receiving throughout the e-retail world, and how retailers are using online reviews for a better customer experience, increased customer loyalty, and a better ROI."

The full white paper has been made available for download from PowerReviews' web site - click here (free registration required).

For additional information:
·  Visit PowerReviews at
·  Visit E-Tailing Group at