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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 18, 2009

The Economist: Quantity of product reviews matters

How many product reviews does it take before sales conversion rates rise? That's the question The Economist answers in its latest technology quarterly review.

by Helen Leggatt

The answer? Around 10.

According to The Economist, who looked at how user reviews stimulate ecommerce, the more reviews the merrier. And the more reviews you have, the more you'll get. Google's John McAteer observed that after 20 reviews had been posted, the rate of posting accelerated.

It seems the more reviews that are left by consumers, the more confident they feel about making a purchase decision. Even negative reviews increase sales. In fact, they add to the authenticity of a site's reviews. "No one trusts all positive reviews," according to McAteer, who runs Google's comparison-shopping site.

The Economist article cites an experiment with Kingston, a maker of computer memory, conducted by Bazaarvoice. They found that products with more than ten reviews resulted in "drastically" higher conversion rates for the product reviewed along with other products from the same brand.

As well as quantity, marketers need to ensure the quality of reviews. However, caution should be taken not to bring a brand's authenticity into question by moderating reviews, or worse paying folk to write reviews, as Belkin discovered to its detriment earlier this year.

Tags: Belkin, conversion rate, negative reviews, product reviews, sales, The Economist

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