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 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)