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Why eCommerce Product Reviews Matter More Than Price

Written by Beka Rice on February 6, 2015 Blog.

Let me tell you a bit about how I shop. As an eCommerce store owner, you probably want to know about how people shop online, right? This can help you decide how to make decisions for your store and to improve both your browsing and purchasing flows.

Anyway, I go to Amazon a lot. And by “a lot” I mean, “way more than I probably should and I try to buy every weird thing on earth there” (except jetpacks – the real kind, not the plugin – they don’t have those unfortunately). I shop on other sites frequently as well, and no matter which site I visit, I pay attention to price. But you already knew that price is important. However, you should know there’s something I pay attention to even more: product reviews.

Yep, these matter more to me than price. I have spent hours reading reviews before a purchase, especially for high-ticket items like TVs (but if I’m honest, I’ve even read lots of reviews to buy $8 Christmas ornaments). While this may not hold true for every online consumer, you should understand how important they are with respect to customer purchasing decisions. It turns out most people are like me: over 85% of consumers state that they read reviews often or very often before they purchase online.

Including product reviews leads to conversion increases for over half of retailers, compared with less than 10% that experience declines with the addition of reviews. Average order value also tends to increase, as it did for 42% of the responding online retailers in the study linked above.

Customer reviews can also help customers find your store via improved SEO, as they target long-tail keywords that your own content may not target. Customers may also use different phrasing or wording that you would as a store owner, which helps cover even more keywords on your product pages.

Ratings are not necessarily the most important part of your reviews, either – content is what matters. While rating is used to determine which products should be investigated, the content of the review is used to make the purchasing decision.

Think about how you do this yourself – when I go to Amazon, I filter for products that are rated at 3-4 stars or higher, then I start reading reviews. However, I’ll buy a product that’s rated at 4 stars over one at 5 stars depending on the reviews I read. Negative reviews are not a deal breaker, as most of us want to know why the purchaser didn’t like the product.

Okay, so we get it: product reviews are important. They’re a major driver of sales, and customers expect to find them. While ratings matter, they don’t matter nearly as much as the content of the review.

Including product reviews is just good business, and since you use WooCommerce, you have some of the best core review capabilities available in any plugin. But your WooCommerce product reviews can get a lot better.

Drive Sales with Better Product Reviews

WooCommerce core reviews can accept product ratings, review content, and allow commenting on reviews. You can even show a “verified owner” tag, or completely restrict reviews to verified owners. An average star rating will be shown for products with the price.

However, customers can’t drill down or filter reviews effectively, leave comments, ask questions, or include their own photos or media, which makes it cumbersome for them to research your products. WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro has just been released to add these advanced capabilities so that your site can feature professional, Amazon-style product reviews.

More details on reviews, such as a graph showing star ratings, has been added. Customers can use this to filter reviews based on a particular rating.

WooCommerce product reviews pro filter by star
Filter by rating

Reviews can also contain more information. You can add qualifiers to reviews to get specific feedback, such as details on fit or comfort. These will show as dropdown questions for a customer when submitting a review. Photos and videos can be attached as part of a review as well (which can in turn be moderated if needed).

WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro Review
Submitting a Detailed Review

These will all be displayed to any customers reading your reviews to expand the content and detail reviews can offer.

WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro Review Qualifiers
Review Example

These contributions can then be upvoted or downvoted to gauge whether or not they’re helpful, and customers can also flag reviews for admin review.

You can enable other contribution types aside from reviews, such as comments, questions, and standalone photos or videos from customers.

Professional-level product reviews our here :). You can check out the plugin here or view documentation to learn more. Product Reviews Pro is already fully supported in the free Storefront theme, which adds its own styling for these advanced reviews.

Regardless of whether you use core reviews or advanced reviews, they’re a great way to provide the information customers need before purchasing, or engage with customers and answer questions.


18 Responses

  1. jan
    February 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    Extension is much better then default WC reviews and still miss important functions

    1. Possibilty for reviewers to add pros and crons

    2. Would you recommened this product to a friend? and the summury of it 93 % will recommend this product to a friend

    3. seperate ratings for xxxx , example , design ,functionality , whatever what is important for this poduct
    see http://authorhreview.com/plugins/wp-reviews/

    4. was this review helpfull yes or no

    Are rich snippets within the template ?

    • Beka Rice
      February 6, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

      Hey jan, hoping to clear up a couple of these questions:
      1. The shop owner can add “review qualifier” questions if desired to learn more about pros / cons — customers will then select the answer from a dropdown
      2. Great idea — have added this to the internal idea board
      3. Guessing you mean separate star ratings for different areas? Perhaps this is something that review qualifiers could do in the future.
      4. This is included already! All reviews can be upvoted or downvoted to be marked as helpful, and you can even choose to display the most helpful reviews first instead of the newest ones :).

      I’m fairly certain WooCommerce already includes rich snippets for products (which include the star rating), but that would be worth a double-check.

  2. matt
    February 6, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    I feel there is some room for improvement on this. Reviews on websites are becoming more difficult to trust. The best way to over come this anxiety with buyers is by having reviewers connect their social accounts to their review.

    This should be standard and anonymous reviews without a social network attached should not be allowed.

