Why Reviews Are Important on Amazon

Ben Petersen

August 20, 2021

In 2021, shoppers don’t just rely on word-of-mouth recommendations anymore—they lean on the Amazon reviews of their 200 million most trusted peers.

Amazon, which has over 200 million unique monthly U.S. visitors, accounted for more than 37% of all online U.S. retail sales in 2020 and once again dominated in the e-retail space with over $385 billion in net sales. As Amazon continues to see rapid growth, consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions with the help of one of the most powerful ecommerce tools: consumer reviews.

Reviews aren’t just beneficial for shoppers trying to find the perfect product. They’re one of the most effective ways for you to boost your brand’s conversion, credibility, and overall ecommerce presence. If you have very few reviews—or if the reviews you do have are negative—you’re less likely to convince consumers that your product beats the competition. It’s as simple as that.

Despite the importance of product ratings and their prominence in the Amazon shopping experience, consumers and sellers alike have limited knowledge of how Amazon solicits and shapes that information. Let’s talk more about the ins and outs of Amazon reviews and ratings and what brands can do to use them to their advantage.

Why are reviews important?

Reviews are everywhere, from Amazon to Facebook to Google to Yelp and beyond, and for good reason. Research shows that 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 91% of shoppers occasionally or regularly read online reviews. Why? Because they create trust and add transparency to the purchasing experience so consumers are more willing to buy.

Shoppers who read reviews are often unfamiliar with a brand and/or a particular product and lack the confidence to make a purchase. These shoppers need social proof to trust they’re getting what they’re paying for. This is especially true when it comes to high-end goods (like luxury items or tech products), functional goods (appliances, electronics, tools, i.e.), and clothing items.

The beauty of most reviews is that they give shoppers second opinions on a product sans the sales spin they’ve come to expect from many brands. Shoppers who read reviews do so to gather information, like whether or not an item is true-to-size, if it’s comfortable, if it’s good quality, and if it’s functional. That information helps them make a more informed purchase.

**How do reviews affect your business? **

While reviews are very important for customers, they’re also very important for businesses. Reviews directly affect your brand reputation (for better or worse), increase or decrease sales, and they can be the final nudge that either converts a customer or convinces them to never give your brand a second thought. More measurably, the number of reviews you have impacts your SEO, as online reviews are factored into Google search results.

How do shoppers use reviews?

Amazon strategically places reviews in higher location priority before the product specifications and detail bullets. Customer feedback appears before your own marketing team’s carefully crafted messaging and even gets its own rollover graphic right on the search page, just another reason why it’s so important to be getting good reviews.

While the A9 search algorithm presents consumers with their options, ratings and reviews are what push consumers from consideration to purchase. Approximately 93% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, and a whopping 68% of consumers form an opinion on a product after only reading between 1 and 6 online reviews. With so many reviews available and so few being consumed before consumers make a purchase decision, it’s easy to see why you should be scrambling to gather positive feedback and respond to negative reviews on Amazon.

Do reviews influence product ranking on Amazon?

Not necessarily. Product reviews are not the sole deciding factor in where items appear in Amazon rankings; sales are still the champion when Amazon’s A9 algorithm delivers search results (read more on our analysis about how Amazon reviews influence conversion and sales). Amazon happily indicates “Best Seller” and “Amazon’s Choice” next to products, but those only appear on two results for any given search. However, every product gets a boost from its review summary and star rating right in the results page:

amazon product reviews

It’s worth noting here that, similar to the number of reviews you have, the keywords consumers use in reviews can help your product fare better in search results, and according to Search Engine Land, Amazon rewards brands with great customer service that respond quickly to reviews and questions.

While reviews may not be the most important factor in rankings, they greatly influence conversions on Amazon. Statistics show 22% of shoppers won’t look anywhere else once they’ve identified an Amazon product they want to buy, and reviews are a major push when it comes to purchase decisions.

4.5 out of 5 stars amazon review

How does Amazon build those review summaries?

Amazon is very secretive about how it arrives at an item’s star rating summary. Reviews and ratings are weighted to scale, but star ratings don’t necessarily correlate with Best Seller or item rank status. We do know that Amazon’s models factor in how recently a rating or review was written and whether the purchase was verified.

Amazon has migrated through several programs to foster unbiased, trustworthy reviews and currently does so through Amazon Vine, an invite-only program that invites trusted Amazon reviewers to review new products.

Amazon Vine reviewers, called Vine Voices, are invited to participate in the program based on the helpfulness of their reviews and their expertise in specific categories. Vendors participating in the program pay for the products, and reviewers give their honest opinion in return.

While a strong review can lift a product’s conversion, it’s a violation of Amazon’s customer review policy for sellers to incentivize customers into giving product reviews outside of Amazon Vine. Of course, fake reviews and black hat tactics still are common on the marketplace, as we discussed with Buzzfeed News and the New York Times.

More reviews, more problems?

A true black market has materialized through Facebook, Reddit, and other platforms for brands and merchants to game the conversion funnel with fake reviews, despite these reviews being in direct opposition to Amazon’s selling policies. Although Amazon claimed in 2018 that more than 99% of consumer reviews are legitimate, some researchers and consumers have come to vastly different conclusions.

In 2018, The Washington Post found some product categories in which up to 67% of reviews were fraudulent and artificially boosting item ratings. Even though some sellers may argue that they’re not artificially boosting ratings if they don’t ask for specifically positive reviews, ReviewMeta found that incentivized reviewers are almost 4 times less likely to leave a critical product review.

Three years later, it appears the problem is as relevant as ever. In August 2020, Financial Times found that Facebook groups that solicit incentivized Amazon reviews are thriving, with some groups posting thousands of offers a day. After the initial article was posted, Amazon deleted 20,000 product reviews on Amazon UK.

Amazon, which is proactively working to change this perception, stopped allowing paid reviews in 2016 and has since cracked down on platforms like Amazon Review Trader. Services like FakeSpot and ReviewMeta provide consumers tools to research products and weed out suspected fake reviews.

Amazon has said it has a zero-tolerance policy toward product review policy violations, and brands that offer incentives like free products or discounts in exchange for reviews are subject to punishments including permanent delisting from Amazon, legal action, and the withdrawal of selling privileges. Long story short, it’s a much safer bet to focus on improving your legitimate product reviews.

What’s the deal with ratings?

In fall 2019, Amazon changed its review system verbiage from “reviews” to “ratings” and started letting shoppers leave a product rating out of 5 stars in one click. Previously, customers who wanted to leave a star rating also had to leave a written review.

This change, which made it easier for shoppers to leave their impressions of a product, has resulted in a higher quantity of ratings and higher star ratings for products. The new system can be positive for brands since it eliminates some of the negative bias that often accompanies online reviews, according to Marketplace Pulse, but it also makes it harder to verify which reviews are trustworthy.

Vox suggests that Amazon’s move to swap reviews with ratings makes it easier for new Amazon sellers to gain momentum and that increased feedback from legitimate customers will give fake reviews less power. In fact, customer ratings aren’t even considered in an item’s overall star rating unless the rating has Amazon Verified Purchase status.

Even if customers choose to leave just a quick star rating at first, they’ll always have the option to add more text, photos, or videos to create a more detailed, media-rich review.

How should you handle negative reviews?

After reading all about how positive reviews lead to conversion, you might be panicking about every negative review. But take a deep breath—research actually shows that occasional negative reviews can be good, according to Forbes, as a brand seems less credible if it has perfect reviews.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respond to negative reviews. In fact, responding to these reviews can be a great way to build credibility and show consumers you’re available and willing to fix potential problems. You can read more about handling negative reviews here, but apologizing, fixing the problem, and, in some cases, removing the review are all good steps to take.

You know Amazon reviews are important, so what’s next?

Amazon is continuing to improve its review processes and encourages brands to interact with product feedback. Shoppers appreciate this interaction and are becoming increasingly savvier when it comes to detecting trustworthy reviews. Brands should be ready to partner with companies like Pattern to surpass shoppers’ expectations and keep the authentic positive reviews flowing.

Need help managing and improving your product’s Amazon reviews? We get it. Tell us what issues you’re having with reviews, and let our brand experts fill in the gaps.

Read Next: How to Get Reviews

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)