    When someone leaves a review with a blank image, a first name, or no social network attached, they’re just causing friction. They’ll most likely have a negative impact on conversions since they just end up cluttering the website with untrustworthy information.

    Also, I’m willing to bet that very few people will take the time to add a picture of themselves with the review. They want to leave it as quickly and with as little effort as possible.

    The ideal set up: Social login buttons for twitter, facebook, and google+ along with a title box, comment box, and a big and bright “LEAVE MY REVIEW” call to action button would work best.

    • Beka Rice
      February 6, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

      Hey matt, you can ensure that comments aren’t anonymous with WooCommerce core / the WordPress Discussion settings. You can require that commenters be logged in (WP setting), or that reviews only come from verified owners with WooCommerce.

      You could also use WooCommerce Social Login to enable users to create accounts with a social network to achieve something similar to what you’re describing. Perhaps a tighter integration with Social Login is something to be investigated for the future :).

  3. Dennis
    February 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    I am unclear as to how the buyer is triggered to post a review of the purchased items. Does this plugin include some sort of automated way of connecting purchases to reviews? I.e. the buyer is send a request for writing and posting a review after e.g. a week of purchase? I am looking for a system like that.

    • Beka Rice
      February 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

      Hey Dennis, sounds like Follow up emails would fit the bill.

    • Steve
      February 7, 2015 at 3:13 am #

      Try Yotpo

    • Matt
      February 11, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Sending a newsletter with some type of incentive works really well. Something along the lines of – “Leave a review & get 8 bucks off your next purchase”. Also, I would include a screenshot of the area where they leave a review along with the link to it so they know exactly where to go. If you even want to take it a step further you can send some type of free product in exchange for a review. However, make sure to limit this since the reviews will pour in rather quickly.

  4. Paul
    February 7, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    Good stab at this. But the base requirement is to go past what is freely available to users, and that is YOTPO. At a minimum, this needs to send out an e-mail after X days asking X to leave a review in whatever creative copy a store owner wants to use.

    Even sending e-mails manually, you better include a link where they can easily find the correct product to leave a review on. Saying,”Leave a review” and linking to the index of a site will not work. It has to be done for them, all the work taken out, pain removed, and made very easy.

    Its better than stock, but features over function makes it fall short,”IMO”…

    • Matt
      February 11, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

      The full version of Yotpo defiantly isn’t free.

  5. Marty Rogers
    February 7, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    Awesome post, Beka, and I couldn’t agree more.

    I, myself, will always read reviews before purchasing anything regardless of the price. I think most people show like this, too, because at the end of the day we’re not seeing these items in person as we would in the shop but instead spending our hard-earned cash on something we hope is as good as it says.

  6. bentasm1
    February 8, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Only suggestion I have — Get better pricing! Your addons are ridiculously priced. It’ll cost someone $1500 to run a WooCommerce store the way you guys are going. $29? $39? Maybe! But come on, $79 for better reviews? I hate to post here just to sound like a flamer, but it’s quite frustrating to see sooooooo many insanely expensive 25Kb zip files being sold.

    Price reduction = me purchasing it. Otherwise, I’ll just have to google it and buy it from the other guys who sell your plugins for $10 as GPL. 🙁 I’d rather support YOU, so please, stop overcharging!

    • a.holligan.bf3
      February 10, 2015 at 9:01 am #

      thats the reason why i will not renew any of my licenses and not buy anything from woo.
      there are sites which offering clubs for 15usd instead of paying XXXXX usd for xxkb files which you can even find free on wordpress site

      • Judy
        February 27, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

        Excellent use of this review !!!

        I stopped using WOO themes a while ago when it became obvious that their business model is extremely expensive add on modules just to get a basic site working. And not just once, but yearly. I don’t like being ripped off. And I don’t like misrepresentation of what is being sold. What WOO themes REALLY offer are fairly expensive ecommerce solutions, not value. I don’t mind paying what is reasonable for things. I do mind price gouging. Just my opinion.

    • Paul
      March 6, 2015 at 6:37 am #

      You do know that people work for a long time to develop these plug-ins and that they need to eat as well? They also offer (most of the time) free support after you have purchased too.

      The fairies don’t just drop these plug-ins online, fly away, and hope you leave $79 in a golden pot and sprinkle some magic dust over your website so you make a fortune from their invention.

      You could say the same about Music. $20 for a 20mb file of 1’s and 0’s?? Shock horror!

      If you want these features in your site, and you cant code it yourself, then you have to pay for someone else’s time to do what you require.

      $1500+ to set up a store (if you do all the work yourself) with endless earning potential is a damn sight better than opening a bricks and mortar store. You couldn’t paint the inside of a high street shop for less than 2k these days.

      Or you can be a cheapskate.

  7. anupriya kamra
    February 12, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    Are you facing hassles listing your products online?
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  8. Marco
    February 16, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Interesting concept and reviews are essential. I hope I can find some room in myNY Giants Blog budget to accommodate this add on.

  9. alicia@payfirma
    March 23, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    Product reviews in my opinion aren’t an option, you need to have them. SEO is a huge benefit to product reviews and I’m glad you mentioned it. Your store is constantly being updated with unique and useful information. Great post Beka.


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